Manitowaning resident gives back through African volunteer trips

Ashley Quackenbush offered up giant, homemade ME to WE cookies, coffee and hot chocolate for donation to go toward building a well for a Kenyan community during the Assiginack Easter egg hunt. photo by Robin Burridge

MANITOWANING—Manitowaning resident Ashley Quackenbush will be heading to Kenya next month with ME to WE to learn about the culture and help build a college.

“I fly out May 6 and will be in Kenya for 20 days,” explained 23-year-old Ms. Quackenbush. “I travelled to Tanzania last year and it was a great experience being in someone else’s shoes and getting to help out the global community.”

During her upcoming trip to Kenya Ms. Quackenbush will be living in the community of Eneleral and helping to build a college.

“I’ll also be visiting the Barack Hospital, an all girls secondary school, a farm, as well as participating in a water walk and a safari,” said Ms. Quackenbush.

“When I was in high school (Manitoulin Secondary School) I was part of the Share and Go Green Committee and we were involved with ME to WE,” Ms. Quackenbush explained. “After I graduated I stayed involved with ME to WE and helped with WE Day in Toronto. I’ve been helping with WE Day for the last eight or nine years—it’s like a big family.”

Ms. Quackenbush said she has been involved with volunteering in her community for some time as well, but last year wanted to expand and help a community in another country.

“I feel blessed that I was able to travel to Africa to volunteer and to open my eyes to the world’s challenges,” she said. “I fell in love with the people and I am happy that I am going back.”

During her trip to Tanzania, Ms. Quackenbush was able to help build a school, learn about local culture, participate in a water walk, barter at a market and learn about the challenges faced by the average family, as well as participate in Masai warrior training.

Ms. Quackenbush splits her time between Toronto and Manitoulin with her DJ business, DJ Scratchley Q, and works part time at Loco Beanz in Manitowaning.

She will be paying for her own trip to Kenya but is fundraising towards building a well in Africa.

“A well costs $5,000,” she said. “When I was in Tanzania I went for a walk to get water with local women. They walk 10 km a day to get water for their family. Because of the drought, their water source was a pond with no running water filled with animals. They had to scoop water with a jerry can and carry it back to their homes that they share with three other families.”

Ms. Quackenbush was at the Assiginack Easter egg hunt last weekend, fundraising for the well. She has also started a Crowd Rise campaign.

“Many of us take water for granted, including myself,” she explained. “Last year in May I got to see first hand the water situation in Tanzania while in the rural community of Orbomba. I want to fundraise enough money for a well in Tanzania that will be purchased through the WE.Org Charity.”

Ashley Quackenbush will be leaving for Kenya on Saturday, May 6. To donate to her well fundraising visit