I came to win
Battle me that’s a sin
I won’t tear the sack up
Punk you’d better back up
Try and play the role and the whole crew will act up
Get up, stand up, come on! Throw your hands up.
yes…. House of Pain. how appropriate.
It’s been a very busy couple of days. I didn’t write the other day because it was a day where we just took some time out and a little bit of a breather. I think we needed the day to put ALL of this into perspective. This seemed like a wonderful idea when I decided to start Rebirth the World. I got to fulfill my philanthropic dreams and do something meaningful. In reality, I think I was smoking something very seriously mind blowing when I decided to go ahead with the plan, however, I wish that psychedelic drugs could be blamed for all this. Lol.
The truth is I put one toe in and realized that it was quick sand fast and I had to choose all in fast. Sitting with these kids one at a time doesn’t make this a philanthropic dream anymore. It makes it a harsh reality that I have taken on a role to facilitate sponsorships that I KNOW WITHOUT DOUBT will give these kids a fighting chance at a better life in the long run.
When we took a down day from all the interviews and just to clear our heads we sat down with Pamela and Francis and really had to look at the impact all of this has and just how serious this is becoming:
Can I do this in a way that doesn’t exploit the situation over here in a negative harsh way? In contemplation it was clear, I only tell it like it is. I have no choice to sugar coat the needs here because if I can’t drive it home hard to everyone reading then no one will ever understand. Many of you will read, maybe cry and go on about your day, but I write in the hopes that MAYBE one will read and say yes, I can be a part of that and help. The only way to get help is to write exactly what I see, exactly how I feel and exactly what it takes to get someone out there to CARE ENOUGH to put there hand up and say “hey, yes, I can help”. And I have to thank with the greatest sincerity I can muster up, with all the love I can share to those that have reached out the last couple of days and sponsored the children I have spoken about. You may know that you are doing a wonderful thing, but I only wish that someday you would come visit your child so that you will see how much you have helped. I hope that over time you establish personal relationships with these children, where you can speak to them on the phone and easily congratulate them the day they finish highschool because of YOUR HELP! And believe it or not, you actually can talk to your child if you would like to, I can make those arrangements for any sponsor that would like a phone call. That’s the beauty of sponsoring a child with me over a huge organization, I personally know these kids.
As I took the day off to just go through all the details on how I am going to make this work. I am not going to lie, the day I did not write was the day, I actually started packing to go home. After spending two days in interviews and reading letters, it was too much, I was sick. I did get sick!!! I felt like I had the world up against me and that there was no way I was going to be able to make promises to these kids, involve the help of Pamela and Francis in a way that was fair to them and think it would be a success story in the village. I was down right scared of moving forward another day. Kendall, was pivotal in putting an outside eye on calming me down and making me take a breath. That morning as I started to pack up she begged me to go for a walk. Now, she too is exhausted and overwhelmed and I think would have been happy to go home. But she knows with her own eyes and emotions that we just can’t run from being here. So we went for a really long walk. She basically said, this is hard, it’s hard for her and she isn’t even responsible for carrying out the future of these sponsorships. But that she can see how much I actually care about what I am doing here. She can see how much work this is right now, how much it will be when I get home and how much it will be as long as I keep doing it. I have to let the little things go, and just keep focus on the kids that will benefit. She said that all the politics in this will mean nothing when a child is actually able to go to school when they leave this orphanage. And she was right. After a lot of tears, and I mean A LOT. We went back to the house and mapped this out on paper and clearly defined a vision for rebirthing this Village and put together a concrete plan that will sustain through to the other villages in the future that will one day benefit, if, I am crazy enough to start another village. According to Kendall, she say’s I am certified crazy.
What Pamela and Francis do here is take care of 200 orphans in the village by providing an education when they would not receive one at all. These kids live with circumstances that are so difficult that they would never have had the chance to attend even grade 1-8. They also make sure a child is fed lunch. This means that a child here will get at least one meal that day. What they do is take care of these kids at the very basic level. They meet the needs of these children on a short term immediate need. Their organization is survival at high costs, a day to day reality in making sure that they are educating for today, with the hopes a child will make government sponsorship to highschool with no guarantees. What I have done is expanded that care and said how can I help make this better, so that kids won’t rely on the feeding program which can help with their feeding costs, won’t have to only hope to get medicine at school and then not have it at home. How can I make sure that kids actually show up to the orphanage to go to school everyday. Yes the education is here for them but they need to be healthy enough every day to show up. This is where Rebirth the World comes in and covers the long term need. I start at the home with sponsorship. My primary goal is to make sure the care is there at home, medicine, food, sanitary living spaces, healthy caretakers… The children that are sponsored will be looked after outside of school with the primary focus being making sure they have a future waiting for them and that once the orphanage is done past their grade 8, my organizations steps in a carries them through highschool with their fees. They now have a financial backing to ensure the medicine is there the moment they need at home, the matatu fees to the hospital can be paid, the medicine is at home… thus they can go to school. They have another incentive to continue showing up at the orphanage because by finishing their education there with high marks they have the high school funds from us without worry. Thus they don’t have to give up!
