For girls in Kibera, education is the most important way to provide a way out of poverty. The girls here are much like girls in America and have dreams and aspirations for what they want to do in life. Some have said they want to be lawyers, accountants, engineers and teachers. Attaining these dreams will prove more difficult and require more hard work, but I'm confident these girls will do what they set out to do. That's why I'm so excited to get Hope Academy built--to start educating girls and provide a way for a better future. So yesterday was especially exciting and encouraging to visit the site for the future school. I was especially excited for Britt to see the property--she's spent the last year and a half helping us file our paperwork for our 501(c)3 status and has heard me talk about the school. After seeing the land, we met the oldest son, Francis, of the old gentleman that is selling us the property. He had recently built a house with his wife on adjacent property and was busy planting vegetables in a small patch of dirt. He said his 11 month old daughter had recently passed away. From Rotovirus. It was so heartbreaking to hear she died of a treatable illness that doesn't have to be fatal......my kids have had rotovirus. It was heartbreaking.
Our afternoon was spent offering words of encouragement and challenging the over 40 girls involved in Swahiba's Mentorship and Empowerment Program. We started off by having a drawing for the awesome peach t-shirts that Georgia's sponsor TEAM PHUN sent with us. The girls were so excited to win something! Britt, Georgia and I each shared a bit and really challenged them to work hard, go after their dreams, focus on healthy relationships and make an impact in their communities. They took notes and listened attentively and I'm looking forward to following up with them in the next few months to see what successes they have achieved.
Today we visited a girl involved in Swahiba's Mentorship Program and delivered a food basket. Her name was Caroline and she was simply precious. Her aunt sent her through secondary school and she hopes to learn a skill and find capital to start her own business so she can save to put herself through University. I was so encouraged by this young girl's positive attitude and determination to do something great in life!
After visiting Caroline and making a stop in the bone jewelry factory, we were off to the Kabete Young Offenders Reception Center. Here approxiately 75 boys ranging in age from 10 to 17 were being rehabilitated to hopefully turn their troubled lives around before it is too late. We played games and they all wanted to be in the group with the Muzungu, or white person. They laughed and played, listened attentively in group time, and inhaled their hotdog and juice snacks just like any other boy their age and it was easy to momentarily forget their troubled pasts that had brought them their.
One more day in Kenya and then back to America to brainstorm new ways to show more love in this country I've come to love.