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BROWNSVILLE - Friends and supporters of the Makindu Children's Program in Kenya, Africa, are invited to "An Improper Walk" celebration and fund-raiser at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The approximately 45-minute walk will start at the museum park at the corner of Averill and Park streets in Brownsville. Walkers are encouraged to wear shoes suitable for fording the river, bring walking sticks, and dress in African attire. Donations will be accepted.

Organizer Winnie Barron said the walk is to honor six men and women who traveled for 10 days across the Great Rift Valley for "A Proper Walk," a fundraiser for the program that happens every two years.

The most most recent walk, about 171 miles, took place Aug. 4-14 and raised more than $60,000.

Walk founder Michael Farley, who had been a Peace Corps worker in Makindu close to 30 years ago, named it "A Proper Walk" after talking to an old Kenyan man who told him a proper walk involved many miles and many days.

"Saturday is an 'improper walk' because we're doing it in American fashion and we're going about a mile and a half," Barron said, laughing.

Barron helped found the Makindu program, a 501(c)3 organization, in 1998. She envisioned it as a place where children whose lives, families and support systems had been ravaged by AIDS and poverty could receive a meal, clothing and education.

It was also important to her that the program be a catalyst for self-sustaining community projects.

More than 200 children now receive direct services through the program. Other services, including a water tank, an HIV-AIDS awareness program, and educational seminars on health, farming and legal rights, are available to the rest of the community.

Barron has participated in the first two "Proper Walks," but didn't go this year because she is recovering from a November 2005 car accident and did not want to hinder the group. She did join the fundraising portion of the walk, and needs $3,000 to meet her goal.

Donations can be made to the Makindu Children's Program, or MCP, with "Proper Walk" on the subject line, Barron said. The address is P.O. Box 325, Brownsville, OR 97327. More information, donation opportunities and pictures from the Africa walk are available at the program's Web site, www.makindu.org.

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