A Mission Worth a Thousand Words

Abby Madden, Staff Reporter

  I recently had the privilege of going on a mission trip to multiple cities in Kenya. The cities included Mombasa, Nairobi, EmPacatoni, and down in the Tana River region.  The team who I was with included eleven people, the oldest being 87 and the youngest, which was me, 17. On this mission trip our goal was to visit schools and teach little children about the Bible and bring them hope for their futures. We were teaching children between the ages of three and seven. At these schools the children are put in a room with one another together. These rooms are very small, some not even the size of an average living room. The floors are dirt and the walls are made out of mud, cow poop, and sticks to hold the structure up. In some government-owned schools, or in richer communities, the rooms are made of cement the village people mixed themselves. The walls do have chalkboards made out of sand and water, which the villagers make themselves. Some schools have posters but the posters are ripped up by the wind because their windows are holes in the wall, the windows bring in lots of wind to make the school cooler in the hot weather months. Many of these schools are out in the bush (country). Out there the schools are very hard to get to, but very worth seeing the excited faces of the children and adults. In Kenya the school schedules are very different from ours. The children go to school for three months and then have one month off. They use this schedule year round. In these schools the children are learning their ABC’s and their numbers in English, which is Kenya’s second language, and Swahili, their first language. The children are very smart and very creative for their age and also for the environment that they are in. When the team and I showed up, the children read poems aloud to us and sang to us to show us what they have learned. These schools, like ours, provide lunch for the students. For most of these children this lunch that is served is their only meal for the day. For their lunch, they are served beans and rice in a big bowl that is shared between two children or they are served porage. The food is from a program that provides the food called Basket of Hope. Basket of Hope is the organization I participated in for the mission trip. Basket of Hope is a nonprofit organization that helps early development learning for children and provides them with food and school supplies to preschools. Basket of Hope also has a location in Kenya to keep very close contact with the schools they provide help to. Through this trip I have learned what the reality is like for these children and what they have to go through to earn an education. I have learned that these children do not get what American children get. These children do not have the necessities we have right at our fingertips nor do they have the tools to learn the way we do.   This trip has also taught me to be grateful for what I have and to be thankful for living where I live.