In Africa everything is minute-to-minute survival. Its immediate need. What do we need to do now to get through this day. In our first world country we worry about what will happen to us when…. And we create many horrific senerios for ourselves that may or may not happen such as will I have a job at 50, what if I loose my job, what if I can’t pay my mortgage in a year, what if I have a car accident next year, what if I lose an arm or get ill with cancer? SO…. We buy car insurance, health insurance, medical insurance, dental insurance, home insurance, life insurance, for GOD SAKE we even buy pet insurance. Here in Africa and to be more specific in this village, today, right now, this second, this breath, I am alive and that’s all that I need to focus on. Because this breath means I have another chance today to find something to eat, I can go to class and learn TODAY, Right NOW what is the most immediate thing I need to make sure that I have a tomorrow.My organization with your help is their tomorrow and their 10 years from now. We are their only insurance policy they will EVER NEED.
So with the politics out of the way, I would like to share my day today. We continued with the interviews and the letters and I will share a few that stood out for me today. But as for the other awesome events, we gathered up all the kids and did the donation ceremony. I was so amazing to see them light up over sooooooo many pencils and crayons, stickers rules and the list goes on. We gave stickers to the ones that wrote the best english letters and it was hilarious. Kendall went to put the sticker on their shirts but NOOOOO Francis said it goes on the forehead. hahahahaha I was cracking up cause I knew Kendal felt like a spaz sticking stickers on kids foreheads. She comes over to me and said :ok that was officially the weirdest thing ever” but you know what, those kids wore those stickers on their foreheads all day. Talk about flaunt it if you got it.
We also started home visits with the children that actually have been sponsored. When I left Canada I only came with 5 guaranteed sponsorships. Over the last two days I have 5 more commitments to 5 awesome kids and 4 more possible over the next few months as current sponsors are adding kids. If I could make one wish right this second it would be that by the time I go I have a total of 20 sponsored of the 200 in the immediate time I’m here. These home visits were amazing to show up and give a child a a gift bag full of goodies and the amazing story about Rebirth the World and guess what you have been chosen. Now let me say that I expected circus theatrics and happy tears from mothers and guardians, but it was nothing like that. In fact I had to say ummmm Francis do they understand what is going on because they look confused? As I spoke in English and he translated in Swahili. and he laughed each time and said everyone is in complete shock. They can’t believe it. I do know they were shocked because you could see their eyes light up when he was speaking, one women made a scrunchy face and leaned in to him speaking like she couldn’t believe her ears. One women kept touching a bag that was given that was glittery as if to keep making sure it was really there. All in all., every moment, every second was worth it, and this was only the beginning, we just started, these families have yet to feel the financially benefits as the funds begin to show up monthly. After these first home visits, I concluded that I am actually excited to carry this through and come back in the future and see homes that are sustaining themselves, healthy children, smarter children! It’s too much to even explain to you in words.
With that being said meet a few on my radar looking for sponsorships, I have decided to leave names out for sake of privacy and will reveal that info to their potential sponsor. (sorry for the sideways profiles, I didn’t have internet time to do fancy editing)
This 6 year old caught our eye immediately as he was really tall for his age. He was brought here by his granfather. He is tall because his decent is the Massai tribe. His family still practices the Massai rituals which means female circumcisions, polygamy, cow blood is their dietary staple. Hi mother died and his father has 6 wives and did not look after him. This child is known as the smartest in his class. He is always the first one at school and eager to learn. We simply adored his energy and his smile. It was clear he had something in him that was like a shining star. His sponsorship will give him a fighting chance at continuing an education and motivating him to keep coming early and knowing highschool awaits.
This 11 year old boy won our hearts when he underlinded the word Doctor in his third sentence of his letter. Most kids saved their future until the last page. His was right at the top. He didn’t even say hope, or want, but I will be a Doctor. He comes from an very difficult situation of being without both his parents that died of HIV and lives with a guardian. It seems though that he clearly has made a choice in his young life to be a somebody and I will do everything in my power to get him a sponsorship so that his affirmation becomes and abundant reality.
This girls story brought tears. Her eyes don’t shine very bright nor does her smile because her life has been nothing but horrible. In her letter she wrote about how bad her town where she originally came from was. She was suffered from repeated sexual incest by a family caregiver after her parents passed away from HIV. She has suffered emotional trauma and repeated would run away from any new caregiver home afraid of the same thing happening again. She would run away and it would need to be reported on the news to find her. Clearly her pain was so intense she just kept running. She has had alot of counselling and has finally settled into a new home through this orphange. I would love for this year to get a sponsor to giver not only a chance at an education but to show her that there is a lot of love in this world that does not resemble pain but can actually be here reason to smile and brighten her eyes.
This 13 year old has a big smile on his face but I just can’t get understand it. His circumstances are heartbreaking. He lives alone with his mother who is dying of HIV. She is bed ridden, paralyzed and can’t look after him. Sometimes he comes to school and sometimes he does not. He needs to go out into the village and look for work and can sometimes manage to work in someones garden. When she dies he will be all alone. I can’t imagine it! I can’t even get my head around how this would be possible in our country, clearly it wouldn’t. But that will be his life. It will be the only life he will ever know without a sponsor. And I swear it sucks and makes me angry that this happens in this world of plenty. However the plenty is 1st world, here the plenty is just loads of cow shit everywhere. without sugar coating it politically SOMEONE SPONSOR THIS WONDERFUL BOY.
So I hope you enjoyed todays shenanigans from a remote village in Kenya. Here are some other photos from our home visits for sponsored kids, donations to the kids and of course the water tank going up.