Preparing myself for my trip to Kenya (2013) was much different then one of those nice "all inclusive" trips people take down south. I was very nervous and excited and I thought I knew what to expect but when I got there I was definitely struck with some culture shock.
I'm so lucky to have experienced this trip more so because it wasn't just me there. The crew of Maples Collegiate were there too. The best!! Getting to witness the graduating crew, teachers, and some amazing parents see all that this trip had to offer us was unbelievable.
Some of it was happy but some of it was hard to see and accept. Looking back on it now...accommodations and travel were so good and safe but it was one of my biggest worries prior to the trip. There was a lot of travelling every day from morning until night which made me feel like I had seen it all but in reality; I only got a small taste of Kenya.
An organization like KIDS is so rare and far and few in between, but truly gifted with a natural ability to attach itself like a vine to all that is good. The right connections, the right people, big hearts make KIDS thrive. I'm so thankful that KIDS have someone like Irene in Kenya. She runs VICDA (KIDS partnering organization) making sure nobody takes advantage of donor dollars, getting the best prices on all purchases, and coordinating travel and sleeping arrangements. Irene is a powerhouse of a woman much like Cat Ross (KIDS Founder).
One of the camps we visited was Manjani Mingi which is near two IDP camps (GIWA Farm and Lemolo) that KIDS currently supports. The people and children there were so happy to see us like all the other places we visited but this one stood out to me. There was a little boy that came up to me with his milk carton with toothpicks attached to beer caps as wheels (his toy car). He showed me his home, consisting of a tarp as a roof and two pots for cooking and that was it. It was hard to see that he was sleeping in the dirt, all the insects crawling on the ground of his home and bed. But this child was so happy to see us. I tried to keep myself together until we drove away from his reality, which was my breaking point. I was so hurt to see that and have to learn how to accept that. Coming back home to Winnipeg, sitting down on my couch in my house, I turned on my TV....I was angry with myself. I didn't need any of this stuff with these visions of all those innocent little children with so little. I had pain in my heart and it was hard to adapt back to my ordinary life, but Cat Ross (KIDS Founder) and her amazing team gave me an opportunity to change this world with them and I am grateful.
I love you KIDS.