You Are Very Welcome

by Virginia Sowers
ChildFund Community Manager

As I travel the back roads of Kenya this week with the ChildFund Study Tour visiting projects outside Nairobi, I have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.

At each stop, entire communities have turned out for us—cheering, singing, dancing, drumming and grasping our hands tightly. “You are very, very welcome,” they say again and again.

Although these children and their families are living in some of the poorest areas of Kenya, their hospitality is unmatched as they greet the 29 ChildFund sponsors and four staff members, including Anne Lynam Goddard, president and CEO.

ChildFund Kenya’s national office and area staff have taken much time and gone to great effort to immerse us in the communities and for us to see a rich variety of programs.

As we travel to early childhood centers and community centers, children and youth confidently tell us firsthand how ChildFund is impacting their lives.

We’ve had magical moments all week—shy smiles and exuberant laughter from tiny children in red-and-white gingham school uniforms; lively songs, poems and skits that demonstrate commitment to children’s rights; and heartfelt stories from those coping with HIV/AIDS.

One of my “wow” moments was planting a tree seedling at the Wamunyu ChildFund project office grounds. When we entered the compound, it was amazing to see little placards with each of our names marking pre-dug holes for our trees to be sunk into Kenyan soil.

A youth representative of the Wamunyu Self-Help Group explained that proceeds from the tree nursery have helped fund the group’s efforts to address unemployment issues among youth while helping protect the environment. With ChildFund’s help, the group is promoting youth education and vocational training while participating in community improvements.

As I washed the red dirt from beneath my fingernails and surveyed our group’s work planting nearly 40 trees, I felt so very welcome.

3 responses to “You Are Very Welcome

  1. Isaac Kariuki

    Your study tour of Kenya has greatly left a sense of hope to the sponsored children, families and the communities around.

    It is noble for sponsors to visit and interact with the children they assist and for the children to meet their mentors and good friends.

    Here in Kenya we have no words to express our heartfelt feelings to ChildFund for their wonderful commitment towards needy children affairs.

    God bless ChildFund and all sponsors.

  2. Great blog post! Enjoy the rest of your trip. I look forward to your future posts.

  3. Being able to see ChildFund’s work firsthand brings to life how important the efforts of our staff working in communities, like those you have described here, really is for children and families.
    It shows that our mission to help deprived, excluded and vulnerable children become change agents in the communities where they live is truly valid. Enjoy the rest of your trip!