By Regina Mburu, CFCA communications liaison in Nairobi
Each mission awareness trip stands out from the rest. The recently concluded trip was no exception.
The 12-day trip around CFCA projects in Kenya and Uganda started on a high note with 18 trip participants in good spirits and excitement as they touched ground in Africa.
The orientation day set the pace for the six days that the sponsors would be in Kenya. Here they met and interacted with staff members and learned more about the Nairobi project.
A visit to the Nairobi coordinating office and the Kangemi outreach program gave them a chance to see how CFCA works.
It was exciting to see their eyes light up as they experienced a deeper understanding of the program.
A day was set aside for sponsors to have fun with their sponsored friends at one of Nairobiís parks, well known for its serenity.
Everyone participated in the games, and the sponsors had an opportunity to teach us a new dance game called the ìHokey Pokey.î Everyone joined in and echoes of laughter filled the air.
The shade of the leafy green trees, the gentle breeze blowing softly, the birds whistling, even nature seemed to be enjoying this day filled with so much joy and love.
As I looked around, I could see a sparkle in the sponsored friendsí eyes as they unwrapped the gifts given to them by the sponsors and shared ìthank-youî hugs.
It was evident that the bond they all share is deep and goes beyond the many miles between them. In my eyes, they are a family.
A big, beautiful family
During the cultural day, the sponsors were adorned with beautiful fabric to initiate them into our African culture.
It was a colorful day with traditional tunes. Everybody put their best foot forward.
The cutting of the cake marked the end of a beautiful day. With every bite we were reminded of the beautiful, big family that CFCA is.
In Kenya, my highlight was during one of the reflections.
Former sponsored friends joined us and gave testimonies of their lives and how CFCA has impacted them.
I have had the honor of interacting with many sponsored friends, but their stories are always different. They always leave a lasting impact on my heart.
Jacinta, a young lady working with CFCA who has been a beneficiary for seven years, narrated her story to us. Everyone in the room was moved to tears.
ìI donít know what would have become of my life,î she said. ìI would not have come this far had my sponsor, my second mother, not believed in me. I had lost all hope in life.”
These words reminded me of CFCA, not as a sponsorship program but as a family, always there to lend a helping hand in times of need; a family that believes in you when you hardly have faith in yourself.
After six days in Nairobi, we headed to Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.
From zero to hero
I was overwhelmed with the warm reception we received everywhere we went. The happy faces, songs and dance made me feel at home.
Meeting with CFCA sponsored friends and talking to them was an enlightening experience. Looking at those I met and seeing their joy filled my heart with so much gladness.
I remember one young man saying, ìI have been transformed from zero to hero.î
One experience that will forever remain with me is when one sponsor, Kathy, met with her sponsored child, Proscovia.
The moment we walked into the home, the family was waiting for us with open arms.
Proscoviaís mother broke down in tears, and as she knelt at Kathyís feet, she constantly thanked her for everything she had done for her daughter and the family.
I tried to hold back my tears, but not for long. In the two years that I have been part of the CFCA family, I have never witnessed such a moving encounter.
Kathy was speechless. It was all very overwhelming.
She later told me, ìRegina, I dreamt of this day, but I never expected this. I am very humbled.î
Proscovia was excited to meet Kathy. She held on tightly to her hand and showed her around her home.
As they walked together hand in hand, Bobís words came into my mind: ìBy walking with them, we are saying you are not alone.î
Indeed, Proscovia and the rest of our sponsored friends are not alone. As the trip ended, I had a new understanding of the CFCA Hope for a Family program.
The spirit of love in the CFCA family during this trip will remain in my heart for years to come.