My name is Barbara, and I would like to share my experience sponsoring a student with Ndoto.
The first time my daughter, Ashley, went to Kenya on a mission trip with Prince of Peace in 2006, I was less than excited. As a mother, I was very worried about her safety and well-being, but nonetheless she went. To hear the stories from that trip and the many others she participated in was contagious. It sounded so unreal – the people she met, the animals she saw on safari, and the ministry she did in a place called Obunga. I had never done anything like that in my life!
But, my real moment came when Allison, the Executive Director, shared one very inspiring story about a girl named Nancy. The moment I heard Nancy’s story a spark burst in my heart. I thought, “We can send this girl to school!” I told my husband, who agreed, and immediately Nancy became a part of my family’s life. My husband, Dale, called Allison and asked her in a very concerned tone, “What do we have to do to get her out of that situation?”
Sending Nancy to school has touched us in so many ways, but the moment I will never forget is the day my entire family went to Kenya. Nancy got out of a van in Kisumu with Ashley and Allison, and I saw her beautiful face. The joy that was on her face was very infectious. Our family got to spend time with her, share a meal together, take her shopping for some things she needed, and we got to really understand her story.
After meeting her, we understood how important education was to this young girl. We talked about her home in the slum, and experiencing her life in a small way was indescribable. Going through the Obunga slum was an eye-opener for me. I saw an open sewage ditch, homes made out of mud and tin, and people selling vegetables and other small things on the side of the “road.”
Seeing the beautiful children trailing along in our wake changed my perspective. These children were smiling, happy, and just waiting for a few kind words, a smile, or a high five. How easy a few smiles, and hugs were to give these little ones. Kids playing with a piece of wire and the mom in me wanting to say “No, you will get hurt,” but knowing that it is all they have to spur their imaginations and let their woes evaporate for a while. They were happy; laughing and playing like any kid I’ve seen anywhere in the world.
Seeing their environment and understanding that we are able to help them make a difference for their community and possibly the world is very humbling. I am so proud to sponsor students and give them a chance to dream.
Meeting Nancy in person and reading her letters each year makes us feel so blessed to be part of her life. Nancy is now at a university pursuing a degree in public policy. She dreams of fighting for the rights of women and children! We have one student that finished high school and is now working, another student who is waiting on his test results, and we have just taken on another!
Yes, our Ndoto family has grown! Sometimes, the Lord just calls your name and says you can do this. Who are we to argue? To me, sending a student to school is such a small thing, yet I know to go to school is a huge thing for the students of Ndoto. It gives them opportunities that we take for granted and affords them the chance to be game changers and leaders in Obunga.
Everyone is in a different life stage and can’t always afford the yearly cost of education, but maybe sometimes you’re able to give a little for the general operating funds. Whatever little bit you have is a blessing.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be sending students to school in Kenya, and I certainly didn’t think I would ever meet some of them face-to-face on Kenyan soil, but you just never know what path God is going to lead you on.