Author Archives: Shannon McClennan

Volunteering with HYTES

Greetings current and future HYTES volunteers!

It is a real pleasure to share my wonderful experience of working with HYTES. But first, let me introduce myself and my encounter with the organization.

I am Bhakti Behere, Economics student at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton. I first met Carol Frost – a HYTES volunteer – at a HYTES booth on campus. In the beginning, I didn’t know the meaning of “HYTES”, but Carol explained that it meant “Helping Youth Through Educational Scholarships”. This description got my attention and made me want to find out more about what HYTES does. As a university student, I believe that every youth must complete his or her high school and have the opportunity to enroll in university.

HYTES is a Canadian, non-profit organization that raises funds to deliver scholarships and provide education to students in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Guatemala. HYTES helps youths from developing countries to explore their reams of education. To do this, they organize fundraising events that are always exciting and entertaining.

Today, I am a new HYTES volunteer. I am enjoying all the events with the organization, especially working with Pam, Jenn, Kirsten, Marisa, Karen, Eric, and Maluk. I have volunteered for one fundraising event – Kokopelli in Concert…. reaching new HYTES on October 25, 2009 at McKernan Baptist Church. I went to HYTES meetings and was assigned task of promotion with Pam for the Kokopelli in Concert event. We made posters and tickets, and of course promoted the event on Facebook. Working with HYTES was a relaxing time away from all my schoolwork and our hard work paid off – Kokopelli in Concert was a huge success for HYTES. While HYTES raised funds for education, they also shared beautiful African music.

My first experience working with HYTES was very positive. Meeting new people and doing different activities is great for students who want to have enjoyable social experiences. HYTES shows how Canadian organizations care for developing nations. HYTES is like a family – anyone who starts working with them becomes part of that family, makes good friends, and gains real world experience through their involvement in fundraising activities.

I still am a volunteer with HYTES and believe I will be for a lifetime.

—Bhakti Behere

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Recipe Corner: A Taste of Africa

Mtuzi wa samaki (Fish in coconut milk curry)


3 pounds (1 1/2 kilograms) fish filets
3 tablespoons oil
6 cloves garlic
1 bell pepper
1 onion
1 1/2 cup coconut milk

3 tomatoes
2 tablespoons tamarind paste or lemon juice
3 teaspoons garam masala or curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Cut fish into serving-sized portions.
2. Chop onion, bell pepper, garlic and tomatoes.
3. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Sear fish fillets shortly and put them on a separate plate. Do not cook through.
4. Reduce heat to minimum and add pepper and onion. Sauté until onion is semitransparent. Add garlic and sauté for two more minutes. Add
tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil.
5. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Add fish filets. Cover pot and simmer until fish is cooked through; this should take approximately 10 minutes.
8. Serve with rice, boiled potatoes, chapatti, or boiled cassava.
Makes four to six servings.

Chapatti (unleavened bread)


2 cups of Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water


1. Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and add warm water to make a somewhat stiff dough, moistening your hands frequently as needed.
2. Shape dough into a ball; cover bowl with a damp cloth and let stand for 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.
3. Divide dough into eight pieces and roll each out into a flat, round disk.
4. Heat a large creased griddle or frying pan over medium until it is hot. Cook each chapatti until golden; when you see tiny bubbles it’s time to turn them over. It should take about a minute for each chapatti to cook. Press them down with a wide pancake turner or clean towel to cook evenly. Serve hot. Spread a pat of butter or margarine on each chapatti if you wish.

— Roopa Khanna

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AfricaEducation is an online database of information, news and resources related to education and development initiatives throughout Africa. The website provides access to more than 2000 online journals and open educational resources via the African Virtual University library. The website is a compilation of information for students and teachers alike, including:

  • Available employment and volunteer positions and related search engines
  • Information and links for student bursaries and financial awards
  • A listing of African institutions, such as Universities, schools and museums
  • Curriculum-specific content, including lesson activities and learning resources
  • News and upcoming education-specific conferences

 AfricaEducation also provides useful information for teachers and students on things such as how to build and maintain a website, how to conduct online research and student study tips. Access to some online content is restricted to residents within Africa, but nevertheless the website offers a wealth of information and research assistance on a wide range of education-related topics.

For more information, visit

—Shannon McClennan

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Artist Profile: Ngugi Wa Thiong’o – Literary and Social Activist (Kenya)

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o is a Kenyan novelist and post-colonial literature theorist. His written works include novels, plays, short stories, essays, literary criticism and children’s literature. He is also the founder and editor of Mutiiri, a Gikuyu-language literary journal. Born in Kenya in 1938 while the country was still a British colony, Thiong’o survived the Mau Mau War of Independence, only to lose his stepbrother in the violence. This, paired with the tragic torture his mother endured during the unrest, greatly influenced his early works.

