Africa At Last!
Note: Rinda Hayes and Kenya Keys board member, Sharron Reichle, have gone to Chwele in north-eastern Kenya – an area very different from our home village of Taru, Kenya. They are there to help Grace Kuto develop a sponsorship program modeled after our own, with her organization, Chwele Community Development. Later next week, Brent Hayes, Ben Hilton, and the Kenya Keys team (including many SOS girls) will come to Chwele from Taru so they can all work together on sponsorship and girl empowerment programs, and be enriched and inspired by being together again.
I have been up since 3 am, despite taking a sleeping pill. Now, I am sitting in the silence of Grace’s home, listening to the soft sounds of the lucky ones who can sleep. The overwhelming sleepiness is sure to hit me when I am in the important meeting we have at 1:30, where we are to meet the women who will be coordinating the Chwele end of the girl empowerment training. I realized last night when we got settled enough to focus, how woefully unprepared it seems we are. It is simply so hard to anticipate and visualize your world here until you are IN it! But I’ve also felt a strong assurance that the ideas and the organization will come. At this early hour, I feel only humble gratitude for being here, and being able to watch, as the teams from Eastern and Western Kenya unite in their vibrant, earnest African desire to suck the marrow from every experience; to learn, share, and ignite.
We arrived at the airport at Entebbe, Uganda close to midnight. Greeted by our good friend Paul Kuto, we were then taken to spend the night in a convent, a lovely, peaceful place where a young nun had a meal waiting for us. Her glowing smile and eager warmth reminded me why I love these people so much. Driving through Uganda to get to the Kenyan border was stunningly beautiful, starting on the shores of Lake Victoria, taking us through rolling hills of tea and rice fields, and people on bicycles carrying impossibly huge loads of bananas. Clearly this is not the Kenya I have known, though the bright, colored, swirling mayhem does feel familiar. We passed through an area where baboons lined the road – loping along watching us. Ah, the mystique of being in Africa! From the beginning I have been drawn here like a moth to the flame.
Weary and very, very sitting-sore after countless hours of travel, we arrived at the farm home of Grace and Paul Kuto. It feels like the garden of Eden here, with all things growing in rich abundance. I think of how I have watched the scrawny stalks of corn try to push their way upward in Taru; where hunger and even starvation haunt each day. Brent and Ben definitely have the hardest part of this trip, as they fight the dust and punishing heat. But they are both loving it and their good minds are mixing happily with the Kenyan team to solidify programs and possibilities.
I must get on to my planning, grateful for these still moments. And for finally being here! Let the beauty unfold, as it is sure to.
I send my love to all,