Long Term Volunteer's "Report from Kenya"
Jambo! These last few weeks in Kenya have been incredible! Not only have I traveled to Buckner’s western Kenya locations but I have also been on safari and to the beach in Mombasa along the coast of the Indian Ocean.
Around mid-May, a team that works at Buckner International headquarters and handles international programs came to Kenya for an operational review. Having not had the opportunity to travel the 7 hours by road to Kitale, Busia and Bungoma in western Kenya before, the team asked me to join them so that I would understand the organization I am volunteering for even better.
It was amazing to see just how hard Buckner works to set up facilities that transform communities in the most rural of areas. All of these locations were in the middle of nowhere, down very rough roads and deep in the countryside. These families have to be so independent in their ways of survival as they have to walk far to fetch water, plant and harvest their own food, and find other ways to cover their basic necessities in life.
At every location we visited, all of the staff seemed devoted to the mission and vision of Buckner. Most considered themselves second parents to the children and the teachers sought ways to make school exciting and fun to look forward to everyday. Many of the schools reported scores amongst the highest in the region.
The teachers showed us the different resources and techniques that they used to make learning enjoyable such as using dried corncobs for building and counting lessons and having students do a celebratory dance when they correctly solved a math problem on the board in front of the class. The kids are bright and very respectful. They stand every time a teacher walks into their room, are very polite, and are eager to learn as they realize that education in this country is considered a privilege by many rural families instead of a right.
At the locations that have clinics, the medical staff see over 1,000 patients a year and are very good at their practice. In the areas that they serve, ailments and hospital visits have drastically declined and things such as family planning, HIV/AIDS awareness and anti-malaria and other common disease prevention awareness have improved the community health and well-being.
And the kids are so cute and sweet! Every place we went, they would all rush up to our vehicle and want nothing more than to hold our hands, hang on us, play with our hair and run around to kick a ball with us on their team. I’m so glad that God has granted me this opportunity to see the incredible work that Buckner is doing in these children’s lives and how he works to strengthen and empower families to rise out of poverty and lead happy, healthy and sustainable lifestyles. God is so good!
The two other trips I took, one to the Masai Mara of Kenya for safari, and one to the north coast of Mombasa to the beach, were awesome in a different way. It is amazing to see what God is doing through people and organizations, but it is also really amazing to see how God has created this land without the intervention of people. All of this beauty, from the hearts and work of people to serve others, to the nature and animals that are on this earth, can only be explained by God’s love.
Kimberly is a long-term volunteer serving for a semester with Buckner in Nairobi, Kenya. She is from San Antonio, Texas.