Over Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to go to Kenya. I recently joined the board for Kenya Matters, and we thought it would be good for me to visit the orphanage in Kenya. Part of what we do at Kenya Matters is help support the orphanage and the community development that they do. The other part, is building relationships. We have, what I think, is a great partnership with the Kenyans who live there. They are the ones who do the day to day work of community development and raising, caring for, and educating these wonderful kids. We raise awareness, and money… which is important, but I think works well because there is a great relationship between the staff (and kids) in Kenya, and those of us who work to support them from afar.
My trip had some ups and downs. Overall, it was good to see a new continent and to see first hand the work that is happening. It is good work! Ultimately, I believe that our work is providing significant hope to the kids and surrounding community. Many of these kids were malnourished and behind in school before they came to the orphanage. We provide them with safe housing, a loving environment, nourishment, and education. All of that adds up to hope: Hope to be something they dream of. Hope to contribute. Hope to give back to their beautiful country.
The downs…. well, I got sick in Kenya. Not fun. Not sure if it was food or water, or something I got on the plane. Either way, three days in, I was in pretty rough shape. Rough enough, to head to the local Catholic medical center for an IV and some major antibiotics. Even after the drugs kicked in, I never really felt well in Kenya. I was down for about three days, and after that felt much better, just never felt better than maybe 70-75% full health. Despite that, I am still grateful for the trip. The staff and kids welcomed us as family. The weather was fantastic. The surrounding countryside and wildlife was amazing. Most of all, the work we are doing there is making a difference and bringing hope.