Before I began my trip, I had never imagined it would be one of the most enriching and unforgettable experiences of my life. Neither that I would receive such huge amounts of love from all of you, now my family.
I grew up with a deep feeling about how we spend so much time trying to satisfy our lives with what we receive that we don’t realize that it will only be complete and make sense with what we give, contributing to improve lives of the ones who don’t have and don’t demand anything.
I arrived to Mombasa, Kenya on February 25th, with no previous international volunteer experience. I arrived full of motivation, strength and illusion, nonetheless I felt disoriented, vulnerable, unprotected, scared and with no clue for what I was about to encounter.
To be honest, its not easy leaving our comfort zone. Comfortable, easy, safe, and full of commodities, to live a few days like they do, with nothing. Lost in a part of the world that we even forget it exists. Excessive heat, lack of hygiene and clean water, insects, poverty… two complete different worlds, separated by just a couple of hours on plane. Was I going to be able to survive this adventure? Or was I making a mistake?
The first day I barely slept. Constant images of my first impressions of this country came on my mind. I arrived at night, a dark night with no lighting on the dirt road where the worn-out taxi took me from the airport to the orphanage. In my room alone, listening to all the noises that I couldn’t yet identify. I tried not to forget the initial reasons that brought me here. I thought about my bed, my clean sheets, and the comfortable silence of my room back home. That night I met them, they all cried and at that moment I didn’t know why.
At dawn, Josephine entered my room to wake me up, smiling. Smiling, the same way she did for the rest of the two weeks I was living with them. That smile, wouldn’t let me even guess the pain, that she later explained, that came from intensive stomach pains due to malnutrition. Josephine, my Kenyan mother, I will never stop thanking her for all the caring she gave me. That morning she brought me in a small wooden plate my first African meal, a cup of milk tea and fruit.
Josephine was my first fresh breath of air, the first clue that showed me I was in the right place, that I hadn’t mistaken… but my heart, was stolen by them. Gifft, with his energy and hyperactivity. Eight years old, the oldest of them all, always worried for the rest, taking care of them with affection like perhaps no one ever did for him. Ian, rebellious, strong headed, impulsive, ingenious. Boni, tender, warm hearted, restless, curious. Brenda, and her overcoming capacity and her unbreakable strength. Juma, bold, fearless, certain, always upfront. Mark, shy, affectionate, always seeking others touch. Arnold, Edlyn, Tumaini, King, Kayla, Victoria, Israel…
My experience lasted fifteen days, intense, long and sometimes hard, but always inspirational; they shared with me more than what they had. Each and every one of them gave me more than what I could ever give them.
I will never forget their smiles, their lean hands searching for mine, their kisses and caresses. I will never forget their desire to live, their illusion with which they went to school every morning, impeccably well uniformed with their small backpacks full of hope.
I left Mombasa, Kenya on March 15, after saying goodbye to all of you, but I know I have not left yet. Every morning I see you, opening your eyes and arms so I would pull you out of your cribs. And every night I put you to bed again, waiting in silence till you fall asleep. I haven’t forgotten you, and I know I never will.
Peter and Selpher began this project years ago. They are whom that with their courage and endeavor have made it possible that these kids, my kids, have a chance in life that otherwise could not have happened. None of this would’ve been possible without their generosity and their unconditional devotion.
Through this website id like to let you know and collaborate with Peter and Selpher so that this small project, created in a humble corner of Mombasa, can grow and become big. I hope It can help change your world, the same way that they helped me change mine.