Like many of us, I have a few things on my bucket list. A top contender seemed a far-reaching possibility. However, I have learned that Global Gifts and Fair Trade can make surprising things happen.
In September of 2016, 6 of us with ties to Global Gifts had the opportunity to travel to Kenya and visit several locations there. We had an itinerary and knew that we would be working on a few service projects in different communities, enjoying a few inspiring days of safari on the Maasai Mara, boating on Lake Victoria, walking through the rain forest with a knowledgeable quide (Wilburforce), lodging in the home of Joy Adamson who raised funds to save African animals, and so much more.
Our group became fast friends, and at each evening meal we shared our positive and negative views of the day. Our lodgings were amazing and romantic; our meals were tasty and wonderful; our driver, companion, and guide (Peter) cared for us and provided unending information. We were pampered.
Each of us took loads of pictures of hippos and zebras and giraffes. We found Kenya to be a beautiful country with extraordinary views and history. There are endless stories I could share. Near the end of our trip, we talked about lasting impressions. I will try to explain some of mine and I know each member of our group shares these impressions.
It would be difficult to think of more generous, welcoming people than those we met who live in the most difficult of conditions. We were warmly welcomed by women living with HIV and AIDS who sang for us and danced with us and whose smiles were ever present. We held hands with orphaned children whose only meal is the warm lunch served at school and who are taken in by people in their villages. We helped build a mud house for Victor who cares for a disabled elder brother and whose classmates helped make sure he had a home. (Victor is on his way to university.) All along the way, these beautiful, intelligent people cooked meals for us and welcomed us without question. They gave us much more than we left with them.
I will remember Kenya because of the people we met and the small moments of their lives we shared, where we found neither prejudice nor judgement, just strength and love.