I didn't want to glance back, but I did. I knew he would be there. As always his little legs had carried him around the back of the house where he watched and waved until we were no longer in his view. This final image of J-Mo happily waving us off triggered a loud sob as I succumbed to the pain of saying goodbye. Only Boni and Joseph seemed to understand that we wouldn't be coming back as the others were simply captivated by my tears. Saying goodbye was every bit as painful as I imagined and as we made what would be our last trek home from their house, my mind was flooded with memories of our past 6 months together. Six months is an incredibly short time, but enough that I developed a sincere love for these children. When I think of Kenya it will be these 7 faces that first come to mind and the main reason why I will return.
While we always had a great time just playing at the house, it will be the trips with the kids that I remember most. These outings would not have been possible without the Starfish campaign and for that I thank you. You so generously donated to the children and while they were the recipients of the 'stuff', Mary and I were able to experience the joy of giving it to them. Because of our friends and family we were able to feel like Santa Claus on a daily basis. These are not kids who are used to receiving anything meaing EVERYTHING we brought them was exciting. Soon after meeting the children for the first time we brought them some bed sheets from the market. Not new sheets, not Disney printed sheets, just hospital green, used sheets and yet this was enough to trigger the 'happy dance' and even a phone call to Cecilia to tell her the good news.
These are children who after taking them to the animal orphanage in Nanyuki talked endlessly to their teachers about getting to eat meat at lunch and how it tasted to try juice for the first time. Your generosity allowed me to witness Joseph's first time on a swing and proudly watch as he discovered how to pump his legs. I was able to teach J-Mo to drink from a straw and will always remember his shocked expression as the liquid hit his lips. I was able to provide the girls with their first pair of pants and marvel at their excitement of having pockets. I laughed at Gabriel's amazed expression as he first discovered a hand dryer while the next hour was spent sticking our faces under it. I saw Sammy overcome his fear of water as he made his first jump into the swimming pool and stood proudly as he resurfaced from the water. I listened as Boni questioned my dad on Canadian culture and animals and was later amazed to hear him repeat these new facts to his friends.
Your donations have provided these 7 children with electricity, security, food, clothing and furniture with still plenty to spare. But best of all your donations have shown these 7 children that they are loved.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for not only changing the lives of these children, but changing mine as well.