Melinda Williams was on our 2 week trip to Kenya in June 2011. Here are her thoughts and reflections on her time at New Dawn Education Center.
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There aren’t enough words to describe my experience at New Dawn. We immersed ourselves into the school for 3 days, and they were some of the best days of my life. New Dawn students have more dedication and drive than any students I have ever seen. Their desire for knowledge and to go to college is undeniable.
While we were at New Dawn, we were able to sit in on classes, student-led Bible studies and question-and-answer sessions with the students. I sat in on a Form 4 (12th grade) geometry class and was amazed at the students’ knowledge. They not only knew how to solve the problems but had a deep understanding of the concepts behind them. They are getting a wonderful education despite the daily hardships they face. Some students walk up to nine miles to school, and their only meal is the lunch they get there. They are able to overcome all these challenges and concentrate on nine lessons a day.
The students asked such thoughtful questions during the Bible study and question-and-answer session. The most difficult question I had on our trip was why God allows us to suffer. My team member, Grandma Jan, answered the question wonderfully but I sat there thinking how I would answer. I know I could never imagine the suffering they see daily.
New Dawn students aren’t the only ones who changed my life. The administrators and teachers are some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. They could all teach somewhere closer to home, but they choose New Dawn because of their love and dedication to the school and its students. Some of the students told a team member that the teachers embody Christ’s love for them because they are always there. While there, we did some painting and gardening. The teachers immediately started helping. They have such a love for their school that they want to be involved in anything that makes it better.
Our last day at New Dawn was easily one of the best days of my life. Before lunch, we had a session with the teachers and administrators. We spent time reflecting over our time there. It was a special time for all of us on the trip as we got to encourage them and hear their hearts for their students. After the session, we had a closing ceremony with the students. We gave them gift bags filled with school supplies, water filters and Bibles. God provided them with their needs, and He used us to give it to them.
I feel so blessed to have been a part of that afternoon, and I will never forget it.