While in Kenya, each day was set up to be impactful for both the students and for those of us who traveled this year. This happened in a variety of ways: meeting and listening to the stories of a Travellers’ Oasis Centre graduate and her sister, providing students with new track suits (thanks to support from an internal fundraising effort called the Coin Wars), classroom visits that displayed an amazing willingness to learn from the students, craft and game times, and seeing the results of previous groups’ construction efforts in person.
Two of the most impactful events for me were on the same morning. The first was a visit to a farm that has been working with Mission Grow. It was obvious on the walk there which plots have taken advantage of the practices taught by the Village-Based Advisors (VBAs). The corn fields with knee-high plants scattered throughout their plot contrasted with fields planted in neat rows, with stalks so high I couldn’t reach the tassels, and very healthy ears of corn.
In the past, the farmers would barely have enough produce to feed their family on rations. Now they can easily feed their families and are able to take surplus maize, chickens and other goods to market for a profit. That profit enables them to send their children to school, which in turn gives them the opportunity for a much better life. A few simple farming practices are improving the quality of life for the next generation of families on these farms!
Later that morning, I was part of a small group that went on a home visit with one of the students from Kakuswi Special School for the Deaf. His grandmother and aunt greeted him warmly, with smiles and hugs. We learned that the family dynamic is a tough one; the grandmother is the leader at home since the boy’s father passed away; his mother left town; and his alcoholic uncle left his aunt, who lives in a building right next door. The grandmother sent us off with some prayer requests for her family. First, that the boy would continue to do well in school, come back to the farm, and be able to support the family as she gets older. Secondly, she prays that her son will come back home to his wife (the boy’s aunt) and become a better man. She was grateful to us for visiting and enjoyed getting a few pictures before we left.
The home visit was another great example of the opportunity that an education provides. This boy’s chance to attend school is important to the future of his family, and all that Seeds of Change is doing to support that opportunity means the world to his grandmother.