Volunteers visiting Kenya IHF center often have lofty notions of what they’re going to and how can they bring benefits to the kids. While visitors can provide money, knowledge and insights of how to be progressive and successful, there is so much to learn from our Kenya children in the center. When handled well, the gain is mutual. A truly win-win situation car arise from this encounter.
In Nakuru center, you can see a small room shared by 15 or more children, with a communal toilet and baths stall. Yet there are no signs of embarrassment for the lack of space, resources, or comforts. This is not the result of ignorance of what a “home” could be, as one might assume. However, you find in this small room the sense of family, community, relationships, and the pure joy of being with one another.
Volunteers who visited the center often shared their life stories with the children, stories of love, setbacks, failures, mistakes, losses, and joys. I asked some of the children about what they heard. They all said they thought that the success for anyone coming from the U.S. or Europe was never a question and that they had no troubles. This mentality can potentially play into the dangers of taking charity for granted. After hearing our visitors’ stories, the students learned the human side of the volunteers and sponsors.
The children do not feel like they have visitors because the volunteers feel sorry for them. Instead, they feel a connection through love, an understanding of circumstances, and the willingness of both parties to contribute to each other.
Having volunteers visiting the center from all over the world is very important to the children. Through the communication with the volunteers, they would not view the world as divided between the haves and the have-nots, but as a world where people of all types and magnitudes of fortunes come together, learn from, and uplift each other. Hope one day, more people could join such meaningful exchanges in IHF.