There was a lot to take in on our annual trip to Kenya in September/October 2022. It was wonderful to see ALL the children really flourishing and happy. Hard to remember back to our first meeting just over three years ago. We had literally stumbled upon the children’s home and had intended to just drop off “leftover” children’s toys, candies and school supplies we had left from our long trip to several countries in Africa. At that time, we just dropped in unannounced. Our main “guide” was a shy young girl who we later learned would be the first student we’d sponsor in high school. Over the years, we have visited the children and of course are always happy to see that first sponsored child. But, she always has been a bit shy, often emotional and teary. To the point last year, I asked the home’s director if she had friends at school. I worried she was lonely.
Well, this year we were greeted by a much happier girl. But still the changes weren’t obvious in the excitement of our seeing everyone. The second day of our visit, our young girl – now soon to be a high school senior, stood up with two typed pages in hand. She began a thank you speech. She had written the speech without help from teachers or staff. Aside from the beautiful heartfelt words was the delivery! Calm, confident, she spoke slowly – eye contact and addressed each group as she talked to them. We were all spellbound. To watch the transformation of this young woman, knowing that she has a bright future and that we may have played a part in that process is something for which I will always be grateful! Here’s her speech:
“Mum Claudia, mum Shelina, dad Sean and dad Suleman, as well to all Cherish Narok’s Children. Siyiapei staff and my fellow brothers and sisters, Good Morning. It is with humbleness and gratitude of heart that I do stand before you this hour.
First of all, I would like to express great appreciation on behalf of all the children at Siyiapei Children’s Home for the help and interventions that came to us at the time of need. Our hearts are today full of appreciation for the love you came with and showed us. There is a say in Chinese: No appreciation is enough for great kindness. But here I still want to thank you for all your kindness, which has provided us with hope and courage to live a better life.
It was in the year 2019 when I was about to do my final primary exam. At this time many things began to come up and unkind imaginations. It was well in my mind since the previous children who were ahead of us could not proceed with their education life. The home had no option since the home had no support from any well-wishers. Our children’s home was on the verge of being closed and children taken back to the unknown community. A community that does not value the rights of the less fortunate. A community that once wanted to marry me off at a tender age. A community that never gave us opportunity to thrive to our future. Some of us were survivors of the cruel community. I couldn’t imagine this. I was at the point of giving up and this was in us all. My siblings here can testify to this.
It was such a disaster that I am too sad to speak about it In fact, if we had not received your help and love, most of us here if not all would have lost confidence to continue with life. Luckily with the help of the good parents we have here at the home, they gave us strength and advice that kept our faith alive to study, and study harder. I persisted to study hard and got excellent scores in the KCPE exam.
Cherish family allow me this morning to mention this. When Claudia and the team visited our children’s home, it was like a miracle and they gave us more hope to me. We never saw this coming. That memory is still clear in my mind. As usual we are happy to see wazungu visiting our place but this round these were God sent angels to rescue us and build our hope in the future. Cherish family the only reward we can reward you with is to study hard and never to disappoint you.
To all of you, kind people here, we were all unfortunate orphans here. But now how happy we are since we have so many kind people like you around. You give us so much love, and I cannot express my gratitude by any words. On behalf of all lucky children, I would like to say” Thank You”. Whenever we put our school uniforms, all we see is the cherish team.
To our parents (Staff), it was your efforts and tireless pieces of advice, words of encouragement, prayers and love that you gave us that kept us this far. We can’t pay you back but it is our humble prayers to God to remember you everyday and bless you. You have always stood by our side. We feel loved when we are around you. You are more than staff, you have become our parents whom we can run to and become comforted.
To my fellow siblings, we have surely seen God through cherish team. The hope that was lost has now been rejuvenated. The only gift we can give them is to work hard in our studies and pray for them every day.
Finally, I would like to share this verse with you before I sit down. Numbers 6:23-27
Cherish family, we can’t thank you enough. Our hearts are full of merry and when we continue speaking tears will begin to roll down our cheeks. May God bless you.”
And from Cherish Narok’s Children:
Dear Kenyan child, may God bless you. You continue to make us proud, please continue to inspire and encourage your siblings at the home. We are more than happy that our efforts and support have helped in your success. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for you and the other children. Sending all of you much love.