First visit since the pandemic began
Recently, Village Impact’s CEO and Co-Founder, Amy, our Director of Possibilities/Operations, Carey, and I, Sylvia, Chief Happiness Officer, made our first trek from North America back to Kenya since the pandemic began in 2019.
We were there to fulfill administrative functions, but we also focused on the practices of being present, connected and open to building relationships. Some of the trip’s most memorable moments were the spontaneous fellowship we shared with our team, partners, students and staff at Village Impact schools. And what we found were lessons in resilience and
Every school has a unique story
Most of our schools are in rural, sometimes remote areas. So every day, we’d pack our team in a rented church minivan and prepare for what was often a very long, very dusty and very bumpy drive. Of course, the incredibly warm welcome at the end made these “Kenyan massages” worthwhile.
Without exception, dozens of students greeted us with huge smiles, laughter and the typical Kenyan grace and warmth with layered voices of “Karibo! Jambo! (Welcome! Hello!)” and “Karibuni Kenya, Muzungu! (Welcome to Kenya, Visitor)!”
We met administrators, local leaders, parents, teachers and, of course, many, many students.
Each of the school communities here has a unique story. The barriers to education are serious. Most people live in poverty, face resource shortages, and have been affected by the tribal conflict that still simmers just below the surface. Children bear the brunt of these hardships and experience resulting trauma in all its forms.
Despite this, we found these challenges met by resilience, determination, creativity and optimism that you can’t help but want to bottle.