Jesse began his education at Daystar University when it was still a wild and dusty campus in the small town of Athi River, a growing suburb of the capital city Nairobi. Snakes and leopards were not a rare sighting. “Students enjoyed walking around on the rocky hills, taking photographs, and swapping tales about the wildlife they had met,” Jesse said, reflecting on his years at Daystar. It was at Daystar University that Jesse cultivated his skills and passion for communications and serving others. As a reporter and editor for Daystar’s student newspaper, Jesse took it upon himself to tell important stories about the campus and people in the surrounding communities. “I have memories of walking to nearby villages with my team, reporting on hunger, drought, and chronic diseases,” Jesse said. “Our stories were often picked up by the mainstream media.”
Studying communication at Daystar University wasn’t always Jesse’s plan. His parents were missionaries to an unreached people group in Kenya. He first heard about Daystar while volunteering at the missionary agency’s headquarters. He helped edit their prayer newsletter and his sharp skills drew the attention of his supervisors. They told Jesse that Daystar University would be the best place to develop his communications skills while also learning to use his gifts for service to God and humanity.
Jesse’s supervisors personally took him to Daystar’s Nairobi campus to process his application. But Jesse was from a humble background and paying tuition and fees seemed impossible; however, with the help of donors in the United States, Jesse was awarded a scholarship. “Mine was an improbable tale,” Jesse said, “Nowhere else could it have been possible but at Daystar.”
Jesse earned his bachelor’s degree in Communication Art and graduated in 2004. “Daystar University has given me three things I keep finding useful in my journey,” Jesse reflected, “practical skills with which to carry out my tasks, values to guide my commitments, and attitudes to keep me grounded in the basics of faith, life, and learning.”
Jesse has brought those three things to his position as the Director of Communication and Public Relations for the County Government of Nyandarua in Kenya. He can recall several times where his Biblically rooted education from Daystar has impacted his career. Working in government in Kenya poses threats to values everyday, particularly around money, sex, and power. “Against a culture of overbearing displays of power, I am modeling a life of servant leadership,” Jesse said. “Against a culture of falsifying expenses, I am modeling a culture of accounting for every cent.”
Jesse credits his values to what he learned at Daystar University. After being asked how he has seen Daystar University impact Africa Jesse said, “One cannot talk about value-laden education in Kenya and Africa without mentioning Daystar University. Most alumni are doing a great job to impact Africa in whichever sphere of influence they may be found.”
Jesse reflected on the recent 2017 general elections in Kenya, “In my role, I am responsible for coordinating media and publicity. Some media owners attempted to bribe me, to sway advertising business their way.” But Jesse stayed true to his values, with his wife supporting him along the way. “Together we were grateful for the grace to light our tiny candles in the darkness of public services,” Jesse said.
There are thousands of Daystar alumni like Jesse, displaying unwavering values in the face of adversity. Whether serving in government, the medical field, or helping others on a grass-roots level, Daystar alumni bring unparalleled values and transformation to Africa.