His first major play, The Black Hermit, was produced in 1962 at the National Theatre in Kampala, Uganda, as part of Uganda’s Independence celebration. In 1963, Thiong’o received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Makerere University College in Kampala, Uganda, and the University of Leeds, UK. His first novel, Weep Not, Child, was published in 1964 and is noted as the first English-language novel to be published by an East African writer.

Following the publication of his third English-language novel, A Grain of Wheat (1967), Thiong’o gave up writing in English, turning instead to his native Gikuyu and Swahili. His play, Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I Want, 1977), was critical of the inequalities and injustices of Kenyan society and as a result, Thiong’o was arrested and imprisoned without charge at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison in December 1977. Even during his imprisonment, Thiong’o continued to write, producing the first ever Gikuyu-language modern novel, Caitaani mutharaba-Ini (Devil on the Cross, 1981), written on toilet paper and translated into English in 1982. Also in 1982, Thiong’o published Detained: A Writer’s Prison Diary, and later Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (1986), an essay which proclaimed that African writers should be free to write in their own native languages, rather than be restricted to using only European languages. After Amnesty International named him a Prisoner of Conscience in 1977, an international campaign secured his release in December 1978. However, upon his release from prison, Thiong’o was barred from teaching positions at colleges and universities in Kenya until he was exiled, first to Great Britain and later, to the United States.

Thiong’o has held distinguished positions in universities throughout the United States, including professor of Comparative Literature and Performance Studies at New York University and professor of Comparative Literature at Yale University. After 22 years in exile, Thiong’o and his family returned to Kenya in 2004 where they were attacked by armed gunmen. Escaping once again to the United States, Thiong’o continues to write. To date, his books have been translated into more than 30 languages and continue to garner critical acclaim around the world, including his most recent Wizard of the Crow (2006), an English translation of his Gikuyu-language novel Murogi wa Kagogo and Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance (2009).

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o is currently a Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature as well as the Director of the International Center for Writing and Translation at the University of California, Irvine. The author continues to speak at universities around the world and has been accorded many honours, including the 2001 Nonino International Prize for Literature and seven honorary doctorates. More information on Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s life and writings can be found at his website, A 2004 video from the University of California that features Thiong’o lecturing from his Moving the Centre: The Struggle for Cultural Freedom can be found on YouTube.

The works of Ngugi Wa Thiong’o:
The Black Hermit, (1962)
Weep Not, Child (1964)
The River Between (1965)
A Grain of Wheat, (1967)
This Time Tomorrow (1970)
Homecoming: Essays on African and Caribbean Literature, Culture, and Politics (1972)
A Meeting in the Dark (1974)
Secret Lives, and Other Stories (1976)
The Trial of Dedan Kimathi (1976)
Ngaahika ndeenda: Ithaako ria ngerekano (I Will Marry When I Want) (1977)
Petals of Blood (1977)
Caitaani mutharaba-Ini (Devil on the Cross) (1980)
Writers in Politics: Essays (1981)
Education for a National Culture (1981)
Detained: A Writer’s Prison Diary (1981)
Barrel of a Pen: Resistance to Repression in Neo-Colonial Kenya (1983)
Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (1986)
Mother, Sing For Me (1986)
Writing against Neo-Colonialism (1986)
Njamba Nene na Mbaathi i Mathagu (Njamba Nene and the Flying Bus) (1986)
Matigari ma Njiruungi (1986)
Njamba Nene na Chibu King’ang’i (Njamba Nene and the Cruel Chief) (1988)
Matigari, (1989)
Bathitoora ya Njamba Nene (Njamba Nene’s Pistol) (1990)
Moving the Centre: The Struggle for Cultural Freedom (1993)
Penpoints, Gunpoints and Dreams: The Performance of Literature and Power in Post-Colonial Africa (The Clarendon Lectures in English Literature, 1996)
Mũrogi wa Kagogo (Wizard of the Crow) (2004)
Wizard of the Crow (2006)
Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance (2009)

—Teresa Li
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Long live HYTES

HYTES receives several letters each year from sponsored students, their families and teachers, thanking you, our thoughtful contributors, for providing the gift of education. Even after HYTES students complete their education and go on to higher learning or employment, many continue to update us on their wellbeing. The following letter was sent to HYTES by the parents of a current HYTES-sponsored students and it’s our pleasure to share their words of gratitude with you, our kind supporters, who have made this – and more than 400 other – scholarships possible.

We are the parents of student Beryl Awour Onyango of Ngara Girls High School in Nairobi, Kenya. We send our sincere appreciation for giving our daughter this years’ scholarship. We believe it is well-deserved and will ensure that she utilizes it well for her future life. We wish you the best as you endeavor with this worthy cause. Thank you for your efforts and kind hearts. Long live HYTES.
Francis Onyango Agunda and Pamela Onyango

–Shannon McClennan

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