21 April 2012

Kenya II

Oh, you.  You are the most wonderful person in the world.

Remember my post about Kenya?  Where I told you about the awesome kids whose lives have been affected by AIDS, and who live in that slum - Dagoretti - in Nairobi?  They still need your help.

This is Ilene.  She is SO sweet.  I met her when I went to camp in 2010.  She made me a necklace!  Isn't it amazing that someone who lives in absolute poverty has such a giving heart?

She's wearing my sunglasses in this picture.  I have about twenty pictures of kids wearing my sunglasses.  They loved 'em.  I just like big sunglasses 'cause it offsets the size of my enormous teeth.

Ilene and I had some really good conversations about life.  She's only 16, but she's wise beyond her years.  Thank god she's being sponsored by Friends of Ngong Road.  If she weren't on the path to a college education, my heart would break forever. Ilene asked me a few times if I was going to come back to camp next year, which would have been last summer.  I told her I couldn't because I was getting married in July 2011, but that if I had the money I'd be back in 2012.  In a skeptical voice, she said, "The Americans always say they'll come back, but they never do."

That was the moment that cemented my resolve.  Like I said before, Ilene isn't in a position to understand that I might not have enough money to buy that flight to Kenya.  In her eyes, we're all rich.  Even a bum like me who earns half as much as a teacher and has tens of thousands of dollars in student debt.  Because I have family with money, I get to eat out sometimes.  I get to live in a nice apartment.  I have indoor plumbing and electricity.  I don't have to worry about getting sick from my water.  And I will always, always have enough to eat.  Ilene doesn't have those guarantees.

Which brings me to my point.  You are a wonderful person.  Seriously.  Because you have the power to bring joy to kids like Ilene.  This camp changes kids' lives.  It makes them feel loved and cared-for, gives them 3 meals a day and clean water.  They play games that make them happy and take their minds off their lives for a week.  You can help give this powerful gift.

Ilene'll be back this year.  I'll be clasping that necklace on and running to her for a hug.

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