I pretend that coming to Kenya and working is an easy venture, one that I don't need motivation for and one that is a reward in itself. This is true to a certain extent as it is all that and more, yet sometimes it becomes a bit overwhelming. The one consistent thing that continually brings me joy, provides motivation, and gives a face to our project while being here is our encounters with kids. Sometimes the encounters are plentiful and some days almost non-existent but each encounter is special, and some more impactful than others. Our daily rides from home to work are filled with smiles, waves, and yells from kids, sometimes making it hard to wave back while dealing with traffic, but still a beautiful start to the day. Then there is the pre-school that just opened next to KACH, so all day we get to hear the laughs and shouts. Sometimes during lunch we go up and act as human jungle gyms for the little groms to climb on, or there is the marathon of waving as they walk by on their way home. The very special meetings involve the kids that will call KACH home. Two of the little girls visited us at KACH the other day and were such a joy to spend time with. We taught them games, we shared cookies and soda, we even seemed to get yelled at by Juju (grandma). My heart absolutely melted when the girls would grab on to my hand, or nestle their head against my arm or chest, they were extremely affectionate and cuddley. If i ever needed a reason to be doing what we are, its the moment when I feel those small fingers grasp mine that will provide it.
We went and visited our friend Dennis at school the other day, he is the kid we so fell in love with last year that JP and I decided we wanted to sponsor him. While visiting him we met 4 other kids who are all sponsored through IPI. The kids became the center of attention and talk of the school as the five of them laughed, joked and played with us. They seemed to smile a bit larger and hold their heads a bit higher by the time we left and I hoped it was a moment that would stick with them as I realized that there would be no parents to come visit them, to check on their grades, and to meet their friends.
Sometimes I get completely consumed in the building process, or stressed by the fact that we may not have enough money to finish what we started, or overwhelmed with what seems like an endless list of problems for the country of Kenya and the continent of Africa. Thankfully, it is the moments with the groms that include games, laughs and childish activities that completely grounds me and answers the unasked question as to why am I here.