As I sit here in my warm house, I stop to look around me and really start to notice how fortunate I am to have a home, to have every day life things, to have a fridge and cupboard fill of things that I can help myself to whenever I feel hunger.......every day life ticks by day to day without ever stopping and appreciating everything I have, I have a family, who love me and inspire me everyday, I have a loving and supportive fiancé, I have friends who stick by me and make me laugh daily....all these things are priceless, although, there are many in Kisumu who don't have any of this.
As I step off the plane in Africa, there was the most beautiful sunrise, the colours were magnificent, from that moment, I knew this was going to be a life changing experience. The warmth of the sun, the smell of Africa, I knew I was back in my homeland, my heart skipped with pride as I embark on this journey.
As I meet the school children I look at their faces beaming at me, all wanting their photo taken! Their faces seem happy, but their eyes tell a different story. As I talk so some of the older children, they open up and tell me their life stories, some of these children are only 12 and have been through a life time of heartache, failure, and let downs! It amazes me how open they are and how they are to not embarrassed about their past!! This is because they look to the future and now they have a future with C4C life centre school. C4C have given them hope, dreams and reality.....far from where they were a few years ago. I fills me with happiness knowing that these children are looking towards the future and not the past.
These children depend on their one meal a day from school, and it surprised me how unselfish they are. There were no arguments, no frightening, and no crying. Most of these children were found in the streets, simply because their parents cannot feed them or they have no family,once Pastor James finds them and enrolles them in the school he finds their parents or family member, they then are allowed back into their home as now they are getting one meal a day from school, so the parents don't have to worry about feeding them. I witnessed a little boy at lunch time eat some of his rice and beans (their day in and day out meal) a friend came over and put what he had left on the boys plate, they then scooped up what was left into a tub and the boy put it in the classroom, I asked a teacher why he did that, she said he takes it home for his mother! This brought tears to my eyes, as a boy as young as 6 is already taking care of his mother!!
I meet some of the families in the slums. There was one family, a mother and her two boys, who we gave a chicken and a goat too, I asked why have we choose this family, Alice replied saying she always pays her school fees on time. I asked the mother what she does for a job to be able to pay her school fees, she said she works in a bar at night! She leaves her two young boys at 4pm and does not return till the morning, she does this so that her children can have an education and a better future.
Education is the key to this community, many parents are not educated and so the cycle starts and ends there! C4C are changing this viscous cycle by giving the children hope, a future and most importantly an Education! Education is the key factor to life and future, would you be where you were today if you didnt have an education?! This impowers me to give children the best start to education,and I do believe we do that at Yellow Dot! We want our children to thrive and be the best they can be! We give our children hopes and dreams, we watch them grow and succeed in lifeand nurture every single one of them.
The one thing that will stay with me from this experience is the sound of children singing, words cannot express how it sounds or makes you feel, my whole body fills with goosebumps and eyes start to fill up with tears as they sing and move to the sound of their voice. Singing is a huge part of their daily life, which enriches the culture and fills their hope and dreams. I will be bringing this more into the daily life's of our children at Yellow Dot.
No words, photos or videos will ever be able explain how uplifting and life changing this trip was.
A big thanks to Paul, Shirley and Jude. What you do is amazing work, you are so passionate about what you do, and thank you for making a difference to the children life in kisumu. Paul and Shirley own Asante coffee shop, one based in Chandlers Ford, one on Romsey. All the profit they make goes towards their C4C charity, they also sell lots of African market things, that are brought directly from the Kisumu market, this way they are buying from the local market in Kisumu and selling it in their coffee shop to give back to their C4C charity. So whenever you want a coffee or hot chocolate on these winter nights, pop a long to Asante coffe shop, you might even see charlotte and I on their slide show of photos! Just think one coffee is buying a child's meal at school!
Thank you James ans Alice for looking after all the children in the school, these two have hearts bigger than Africa, they feed up to 100 children from there home in Kisumu in the holidays as the children have no where to go!
Thank you Jane for giving Charlotte and I the greatest opportunity to do this.
And last but not least Charlotte, my slum mate, I couldn't have asked for anyone better to experience this with!