My name is Wambui Kimani, and I am the Country Director for Flying Kites in Kenya. In short, I have one of the most rewarding (and demanding) jobs going! As I reflect on the past few weeks, I wanted to reach out to you - our friends and donors - to express my deep gratitude for the dreams you made come true over this past holiday season.
One of the most challenging parts of my job is related to admitting new children to Flying Kites. Most of the children we come into contact with have experienced trauma. Oftentimes, students are brought to us by social services or by the police after they have experienced the death of a care-giver. Sometimes, they have been rescued from a violent situation, involving abuse, neglect or rape, just a few hours prior to our meeting. Other times, I work with children who have been homeless and alone for some time; their mistrust and pain seemingly insurmountable.
Yet, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding parts of my job is when I see children who are able to reclaim their childhood. These same children. Older siblings who are finally able to stop worrying about their younger sibling's safety; toddlers who begin to suspect that food will arrive at every meal.
Healing never happens overnight, but it happens every day.
Christmas this year was my most memorable yet. I woke up to squeals of delight as the children realised their socks had transformed into stockings. I watched them participate in our Secret Santa and see firsthand why giving can be even better than getting! We drank hot chocolate, we put on our new pajamas, we shared books, ate pancakes and celebrated our gratitude for each other, and for our friends around the world. We visited families in need and we shared meals and laughter with our community.
I know that all of this magic was due to your generosity. All in all, we had 40 sets of pajamas, 20 dresses, 20 suits, 47 stuffed stockings, 2 sheep, 3 goats, 9 chickens, 2 cows, one motorcycle and endless cards, crafts and gifts. You bought us peanut butter, medicine, shoes, even a field trip; you sent us care packages from Sydney, Abu Dhabi, Boston and London. We met and exceeded our Match Challenge.
I have included some photographs, below. Be sure to find us on Facebook to see the rest of the album.
Thank you, thank you, thank you -- or as we say in Kenya - asante, asante, asante.
In deep admiration,