It is difficult to put into words such an experience. Nevertheless, I will never forget the glances of the kids, their smiles, their energy, their dances and their hands held out to share their food … I will never forget how much they respect and help each other. I saw them sharing lollipops and ice creams, I saw them help each other to tie their shoes, I saw them fall – without ever crying – and help each other to get up. The values they carry are so beautiful and powerful: sharing, respect, mutual help.
Yet, their lives are not that easy; living conditions are difficult for most of them. Children who live at school sleep in small dormitories, showers are cold, electricity is unsteady, children’s uniforms have holes, sports classes are held barefoot because they do not have any sport shoes, school meals are always the same … and yet I did not hear any child complaining, I only saw smiles on their faces. These children are examples and I admire them so much!
The adults are just as remarkable … We took part in the construction of two classrooms. The construction workers impressed me with their efficiency, tenacity and kindness. They carved hundreds of stones with their hands, then carried them under the sun and the heat. I would also like to mention the quality and support of the teachers, the infallible smile of the cooks, the total dedication of Pat & Paul, the limitless courage of Abigail…
The association behind this incredible project – school4life – makes an exceptional job and always seeks to improve kids’ lives. In addition to the two classrooms that were built this year, windows and doors will be added, boys will move to new dormitories, larger and in better condition. Agnes, I would like to thank you for everything you have done for the kids and for us while we were in Kimilili. It was an amazing time and I could never thank you enough for that.
Back to my level, this experience has been a useful and necessary reminder of the fundamentals of life and happiness. Happiness is knocking at our door: smile, live – unrestrained and limitless – be yourself, do what you love, help others, share, surround yourself with people who pull you up and who love you, take advantage of what you have and fight to get what you want. If these kids can do it, we can do it as well.