KENYA/USA CHRISTIAN RELIEF & DEVELOPMENT, INC.
JAMBO!! THAT'S "HELLO" IN SWAHILI.

As a young girl, I had always dreamed and hoped of going to Africa. One day, a man named Simon came to St.Therese church and spoke of his love for the people and children of Kituiuni. There was no doubt in my mind that he was talking only to me. I knew that it was the sign that I was waiting for.

March 10, 2007 is the day I'll never forget. It's the day that my husband and I traveled to Kenya to fulfill my childhood dream. I boohooed all the way from Newark Airport to Nairobi and not a single day that my eyes were dry because I just couldn't believe that I was actually there. Then we headed to Kituiuni. The drive that felt like five-hours to the village was difficult. Our trusted guide jokingly referred to the drive as a free massage and as we draw near St.Cecilia, Kituiuni, we could see the children running, waving and their lips stretched from ear to ear. Hundreds of parents, teachers and community leaders from neighboring villages stopped their daily activities that day just to meet us.

A sea of children cheerfully met us and walked infront of us throwing flowers along the way. The children proudly performed songs, dances and gymnastics to our delight. I was overwhelmed and felt unworthy of the honor.

I will never forget the look in their eyes when we handed them a soccer ball. Suddenly, a cloud of dust engulfs us because the children could not contain themselves. For a while the school masters lost control of their students but order was quickly restored because;Somehow, they know what was coming if they did not follow orders. I think they actually have a name for it there. They call it discipline.

Their daily life starts at around 4:30am to fetch water from the river for drinking and cooking and bathing. In some instances, it's the same river that the cattle go for a dip as well. Then the children were sent to school, often hungry. They walk for miles without shoes on. Sounds like an old cliché but it is nothing but the truth. They study at night under a little candlelight because they can't afford to buy fuel for their lanterns. That is, if they even have one.

Perhaps, the thing that struck me the most was when we asked the children to give up their rusted tin cans that they drink out of. Because that is all they have, they were a bit reluctant. But their hesitation was quickly replaced with shrieks of joy and happiness when we replaced them with plastic tumblers instead.

It reminded me of that commercial on TV: It goes something like this: Plane ticket to Africa - not $29.99 Safari trip - not $29.99 PLASTIC TUMBLERS FOR KIDS TO DRINK OUT OF - PRICELESS

The head teachers presented me letters, poems and stories from their students. They spoke about their pain, their dreams and hopes for the future.

Lastly, they need our support. A support that would bring in the much needed medicines, dig wells for clean water and education that will teach them skills and hopefully anable them to stand on their own. Please note that 100% of your love offering will finance the projects on hand for the betterment of the people in Kituiuni and surrounding area.

I thank you all and asante Sana.

Emma Becker

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