Hi, everyone! As many of you know, I’ve spent the last 10 days in Kenya, arriving August 1st and departing this morning (Aug 10). Tonight is the first I’ve had internet access in a week, so thought I’d write a quick post to give you a flavor of our trip. It’s been an amazing time, and I’ve had little sleep so I’ll be brief now (time to head to bed :-)), and I’ll blog in more detail and include pictures over the coming days as I have internet access and a few moments (I’m still in Africa, Zambia tonight).
We’ve had an absolutely outstanding, fantastic, great, wonderful trip to Kenya. Everyone who went has been touched so profoundly by the children we’ve met, the communities we’ve interacted with, and the hearts of the World Vision staff in country. We’ve danced, sang, laughed and cried for joy, driven on MANY rough dirt roads, stayed up late, gotten up way too early and wouldn’t have changed a moment. We brought many school supplies and solar-powered lanterns, were showered with gifts from communities when they could ill afford to do so, but the heart and generosity of the people of Kenya is so huge and they love to express their gratitude. We participated in commissioning beautiful new classrooms in two different schools, commissioned the brand new science lab and computer lab at St. Elizabeth’s all with great celebration – and conversely in another location spent time with 78 children under 5 years old sitting on a floor smeared with a mixture of cow dung and dirt so that the jiggers couldn’t get through and burrow into their feet and legs. This classroom was in a mud and branch walled school structure with a leaking roof made from used tin (this is one of the places we will construct a 2 modern classroom Early Childhood Development center in the next 6 months). We’ve seen communities rejoice over new latrines and have heard of people walking over 5km to use them! I have over 700 photos and a bunch of video, so will pull out the ‘best of the best’ and share those as well.
I also am so excited to also share my outstanding visit with the World Vision Kenya National Office on Thursday Aug 2nd in Nairobi. the very best part of that day was the wonderful lunch meeting I had with the World Vision Kenya Deputy Country Director, Pauline. Pauline was sharing with me how personally excited she is about the Kenya Child Protection and Education program for two reasons: the first beause of how transformational it will be for 17,000 children in the North Rift Valley of Kenya. The second is the reason I couldn’t sleep that night and was up past 3am I was so excited … World Vision Kenya has a strategic goal to bring education to 2 million of the most vulnerable children in Kenya. This project will play an important role as World Vision Kenya seeks to partner with other commercial partners, other NGOs, and the government to fulfill that broad vision. This project gives World Vision something to bring to the table as a demonstration of their investment and seriousness of their goal, as they ask other partners for appropriate resources in order to achieve the 2 million vulnerable children education goal. I’m still just getting my mind wrapped around this one, but clearly this is a huge testimony for the work we’re part of funding! Also on that day, I had a very productive conversation with the Kenyan National Child Rights Specialist and her supervisor, who also looks after education, health, nutrition, HIV/AIDs – it’s amazing how well integrated this program is with other work World Vision is doing – WV Kenya really has put some fantastic thought in to the child protection aspect as a great compliment to the school building/expansion.
So, much more to share about our experiences on the trip, where we went and what we experienced in more detail, but for now, i hope this brings you a bit of the joy we felt and encourages you that we are part of something quite wonderful that is so impactful and transformational for the children in the North Rift Valley of Kenya!