As you all know, I traveled halfway across the world to Kenya, Africa! You all made that possible and I can’t explain how grateful I am to have had this opportunity. I just wanted to share a few experiences with you, through words and pictures!

I flew from Atlanta to Frankfurt, Germany (an 8 hour flight) and then I flew from Frankfurt to Nairobi, Kenya (a 9 hour flight). We landed late so we spent the night in a hotel by the airport. The next morning we drove the 3 hours it took to get to the community of Ndibai.

Before I share this first experience, I’ve got to give you a little bit of a back story. I started sponsoring a 12 year old girl (Jane) who lives in Kenya, a couple of months before I went on the trip. My trip leaders told me that they would try to arrange a meeting between us, but there was no guarantee. That first morning, as we got off the bus a stampede of children from the elementary school ran up to welcome us and walk with us to the opening ceremony. As we started to walk one little girl came up to me, didn’t say a word but grabbed onto my arm with both hands. She was shy, but I asked her name and she muttered Jane. I thought to myself it couldn’t be, this could not be my Jane, could it? I asked her “Jane what?” and she said, “Jane Wanja”. This was her. The first child I came into contact with in Kenya was my sponsor child, and she came up to me. Keep in mind she had no idea what her sponsors’ name was or what she looked like. Wow. That’s all I could say or feel in that moment. That showed me that I was right where God wanted me, in the right place, at the right time.

We walked about a mile along a dirt road to the elementary school where there were maybe 200 children and 50 or so parents as well as the Leadership Council of the community. We all danced and sung together and then we sat as the children performed dances and songs for us. The teachers and LC then spoke to us, thanked us, their “brothers and sisters from America” for coming all this way. It was beautiful.

The next day we went to church and I saw Jane there again. She handed me this beautiful Kenyan wildflower. When we sat down in the church (constructed of mud and sticks) she placed another of the same type of flower in my hair. From this point forward, I started referring to this flower only as “Jane’s flower”. She got up and did a skit representing a story from the bible with her Sunday School mates. All of the music during their service is performed by the children on homemade instruments. One of the things that struck me most during their church service is that there is a time at the end of their service when everyone prays out loud, but independently - just speaking their hearts. Some women were moved to tears. It was very intense and moving!

The next two days were spent working alongside the people of the community putting down new floors and reconstructing walls in the elementary school. We all helped by either breaking up the old cement and shoveling it out, or mixing and laying down the new cement. I also got an opportunity to teach a science lesson to a 4th grade class one day!

Another day, I spent my morning out in a field with some amazing women. Some of the kindest, strongest, funniest, most curious women I’ve ever met! They all had such interesting stories and were constantly asking me questions about my life. We were in this field gathering hay to be put into bales, and the girls on my team decided we were going to take a break and teach these older women how to do some american dances. We taught them the Macarena and Cotton-Eye Joe and the Cupid Shuffle (pretty sure they were unimpressed, because ladies in Kenya know how to get down).

Another day we visited the secondary school (high school) in the community. It was really awesome, we had real, complex conversations with students our age, mainly talking about Jesus and our faith (although they wanted to know a lot about America as well). Many girls asked me if there were any black people in America and were very curious about biracial families and marriages. Another boy, who was put in a small group with me, asked about CRE (Christian Religious Education) in America. This a class that all Kenyan students take to further learn about and worship God. When I explained that, in America, we aren’t allowed to teach religion in public schools, they were shocked. They asked me how I could possibly be a Christian if I don’t study and practice it every day. I explained faith, for me, is a personal thing, and that I “study and practice” on my own and with other Christians at church.

The next day we had home visits, this meant that we would spend a day inside someone’s home in the community and would just talk to them and they’d show us what “a day in the life” is like. They also taught us how to make Chapati (thin bread) and Chai (tea). Soooooooo good! When we asked the woman who owned the home (Grace) about her story, she started crying. She later told us that she had basically been sold into marriage with a man who was much older than her when she was only 15. She was clearly still shaken up about it, but she explained that she has love and respect for him now, because they have children together. We roasted corn and then it was time to go. Grace hugged each of us and began to say what an honor it was to host us. She got it wrong though, it was such an honor to be invited into her home.

The next day was the closing ceremony, we walked to the same place where we got off the bus on the very first day. Jane grabbed my hand again and walked with me the whole way. Deja vu! She handed me another “Jane’s flower” and when we got to the ceremony we danced for almost an hour it seemed like. She then wrote me a little note in my journal and handed me a little envelope full of tiny little drawings! I, along with my team leaders, then had the honor and privilege of praying over the entire community. It was super surreal and humbling. Next my team lined up, and the LC lined up across from us. They said kind words and then presented us each with bracelets that women in the community had made. The woman I was across from was named Alice. She thanked me and hugged me over and over. When it was time to leave the community (for the last time) Alice said she loved me, I asked her if I could pray over us. Every couple of words I said, she would say a few in Swahili. When we both opened our eyes, we were both crying, we hugged and she kissed me on the cheek. Then I found Jane in the crowd, I told her that I would be back, but I thanked her for showing me such love and kindness. I told her she made my heart smile and that I’d see her again. As we were getting back on the bus the children were crying, the adults were crying, we were crying.

This is the worst heartbreak, ever. I’m sure of it. But don’t worry, I’ll be back. I plan on going annually with my small group leader! Kenya is my place.

Thank you all so much, I can’t express enough what donating and supporting me has done in my life and in my heart. I was taught by example how to love, just love. So truly amazing. Major wow (a popular phrase among the kids there)!

Attached are some pictures, enjoy!
Asante (thank you, in Swahili)! God bless you!!

Lots of love,
Alex Morgan

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