We recently received this letter from Sammy – Samuel Kiragu Ndungu – one of the first recipients of an Our Kenyan Kids’ scholarship, one time Nairobi Children’s Rescue Centre worker and all around wonderful human being. Read on to hear how lives are changed by Our Kenyan Kids, in more ways than one.
It is a bit funny, (not haha funny though) that I have decided to sit and write this article now. Let me explain. Firstly, this has taken me an unbelievably long time to write. For some reason, I just couldn’t find the words. As I sit down to write, my very own 5 month old princess, Mirriam Bahati, is sleeping soundly, her brother is playing his Energizer bunny-like energy at his Kindergarten, and mum is in her office securing everybody’s future. In a little while I will get down to some film-cutting homework I haven’t finished yet. The first snow is falling which makes me both extremely sad and happy at the same time. I can’t explain that either.
Listening to all this, my life sounds very smooth and in a way it is. However, for some time now my head has been working 24.7.365 – which, on one side is a good thing for human development, but on the other, tiring. Questions race in my mind about the choices I have made as an adult, about who I should blame for a few occurrences I humanly deem unfair – like my parents not seeing their granddaughter, or my first beard, or how far I have come or whether leaving my life and moving to Germany was a smart move, … or if I had just sacrificed my queen….or….
Just like everybody else, my life has had its ups and downs. Recently, everything has become a bit trickier and I find myself having to make more complicated and at times difficult decisions, most of which I am encountering for the first time. I feel helpless and weak and almost about to give up and sometimes I cant stop tears streaming down my face. This is the state I am in as I write this.
In the middle of all the pain and helplessness, I look back to see where I have come from. Its quite far and I know I may not be there yet, but I am on my way and I couldn’t have done it without help. That is where Doug Warren comes in. The man who took me under his wing when my dad passed away.He makes me (along with disciplinary measures as a dad) believe anything is possible. One of the greatest gifts I got from him, though, was the Our Kenyan Kids family, including some members of Wall Street United Church – the people whose love has been felt and is still felt by my family from thousands of miles away. The Project Exposure Team meetings when I was in Kenya, the dinners with partners, fun talks, among lots of other fun things. Top of the list was the dedication they had in what they were doing.
At first I didn’t understand people flying thousands of miles to help other people in need. By working at the Nairobi Children´s home, and being the only male working in direct contact with the kids, my place in the spotlight made me almost ignorant as to why these ´rich folks´ were there. In my head, they were just lucky people with overflowing cups who were nice, which even though completely undigestible to my Kenyan-conditioned mind, I fell deeply in love with.One of the outcomes however is that since I met them, I can hardly be called to judge a fight between a Canadian and almost anybody else. I am biased.
Over the years, I saw God´s work through Our Kenyan Kids’ members and friends.I remember one that has, up to now, still proven God’s power.At one time I was working with a wonderful HIV single mother of four (We will call her Joan) in a supplements program. The supplement, Selenium was supplied through OKKIDS to HIV positive mothers and children from the then chairman’s brother, Dr Don Warren. One day Joan asked if I can see her friend who had been discharged from a Nairobi hospital to ‘die at home’, as the doctors said when they gave her 6weeks to live. When I met her, she had almost no energy to open her eyes. After a short visit, I left her some food and a bottle of supplements and I remember getting a call 3 weeks later from ´Joan´ telling me that her friend had just walked about 10kms after visiting the doctor who gave her more weeks to live. I know you smiled at the end of the story. However, an wider smile will most probably come when you know that these two women are still alive by the grace of God today. Joan finally moved out of the slums of Nairobi and settled back in her home village.
It’s these kinds of happenings that I saw that gives me hope today that no matter how low life’s graph point drops, there is hope because we all are indeed equal in God’s eyes. Whenever my family had a chance, we would sing our family anthem, (God will make a way), and God really did make a way for us. He gave us an extended family to walk with us and be our supporting beams – and not only for us but for ń. Nairobi Children´s Rescue Centre, Hope House Babies home, Kawangware tailoring project, the boys at Thika Rehabilitation Centre, where one (Bernard) who joined the organization as a kid is now about to complete his High School education – and many, many more.
That is how I see Our Kenyan Kids – as part of my family. A family welcomes you with open arms when you join them.They watch you crawl,walk and later run. They clap for you when you are walking tall and pick you up and hold your hand when you stagger or fall. They forgive your mistakes and hope you learn through them. They are patient and always there. You feel stronger because you know you are not alone. You know they are watching over you every step of the way. In them you see all the security features you need to go through life.You feel satisfied, blessed and hopeful that even though the journey from today on the way to a better day tomorrow is not easy, as you are walking through life´s dangerous fields you are surrounded by a bubble of people who love and care for you.
This is what Our Kenyan Kids means to me. My name is Samuel Kiragu Ndungu, proud husband and father of two and one of the first alumni, former employee, and a grateful benefactor of Our Almighty´s goody bag through Our Kenyan Kids. I have seen the Lord work for others through the family of which I am and always will be proud to be a part of. To God be the Glory.