My Trip Home to the USA

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First let me say, sorry for the wait. It has been a while since I wrote the last blog post. But let me assure you, that does NOT mean monumental accomplishments have not taken place here in Kenya. I returned home to Connecticut for about a month to work with the Arrive board members to construct a strategic plan moving forward. Now, back in Kenya, I couldn't be happier.

With the arrival of the new Arrive website, which you have clearly seen if you are reading this, comes the return of weekly posts. For this post, I will simply list all that has been accomplished in the past few months:

  • All of the Arrive children except 1 have passed their year-end exams and will be moving onto the next class! This is remarkable considering just five months ago, many of these same children could not read or write. Their improvements are inspiring.

  • Emmanuel Lights Academy, the school that Arrive supports, now has a sister school: Scotts Ridge Middle School in Ridgefield, CT. We could not be more excited about this new and long-lasting partnership. We have also started a pen-pal program with students from Scotts Ridge Middle School in Connecticut, and Emmanuel Lights Academy in rural Kenya. This program will be equally beneficial to both groups of students, and all of the students are ecstatic to meet new friends from across the world.

  • Arrive has received 30 soccer uniforms, complete with jerseys, shorts, socks, cleats, and balls from Jerseys from Jersey, a New Jersey based non-profit that supplies soccer gear to impoverished children and orphanages around the world. Pick up games have gotten much more frequent (and intense). Photo Below

  • There are now children from EIGHT of Kenya’s 42 tribes living happily and peacefully together at the Keumbu Rehema Childrens Home: Abagusii, Luo, Kalengin, Luyha, Maasai, Girirama, Kuria, and Kikuyu.

  • Check out this article in the newspaper about Arrive. I also went on the Hugh Hewitt radio show to talk about Arrive. The information is here and the actual audio of the interview is available upon request (just email ArriveInKenya.org)

  • All of the boys have built a small dam in the river to build their very own swimming pool. Now, showering has gone from a chore to their favorite part (or partS) of the day.

  • For Halloween, we made a jack-o-lantern! It was a challenge to explain to the kids why American children dress up as scary things, walk around from house to house, and are given piles of candy. Our jack-o-lantern was fun to make, but didn’t last long as it was made from watermelon and pineapple; delicious! Photo below.

  • We are increasing out sustainability by buying more chickens, cows, goats, and rabbits, as well as increasing our farmland to grow more of our own food. Chickens will produce eggs, goats and cows will produce milk, and rabbits will produce protein.

  • One of my favorite moments was using the telescope that was donated to Arrive. The kids had never seen the moon or stars or planets up close. Because I had taken four astronomy courses at the University of Colorado, I was able to teach them about space. We live in an area with no light pollution, and the kids minds were blown as they saw the craters on the moon, the shining red of Mars, and the distant starts. The questions they asked ranged from “Can you see God with the telescope?” to “Where are the houses on the moon?” Now, every night the kids beg to use the telescope. Photo below

  • Our biggest achievement? Every orphan and former street child is happy, studying, working, and building their future. They are improving everyday, and the extreme contrast between their life now and their life only six months ago cannot be denied. They have gone from drug addicted, homeless, abandoned, fighting, stealing, hopeless children to happy, contributing members of a society that once had forgotten them.

As things continue here in Kenya, I would like to remind you that YOU have the power to change these kids’ lives. Seriously. A little bit of time, a little bit of money goes a longggg way in rural Kenya. As for me, I have been great. A trip back to America from 10 Nov to 10 Dec provided an opportunity to speak with many people and groups (schools, USA Congressman Jim Himes, the Rotary Club, and more) about our life-changing work in Kenya. As we grow and grow, I invite you to hop on the train and become involved. Now back in Kenya, I could not be more proud of the kids we have rescued and the people all over the world that have helped make this all possible. To everyone: thank you from the bottom of my heart.

All of the kids excited about their new soccer gear, donated from Jerseys from Jersey.

All of the kids excited about their new soccer gear, donated from Jerseys from Jersey.

Bifon and Claire sitting next to their very first Jack-o-lantern. Two lessons learned; 1) a Jack-o-lantern made from watermelon and pineapple doesn't live long as it is too delicious to eat; 2) no matter where you are in the world, kids love candy.

Bifon and Claire sitting next to their very first Jack-o-lantern. Two lessons learned; 1) a Jack-o-lantern made from watermelon and pineapple doesn't live long as it is too delicious to eat; 2) no matter where you are in the world, kids love candy.

Arrive children eager to get their first glance at the moon, a few planets, and many stars through a donated telescope.

Arrive children eager to get their first glance at the moon, a few planets, and many stars through a donated telescope.