“I went to Kenya on a bit of a whim. I’d done a lot of traveling before but I had never worked with a charity organization like Marafiki and I had no idea what to expect. I was at a point in my life where I felt like I was living somewhat recklessly and selfishly. I wasn’t embodying much patience or care and love or productivity – and I knew that being in a situation where people (especially children) required those things of me would bring back out the motivated and thoughtful person that was somewhere still inside me.
What I was not expecting was to fall so in love with those kids. Their intelligence and graciousness and passion blew me away. I had never seen children with such honest intentions and with such a thirst for anything new and different and challenging. They were more fearless than I could ever hope to be. My first day at St. Dorcas orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya, changed my life. As soon as I stepped out of the gates at the end of the school day I cried like a baby. Some of these children didn’t have parents, shared mattresses on dirt floors, and ate small amounts of potatoes and beans for every meal. One child was losing his eyesight because he was born HIV positive. Another wore the same tattered sweater for the entirety of my 3 months there. Yet instead of being resentful, angry, or disappointed, the only thing they exuded was a type of love I had never experienced before. Something that really stood out to me was how badly some of them wanted to learn. Their hands would shoot up at the opportunity to answer a piece of trivia or to volunteer to recite the alphabet. I still miss them today as if we said our last goodbye yesterday. Sometimes I feel like I have more memories from my 3 months in Kenya than from 3 years in college.”