Alma Mater Matters
I always come home from Taru both humbled and inspired. But I’m even more touched when I see these students finish their schooling and immediately focus on helping those who are following them. It’s nothing short of astonishing to me.
Why do I find this so surprising? When my class in both high school and college graduated, we quickly moved on. Life was waiting for us. There was fun to be had. Jobs to look for. The future pulled us forward. The most I ever remember seeing in terms of someone returning to their Alma Mater to mentor and help was the one time I saw a student body president return to give a motivational talk at an assembly.
But in Kenya this is so different. A recent gathering at the Taru Boys high school illustrated this. The “old boys” the alumni—referred to in Swahili as boboro—came back to mentor the younger boys. They planned and organized this themselves. They paid their own way to get there. They devoted a whole Saturday. And they do this 3 or 4 times a year.
“We are now professionals, but we once sat in your seats. We had empty stomachs. It seemed impossible to continue,” said graduate Samson Charo. “For those of you who are about to give up, we are here to bring you the hope and strength to push on.”
Kenya Keys’ university student Ali Jabu, who is studying criminology and investigative science, said, “I did poorly in primary school. I never thought I’d be able to go anywhere. But when I got into secondary school, I was disciplined and determined. I made it all the way to University because of this! Don’t be discouraged. If I can do it, you can too!”
“Emulate us as your role models. You can achieve your goals through hard work, team work, and prayer,” said Stephen Kabani. “Above all else, go for greatness. Don’t underestimate your abilities. You can do it!”
The “boboro” helped the younger students organize a fundraiser to buy cattle for the agriculture club so they could provide milk for the school. They taught about critical study skills, the importance of avoiding alcohol and drugs, and recognizing that unrest and violence do not solve problems.
These men, who came into the Kenya Keys program as boys, truly are the future leaders of Kenya. Even though I have always believed them capable of such leadership, I am still amazed and touched as I watch them lead now. I never dreamed I’d witness such amazing trickle-down effects of our sponsors’ investment. I wish everyone could see these mentors spreading their strength and light. Is it any wonder that tears come when I witness such a miracle?
Note: You can read the original story of Brent’s encouraging the students to be the future leaders of Kenya by clicking here.