“I Never Could Have Imagined” by Paul Rich
I have just returned from traveling to Kenya with Kenya Keys. I can honestly say I have never had a more life-changing experience.
It’s hard to grasp the struggles that most rural Kenyans deal with on a day to day basis. Even though my wife experienced a trip with Kenya Keys 9 years ago and I’ve seen lots of pictures, the reality of these struggles escaped me. It was only through experiencing Kenya first hand that one can understand their life’s’ challenges.
I am a physical therapist and using a skeleton model, I was able to teach several different classes in Kenya about the body and some of its miraculous functions. I have never spoken to such a rapt audience! They were so eager to absorb information. I passed around a pulse oximeter and they were fascinated, laughing so readily when I teased them about their heart rate (your heart rate is so low, maybe you are dead!)
The day that had the most impact on me was seeing our student’s homestead. I had no idea how remote it was, with no electricity or running water. It was hard for me to believe that so many people could live in such a little thatched hut, half of which was their kitchen and granary. And yet, they seemed happy. I can’t wait to see how our student Brian’s life will change the life of his family.
Another impactful day was seeing the 8th graders who stayed at their secondary school all week to eat, study and sleep together to prepare for their national exams. What responsibility these kids displayed. Taking turns cooking on open fires, bringing food from home and then studying together for hours and then sleeping on hard cement floors with only a small blanket to sleep on, these kids are so tough and resilient! The price they are willing to pay to become educated is beyond anything I could have imagined.
I knew Kenya Keys’ motto was Unlocking Potential, but now I have seen the reality of that. I cannot offer a more heart-felt endorsement of the work they do. I was honored to be part of it.
Paul Rich was a Kenya Keys volunteer intern with the 2018 Team that went to Taru, Kenya.