Friday, September 23, 2011

The month I spent with my new friends at Familia Moja was filled with a multitude of experiences that I will not soon forget. I was overwhelmed by generosity displayed by the men, women and children of Familia Moja. The children stole my heart and I will treasure the times and memories I have with them. Not only was I able to make a difference in the lives of the children, I also gained lasting friendships.

While many afternoons were spent wondering how we could be more helpful and not feeling like we had enough to do, we learned the importance of just being present with people. My most memorable moments were not the ones when I found myself being that I "helpful and hands on" but those moments that were spent learning about each persons story and their family.

I was constantly amazed at how resourceful people in Kenya are. They find a way to make use of everything. Every "thing" has a purpose and a use. There are no possessions that go unused or lack a purpose.

When I first arrived, I remember feeling like a fish out of water. Unsure of who people were, how things worked, and cultural norms. Each passing day, I felt more and more comfortable in my new environment. I loved spending time building relationships. It was an incredible feeling at the end of the month to reflect back on each friendship and how each one evolved.

The children were so happy to have us there with them and were so proud to be seen with us. Each one valued our attention and fought over who got to sit near us. It broke my heart that they are not shown more individual attention, love and comfort each day.

It was an incredible experience developing relationships with the children. They were each so inspiring. I loved learning more about their hopes and dreams along with their struggles. While they each have experienced so much loss and disappointment in life, they have so much hope within them selves for the future. I was truly inspired by each of them.

Saying goodbye to my new friends in Kenya was not an easy task. It was an emotional day filled with tears and happy reflections of what a great month we had together. While not every moment spent in Kenya was fun or comfortable, the relationships I now have made the experience worth every minute of it. I left Kenya with the hope that I had made a positive experience in the lives of the men, women and children I met in Kenya. I hope that I helped empower them and that they continue to feel encouraged about each of their futures. Now that I have returned home, I hope they will always treasure our time together, and remember that someone in America is praying for them, cheering for them and believing in them.