A Day in Kenya

A personal journey into rural Kenya to help build schools.
By Maxine Vardy

Maxine’s most memorable day in Kenya

Visiting the old school was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. We drove for about thirty minutes, and we got to the school where kids went before Free The Children began working there. The first thing we did was just silently walk through the building. The walls were built of wood and it was put together with sticks and mud. There were written lessons that were still visible on the walls.

I was overwhelmed, but the hardest part was yet to come. When we turned the first corner and looked to the end of the hall we saw children – we could see them through the wall – and as I looked over, my eye caught one boy. He looked about thirteen or fourteen, and he smiled at me; just for a second and then he looked back toward his teacher and they got on with the lesson.
I looked back at the rest of my group and the same look was in all of their eyes and, almost in unison, we all started to cry. Then Adam walked through the door and introduced us to a man named Daniel. He was a former student of this school where he is now a teacher. He told us that up to forty kids would be taught in each tiny room; there were no chairs, or black boards, and bugs would crawl on them. When it rained the rooms would leak. He said it was hard to focus because you could always overhear the lessons in other classrooms, and that a lot of kids wouldn’t come to school because of the really awful conditions.

Then Adam said something that I think changed the perspective of everyone in the room. He said, “Look around you guys. This building was constructed by the mothers and fathers of the children from the last generation. They spent all the money, time and energy that they had to build this place. That is the importance of education to these people; they know how much it means. So don’t be sad. You may look around and all you can see is sadness, but there is something here that is worth so much more than thatLook around, this is what hope looks like. That’s why they built this for their children, and that’s why we are here.”

We all knew that we were a part of something that was generations in the making and in that moment we all knew exactly what we were doing half a world away in Kenya. We were just being a part of something that was so important to so many people.

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