I had some eye-opening experiences when I went to Kitui, Kenya this July with African Leadership. Kitui is a village 3 or 4 hours outside Nairobi, Kenya. They are in the midst of a severe two-year drought. When we drove down the dirt roads, the air was thick with dust. Everything is terribly dry and brown instead of the lush green they described from a few years ago. The people of Kitui are praying desperately for rain to come in November when the next rainy season should start. I hope and pray it rains soon so these families I met can once again farm the land and have enough to eat.
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In Kitui, the littlest children speak mostly their tribal language, Kamba, so rather than just talking, we spent time painting, singing, playing games, and holding hands with them. I might have imagined this extra effort involved for communication would lessen our connection with the children, but I actually found that it made our experience richer. They seemed to understand who we were and that we loved them through our actions, and we felt the same sentiments from them. I love the idea that we were challenged to be creative in the ways we showed our friendship and care for them. I hope that I will be able to continue to think and act like that even when I’m with friends who speak my language!
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Benjamin is one of the orphans in Kitui supported by Mocha Club’s Orphan Care + Vulnerable Children project. If you choose to support that project, then you are making a difference in some very wonderful children’s lives! This picture was taken while Benjamin was waiting in the batting line-up after just running the bases! We were exchanging “high fives” and cheering for the other children. Benjamin is adorable, mischievous, curious, and friendly. Because of some fairly serious health problems as a baby, he has trouble seeing, but that didn’t stop him from learning to swing at a baseball and playing and running all day long! Before we left Kenya, one member of our team decided to pay for Benjamin to get new glasses…and hopefully more home runs!
Editor’s note: Allison Buchignani was on the African Leadership Kenya trip in July 2009. She is also a volunteer for Mocha Club.
View more trip photos here.