17 Dec Our Family Reunion: Stories & Successes
On November 4th, we had the pleasure of hosting our first ever family reunion for our older children. We shared meals, laughter, tears, stories, and successes as the day went on. After a challenging year with COVID-19 impacting many jobs and lives, we wanted to take the opportunity to gather our extended family, to see how they are doing and have some quality family time together.
Before The Day
The excitement was running high amongst all of the children and staff leading up to our reunion. Food was being prepared, rooms were being cleaned and gifts were being made for our extended family. Mercy, our budding baker, used her incredible baking skills that she learned while interning at a local bakery, to make a surprise cake for our reunion. We prepared two spaces; our dining area for us all to gather and enjoy food, and our outdoor tent where the older children could have the opportunity to enjoy each other and spend quality time with our staff.
On The Day
Our family reunion was in full swing. Our older children had all arrived, dressed so smartly, with smiles on their faces and stories to tell. It was truly a sight to behold; we had to step back and take a moment to appreciate how God has worked through us and our community of sponsors to help make a difference in our children’s lives. Some of our older children were reunited for the first time since being in the homes together; they had so much to catch up on. The younger children felt so inspired by the stories of the older children, while the older children loved to hear about what the younger ones had been up to.
The first to arrive at our reunion was Martin; smartly dressed and smiling from ear to ear. He was elated to be reunited with some of our staff that played a key role in his childhood.
Martin came to our Kikuyu home at the age of 5, after being abandoned in the slums of Nairobi. One day, Martin returned home after being out to play, to find that his family and belongings had disappeared.
When he joined our family, Martin struggled to adjust at first. His traumatic experience had left him unable to reconcile his experiences. As well as being incredibly intelligent, Martin had a rebellious and cheeky spark. He liked spending time alone with the animals at our home. This developed into a passion for farming and animals. In his free time, Martin could be found at the farm, feeding cows and goats, and enjoying time with the uncles working on the farm.
He had a drive for business and his entrepreneurial side meant that he spent a lot of time thinking of ideas on how to make money. His entrepreneurial nature meant that he decided not to go to college, and started his motorbike business instead, which is a common means of transport here in Kenya. Martin’s business had both highs and lows, and when he was at his lowest, our staff were fortunate enough to be able to help Martin get back on track. This was a major turning point in his life. He began taking his business seriously, increasing his savings and making plans for the future. He now owns 5 bikes and has recruited 5 riders, and his business is doing incredibly well.
We watched our once rebellious child stand in front of us as a 23-year-old man, who had accomplished so much. Martin was a different person and had made a huge transformation.
Shortly after Martin’s arrival, we had the pleasure of welcoming Linda, OT and OT’s daughter, who really stole the heart’s in the room with her sweet nature.
Linda & OT’s Story
Linda and OT are two siblings who came into our home after losing both of their parents when young. Now 24 and 26, Linda and OT remain very close as siblings and are both doing incredibly well.
OT arrived with his 6 year old daughter Dennise, who put a smile on everyone’s face, and he began to tell us about his family and career. Growing up, OT struggled with education, but he was always entrepreneurial. After OT left our home, he had several different jobs, and finally landed a job as an Uber driver, where he was eventually able to save enough to purchase his own car. His Uber business was dramatically impacted by COVID-19. Despite the past year of challenges, OT and his family remain positive, hard working and had lots of lovely stories to share.
OT’s sister, Linda, had exciting news to share with everyone: she had just landed her first nursing job 3 days prior to the reunion. We were ecstatic for her! Since she was young, Linda had a passion for caring for others and nursing. She graduated from nursing college in December 2018 and with the help of our connections, has succeeded in achieving a career in nursing. We’re excited to hear from OT and Linda about how they get on over the next few months!
The positive impact on both the transitioned children and the younger children was noticeable. Our younger children were full of questions and wanted to hear all of the stories our older children had to tell. We struggled to allow the day to come to an end, but when it did, we ended with a gift to each of our transitioned children of a basket. The basket consisted of household supplies & groceries, fresh vegetables from our farm, and financial gifts to help with their needs. They were delighted and ever so grateful. We couldn’t be more proud of how they all transitioned to life after the home.
Our Family Reunion Highlights
- Eating together as one big family
- Deep conversations, both with the transitioned children and amongst the children themselves
- Sharing love and compassion during the Pandemic season
Everyone came away from our reunion feeling inspired, motivated, and loved. We could truly feel the love between all of the aunts, uncles, and children, past and present.