Wow! 9 months went by way too quickly! We had gotten to know these kids, spending every day with them, feeding & looking after them, waking up to their crying, and riding our bikes to teach and coach them. We got the opportunity to be a part of some amazing local organizations outside of the children’s home we were living and working at. And, we had taken some time off to vacation with friends, family, and by ourselves all over Kenya, from safari’s to sunsets on the beach. We were looking forward to reuniting with good friends, family, & our house back in the US, but were struggling with saying goodbye to all those kids that had become such huge parts of our lives.
After coming back from our short vacation to the beach, we only had a few days to visit everyone one last time. We moved out of Happy Life Children’s home to spend the last two nights with our good friends, the Muutuki’s, so the Children’s Home kids were the first we said goodbye to. The infants that we had seen come in malnourished, from being abandoned at only weeks young, had grown so much since being there, but they didn’t really understand that we were leaving. And the older kids that helped out here were used to guests leaving, and somehow their understanding that we would be back at some point brought both us and them some ease in saying goodbye.
Josh really didn’t want us to leave! And we really didn’t want to leave without him!
However, when we stopped at Happy Life Christian School in Juja, where we had spent a lot of our time teaching and coaching the kids, we really struggled. We had brought a freezer and a few items for the teachers/house moms that we had purchased partially with donations from our Christmas campaign we sponsored (that you all so generously gave). They had no large stand alone freezers where they could store meals they had prepared, which created a lot more daily work for the house moms. The kids and moms fed us a delicious meal, sang to us, & gave us gifts for us to remember them. And then before we knew it, we needed to be going. It seemed like just yesterday we arrived for our first day of teaching, with all the kids running around us, trying to figure out why we were there. But leaving these kids was not the same. The difference was these kids didn’t get guests who stayed and built relationships with them. They had visitors that came once in a while, but nobody that had been there every day teaching and coaching. These kids were also older, and would remember things like the pool parties, the school supply drive, and just the every days of teacher Laura & coach Michael. And we would remember all the days we were lucky to share with them… saying goodbye to them was probably one of the hardest things we’ve had to do.
Some of the shops in the village of Juja
We had one last meal with some of our closest friends before departing for the Airport the following afternoon. Even though we know we will be going back at some point, (hopefully in the near future) every time we remember the way Jude answered a phone call from our hand, or the way that Henry would smile with all those crooked teeth, these moments bring us to tears. Because we miss them, and because with almost nothing, they were just happy to be learning, eating something, and to have a roof over their heads. And remembering how happy they were around us reminds us of how much joy they brought to our lives. When we were in Kenya, we weren’t angry about a driver who cut us off, or the fact that our phone didn’t get a good signal (or any signal for that matter). Nowadays we catch ourselves quite often stressed out about one of these small things, and then our trail of thoughts end up bringing us back to Kenya, and all we can think about is those happy kids with so little, and suddenly our little problems just dissipate. Sorry, just rambled on there.. The point is, we were blessed by having those kids in our lives. So unbelievably blessed, and we can’t wait for the next time we get to visit them, and see how much they have grown. Kwaheri Ya Kenya!
Re-live our entire Kenya trip!