We have returned from our second full team trip to Kenya and are simultaneously happy and sad to be back. It’s always nice to return to your luxuries, of course, but it also deftly highlights the needs of those we just left. Any decent human being returns after a trip like ours feeling extraordinarily fortunate to live the way we live, and we all have a deeper appreciation for and understanding of what those in other parts of the world live like on a daily basis.
Nonetheless, we did some good and learned a LOT. The photo here shows an early childhood classroom at Oldonyonyokie Primary School. Located in the Rift Valley, the uniforms may look familiar to those of you who saw the blog from this time last year. This time we had a chance to stay with them for 2 days, talk with their teachers and student leaders (whom they call prefects), and observe a variety of their teachers in action. What a wonderful experience! We also played with the kids and met the young ladies we bonded with last year, both of our groups pleased that each recognized and remembered the other.
We then traveled west and a little north to introduce the team to Kisii, the town where we hope to open our school. There we were invited into our friend Jared’s lovely apartment for some local tea (we were the first mzungus – foreigners – to ever be in his home), visited with Bernard who started the private Benya Academy, bought out the woodworking store, and proceeded to invest even more in the Kisii economy at the soapstone factory. The meeting with Bernard proved to be invaluable, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with him far into the future.
We ended our 6-day marathon work week with a drive to the famous Maasai Mara, where we stayed in gorgeous permanent tents by a river filled with hippo mamas and babies, saw a variety of African wildlife, and I finally completed my sightings of the Big Five by seeing a wild leopard. It was a wonderful way to unwind and process all that we had seen and done to that point, although upon our return to Nairobi we were delighted to visit the Kibera Resource Center and see all the ladies we met last year again. They were strong, healthy, beautiful, and productive, as they have all graduated and begun their businesses. Many thanks to Mallory, Nancy, Evelyn, Elizabeth, Jen, and the other ladies who always welcome us with open arms and loving smiles. Your mandazzi is the very best and we look forward to visiting again soon!
As the team reintegrates into our normal lives, we hope you will think about helping us out. Seeing children so happy to have bread and milk, hearing them ask for more toilets and enough books so each child can study and learn, to request good quality soccer balls and be thrilled to receive a ruler, pen, pencil, eraser, and sharpener is enough to remind us that we need so little to survive. The need is great and we are trying to make a small dent, so every bit helps. For those of you who have already supported us, THANK YOU and we hope you feel great about what you’ve done. For those who are thinking about it, visit our gallery to see what a difference every dollar or minute donated makes.