As Dr. Seuss has famously stated: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”.
This is how I am approaching leaving Light of Hope (LOH) and Kenya after this amazing, inspirational and life changing trip.
Given my extended time at the school, I was able to experience two other groups leave the girls before me – those goodbyes are filled with tears, tears and some more tears. Some of these girls do not show full emotion while you are there – probably given their non-emotional upbringing – but it all comes out when goodbyes need to be said.
The other Christa – Christa B – who was visiting the school looked at the girls and said it best – It’s not a Goodbye – It’s a see you later…
The first round of goodbyes included close to 15 people who were leaving to head on safari.
All of the girls left the school at the end of the day and walked the group back to our Bellevue house – which was close to a mile down the road. The sun was setting – their laughs turned to silence – they were holding onto the hands and legs of those leaving with dear life – as the massive group walked down the dirt road.
Amazing how it was the quiet ones who broke down the most – spending these days with volunteers is such a blessing for them since the heartfelt love is something that they have only experienced since joining LOH.
The goodbyes were long and hard – only being interrupted by the other travelers on the street.
A few days after that Christa #2 was setting to leave.
I had the privilege of meeting Christa on my 2012 trip to the school where she spent 4 months with the girls – living on their campus so this “see you later” was a mix of being harder for some girls but easier for others.
Christa #2 is an example of how our trips to LOH are not a one and done deal – her frequent visits have shown the girls that we really do care and are vested in seeing their progress over the years.
She also had a great name!
Then four days later was the inevitable “see you later” for me.
I got to spend the morning with the girls – relaxing – participated in church and even brought them some Kenya treats to have after their lunch (the off sugar puffs called Wows that made their lips change color).
As I started to walk to the car, I got overwhelmed with the amount of girls coming out of every door at the school. I love all these girls equally the same but there are those few who I hold close to my heart…there is:
- Cate (Lydia’s Sister)
- Faith Mary
- My new friend Agnes, Vivian
- Linda, Jane, Catherine, Virginia, Ester, Peris – the list goes on and on.
And as I close out my Kenya journey of my 41 Acts of Giving – I can’t leave my post without acknowledging Sandy and Boni – the founders of LOH.
These two individual built this school from the ground up and are in fact saving the lives of all of these girls. I would not be prouder or more blessed to have our lives meet together – they will never leave my heart of life.
Sandy experienced the loss of her dear daughter last month and powered through this trip because of her devotion to this school and girls – I think the world of her.
Sandy – Shannon will forever watch over this school and you and Boni for the rest of your lives…as an Angel should.
So here it is, my See You Later to the girls at LOH – until next time…
Christa Z’s 41 Acts of Giving:
- Organize a package of crafts and learning supplies to bring to the girls at Light of Hope
- Teach the girls how to fly a kite
- Save a girl
- Have the girls help me create something to sell at the LOH fundraiser
- Show the Girls what it is like to be a Princess for a Day
- Heritage never lost – never forgetting and praising family
- Show the girls Disneyland – Kenyan Style
- Create 70 “Banana Smiles”
- Show the Girls what simple fun is
- Give 110% of Myself to the girls at LOH and never say goodbye