Jonathan Homer

Jonathan Homer (Undugu Society): Jonathan is a native of Idaho and a graduate of Utah State University where he studied history and international economics. While at Utah State University, Jonathan volunteered for an international service organization that focused on humanitarian work in Mexico and South America. Jonathan also took a two-year break from his undergraduate studies to perform service in the islands of Micronesia, which introduced him to the importance of humanitarian work and international law. After his undergraduate studies, Jonathan interned at the US Department of State's Bureau of African Affairs and worked for US Senator Mike Crapo. At the time of his fellowship, Jonathan was a student at George Washington University Law School with an interest in international human rights law. After his fellowship, Jonathan wrote: "This summer allowed me to get in touch with a major part of humanity: the disempowered and weak. There is something personally empowering that comes from witnessing such suffering. I am very grateful to have had this experience."

African Generals and Chinese Acrobats

13 Jun

I wrote the following posting three weeks ago. As you will see, at the time I was living in Beijing. For the past 5 weeks, my Internet access has depended on random Internet Cafes in Kyoto, Beijing, Bangkok, and everywhere in between. Between a few weak connections and some technical difficulties, this posting is coming a bit late. I hope that doesn’t stop you from reading it. It still shares some of my feelings in the weeks working up to joining the Undugu Society.

Three weeks from now, I will be working side by side with the people at the Undugu Society. I’ll probably be enjoying the easy access to Kenyan coffee and learning about the organization, goals, successes and challenges of Undugu.

As for now, I’m sitting in a café in Beijing, across the street from Peking University where I have been studying Chinese Law for the past three weeks. I think I am going to have an interesting transition as I leave the Orient for Africa. In spite of studying the history and economics of both continents, I am still a bit overwhelmed by their magnitude, culture, and many challenges.

I still don’t know quite what to expect in Africa. I was reminded of this just last week when I attended, of all things, A Chinese Acrobat show. No, it wasn’t the acrobats that made me think of Africa. It was actually the twenty or thirty African military leaders dressed in full military garb sitting in the front of the auditorium. They were an intimidating sight, which reminded me that my time in Kenya may be an equally intimidating experience. I chatted up a General from Nigeria who said they were there for a conference; official guests of the People’s Republic of China representing the militaries of all African nations. Wow! World Politics in Action. It was an interesting brush with some of the power in Africa.

Now, I need to meet the everyday people; specifically the street children and the good people who want to help them. They too may be intimidating at first, not because of uniforms or powerful positions, but because they’re a part of something that is still foreign to me. I’m looking forward to overcoming that foreignness, to being comfortable with the people I meet, and to fully understanding the issues they are facing.

I hope you’ll stick with me this summer by reading this blog. I hope that I’ll be able to shed some light on some of the issues that are being tackled in Kenya by the Undugu Society and The Advocacy Project. Most of all, I hope I’ll be able to show that in some way The Advocacy Project and I were able to assist Undugu and make life a bit easier for those living in poverty in Kenya.

Posted By Jonathan Homer

Posted Jun 13th, 2007


  • Mary

    June 13, 2007


    Hey Jonathan,

    Great to read your first blog! It sounds like you’ve been all over the place recently – I hope you’re now ready to settle into Kenya. I look forward to reading your blogs in the future and keeping up with all the great work that you are doing!

  • stacey

    July 13, 2007


    I found your blog through Dan’s, and had to comment on this post as I went through a similar cultural shift last summer- leaving Uganda and travelling through South Africa & China to Japan, where I now live. Isn’t working and learning within such different contexts powerful!? I enjoyed your posts, sounds like exciting and important changes you and Undugu are creating. Enjoy Africa (I love Japan but would trade in a heartbeat)!

Enter your Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *