Regina Mburu, CFCA communications liaison in Kenya, has written a beautiful reflection about a mission awareness trip to Kenya in late February. This was Reginaís third mission awareness trip since starting in the Nairobi communications center.
The recently concluded mission awareness trip to Kenya had 17 sponsors. I was honored to be a participant in the 12-day trip around the Nairobi and Kisumu projects.
During orientation day after staff introductions and information about the Nairobi project, sponsors met their sponsored friends.
Warm embraces and loving gazes were the highlight of these unions. At one point, I had to hold my tears back. The joy that the sponsors and their friends shared was overwhelming.
A park that features hundreds of exotic trees, the Nairobi Arboretum, filled the air with the scent of different species. This environment offered great ambience for the sponsors and their sponsored friends to bond.
The Nairobi project youth had organized a fun-filled day that everyone would enjoy. The arboretum was filled with sounds of laughter, and no one seemed to notice the clock ticking away.
To experience Kenya’s rural setting, the MAT team visited the Nakuru subproject. Wide smiles, open arms and songs welcomed the sponsors, and not even the scorching sun would dampen their dancing spirit.
The mothers had prepared authentic African food for the sponsors. I could sense a feeling of togetherness and a spirit of community among the women.
Sponsors and sponsored friends light candles at the beginning of the mission awareness trip.
I had a chance to interact with sponsored friends. A young man from Timau, despite his humble background, is soaring to great heights. He excelled in his education, and his sponsor is supporting his dream of becoming an engineer.
A mother who is part of a mothers group also stood out. She sells African regalia (beads, sandals, wall hangings and paintings, etc.) on the roadside.
From sales she is able to supplement what she gets from CFCA. She is taking a step toward economic empowerment, one of the principles of the Hope for a Family program.
At the Kisumu project, the heat did not stand in the way of the prepared cultural day filled with song and dance.
A band of sponsored and non-sponsored children welcomed the sponsors. Sponsored children performed poems, skits and verses. The sponsors each received an African necklace to remember the day.
I have visited the Kisumu project several times, but on the trip, I was reminded of the impact of the HIV epidemic. Most of the families are headed by a child or grandparents.
One particular situation that touched my heart is a home where the sponsored friend lives with her aging grandmother.
The grandmother was so happy to receive us into her home. When it was time to leave, she went into her room and came back with a bunch of bananas, insisting that we take it as a gift of appreciation.
As I looked into her eyes I could tell that she was fighting back tears. She was grateful for the CFCA sponsorship program, and the bananas were a way of saying, “Thank you.”
At the trip’s beginning the staff, sponsors and sponsored friends lit candles to signify the light given to the less fortunate in our society through the CFCA Hope for a Family sponsorship program.
This light is lighting their path toward a brighter future.
I have realized that “a candle loses none of its light by lighting another candle.” The CFCA program is a source of joy, hope and love.