First and foremost, I would like to apologize to everyone out there who has tried to contact me and has not received a response. Uriri, my current residence, receives internet access from about 11:30pm - 4:30am. At risk of turning nocturnal, I am trying my hardest to respond to each and everyone of you; my sincerest apologies if you haven't heard back and please know that you will soon! As you know, your continued support is so greatly appreciated. Now, to the important things - updates from this side of the globe! I am ecstatic to report that all of the kids in both Keumbu and Uriri and happy and settled. Arrive is moving through this transition period with momentum, and to keep it, we need your help! Spread the word,or even fundraise yourself (every cent helps - seriously, in rural Kenya, a cent goes a long way) for the building of the new children's dorm/home in Uriri! Or, sponsor one of our many children still in dire need of someone to help empower them. "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable...every step toward the goal of justice requires human sarifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals." - Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, and everyday, you are part of the progress...or you're not. It's your decision.Contact Us for more information on how to make a difference TODAY!
A quick update from our last blog post - Duke, Brian Kichwa, and Daniel Mrefu are all excelling in driving school. They have graduated from classroom-learning to actual behind-the-wheel training! Soon, Arrive will proudly say that three former street children have graduated and will be driving clients on the same streets which, not long ago, they themselves hopelessly lived on. As three of the first 15 original street boys Arrive rescued, I could not be more proud of their dedication to seeing every challenge as an opportunity, instead of vice versa.
While all is well here, the kids and I experienced a bittersweet moment - saying good-bye to David "Obizo." Obizo was one of the first 15 street children Arrive rescued all the way back in 2013 and has lived with us ever since. Before that, he was a street boy for 9 (NINE!) years. Take a moment and think about that, considering he is all of 15 years old. For me, having been born privileged, to a loving family, in a safe part of the world, it is incomprehensible to understand the pain and loneliness Obizo suffered. When he was five years old, he was homeless; by seven years old he was an alcoholic, and when he was twelve years old, he found Arrive.
With our help, Obizo was able to overcome his alcohol addiction and desire of sniffing toxic glue. While he was never a top-performing student in his classes, he diligence and hard work in school showed through his improvement in the past 2.5 years. And when Arrive expanded just recently, we mutually discussed the best path forward for Obizo.
Obizo wanted to continue studying, but did not even know if his mother was alive. He missed her, and his younger brother who he had not seen in over ten years. Together, Obizo and I traveled back to his home village to locate the whereabouts of his remaining family and he was happily reunited with his mother and brotherS (he learned he has more than one)! Jointly, we discussed why Obizo was forced to the streets. Having solved the root of the problem, I felt comfortable allowing Obizo to follow his heart and stay at his home (knowing as well that I will routinely check on his wellbeing there). Obizo represents the ultimate success - a child who suffered for so long reuniting with his/her family, the people who he/she loves most, ready succeed, together.
But first, Obizo and I traveled back to Uriri to gather his belongings. Having lived, grown, transformed, succeeded, and become a part of the Arrive family over the past 2.5 years, the bonds he formed with the other children were those of brother and sisterhood. Wile obviously hard for the everyone to say good-bye, it was reassuring to know it is only good-bye for now, and that we will all meet again. Obizo is now back with his mother and brothers, in school, and living out his destiny. But the other boys couldn't just let him return! Before his trip back, they used Sharpies brought by Arrive volunteer Stephanie to transform Obizo's face into, well, I don't know! While the other boys thought it hilarious, I am sure David was thoroughly embarrassed the entire matatu ride back to his village.
Below are just a few photos from the past week here in Uriri. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!