Kellie O'Brien


April 16, 1943


Hinsdale, IL 60521 

My Experience with the O'Brien School for the Maasai

In 2006, I joined my daughter, Heather, after she climed Mt. Kilimanjaro to do volunteer work at a convent in Sanya Juu, Tanzania. It was during our stay there that we met a Maasai named Gabriel who was looking for help in building a school for his poor, rural village. After visiting his village, we left with a promise to build a school. 
Six years later, we have 320 Maasai children reading and writing in English in 10 beautiful classrooms fully equipped from donations from schools in the US. We also created a 4,000 book library, a vocational center for women in our village, a small dispensary, and a 2 acre vegetable garden. We have hundreds of children on a waiting list to enroll. In the latest National Exams, three of our students scored in the top 10.

Why I want to climb 

After 15 trips to our village, I continued to be amazed by the resiliency of Maasai women. Each day the role of most women is to walk 5 miles to the nearest well for water, gather wood for cooking and hope that there is enough food to feed their large familily at the end of the day. The harshness of their lives is beyond anything I have ever experienced and yet, they thank God at the end of the day and never complain.

I hope to make this climb on their behalf. They look at Mt. Kilimanjaro each day from their dung huts. The path they have in their life is not easy. I will walk and think about what they go through and hope to carry their desire for a better life with me to the top of the mountain.

Sharing this experience with my son, Matthew, will be a great joy.

Biggest Concern 

Mentally, I am prepared to make it to the top. Physically, I am hoping my mental state will be enough!

Favorite Quote

"God does not send the equipped, He equips those he sends". I am hoping for legions of angels to carry me up and down.