Final thoughts from JoAnn:
How is it that our time in Kenya is already over? I anticipated this trip for months and couldn't begin to imagine all it might hold. My time in Kenya, with people that I'd never met, exceeded every expectation I might have held. From the moment I stepped foot in the place I had only dreamed of visiting someday, I felt welcomed and at home. I was warmly greeted by the adults and clamored all over by children whose gigantic smiles and big brown eyes were dwarfed by their gigantic hearts and appreciation for their opportunity to have a school to attend.
Oh how I loved spending time with Pahe and Fredrick as well as the throngs of other children! What a joy it was to expand the graduates' world by our time at the mall and see the wonder in their eyes as they rode elevators and escalators for the first time, walked through a toy store discussing how it would take several months of their family income to purchase various things that we find so commonplace and opening up a world of possibilities for jobs they could hold in the future. My appreciation for the multitude of blessings in my own life grew exponentially.
Prior to leaving for my trip, I quelled any anxiousness by reminding myself that God would see and care for me just as well in Kenya as He does in Waukesha. I saw Him at work in more ways than I can count over the past 11 days. He was present in private conversations and prayer, in our travels on crowded Kenyan roads, in time spent sorting through beans with other moms who are trying to care for their children as well as any other mamma and in laughter and fun with the children. As I pondered all I had seen and experienced, looking out of the window on the return flight, the world somehow felt bigger and yet smaller at the same time.
We really are all the same - no matter what end of the globe we call home. I would challenge all of us to take the little slice of life we are given and to make the most of the opportunity to make this world a better place, whatever that may look like for you. I already miss the faces of all those I met as well as the rest of our team. Though I left a chunk of my heart in Kenya, it was also filled to bursting in ways I never dreamed of. I pray that God will continue His amazing work at the schools your generosity supports and, God willing, I will return one day.