Arrival – sipping coke baridi sana
|An array of GOOD FOOD|
|Allison Schlack Dreams Big, Loves Big, Lives Big|
|A time to eat, I miss the cupcakes|
|we were all smiles……. enjoying it|
|Yes!! Ndoto in the house! Don’t Joke!|
|Omosh Jatelo (leader), Alili Jaber (Beautiful), Mwalimu (teacher), Allison Nyar gi Obama (Obama’s sister)|
|Ndoto Staff: Lillian, David, Allison, Erick, Joshua|
|Sharing, vote of thanks|
|stealing white elephant presents|
|Merry Xmas Team Ndoto|
Believe you me; the year 2011 is certainly going down in history as the best year for us at Ndoto. So many good things are happening in our lives and it is amazing to see what God is doing. Christmas came so early for the Ndoto family this year. First it was the get gully day, then the Christmas retreat, then the volunteer day 2 for those who didn’t make it to the first and ultimately the staff Christmas party last Tuesday. You have no idea how wonderful it is always to get together to have fun and see all the big smiles in the faces of so many students who had hitherto lost all hope of ever realizing their dreams!
The weekly staff meeting was unusually brief on this day. We left Akili and went home to prepare for the PAR-TAY!! Not always would you see either Erick or me in a neck tie. But on this special day, we did dress for the occasion. We arrived at the venue at 6.00pm, and our host Nyargi Obama (Obama’s Sister) as we fondly call Allison was all smiles as she welcomed us. A sweet aroma of an appetizing beef wafted in my nostrils as I entered the house and I could not help salivating. Earlier in the day, Kelly had told me that Allison is such a good host. So I wasn’t surprised when she met us immaculately dressed in a coooooooool mzungu outfit and the table all laid out with myriad array of good food, and good juice for Mwalimu (Erick).
As soon as everyone arrived, the party kicked off. I have a huge appetite, so you don’t wanna know what my plate looked like after I served. The food was inexplicably excellent and in plenty. The cupcakes were exceptionally delicious. Yes, I lost count of how many of that sweet stuff I ate. All I know is that I did eat them with and without the icing. AWESOME!!! That’s what they were. Having eaten to our fill, we all took out our white elephants ready to play. Except for Allison, we were all playing this game for the first time, so she took us through the rules. We were so excited and everyone eagerly waited for their turn. As soon as Allison opened the first present, we all went down in fits of laughter. What we saw was a spectacle that will forever remain etched in our minds. We laughed so uncontrollably, shedding tears of joy. Truly, some people were just born funny. I was bewildered at some of the white elephant presents some of us pulled out! What Allison picked will probably go down as one of the funniest presents in Ndoto staff party’s history. After rounds of opening and stealing presents and laughing so hard, I only had a couple of toothpicks to take home. Certainly, it wasn’t my day, but I was ineffably delighted for all the fun and bonding. Having played the game, our host gave us incredible presents among them cool T-shirts customized to suit each of us. “Ndoto in da house”, man, the T-shirts were a hit!!!!! We took a couple of staff pictures, sipped our drinks (Coke baridi sana) and cracked jokes. Two of our friends Dennis Osiolo and Edwin Omondi were privileged to grace the occasion and were overwhelmed by the unfathomable love and friendship that team Ndoto has developed over the recent months. Everyone was already satisfied by the time we finally cut the team Ndoto cake so we had no option but to carry it home.
We gave a vote of thanks to our host and shared our sentiments about Ndoto in general and Allison’s outstanding sacrifice to make it happen. Her years of toil and sacrifice HAVE MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE. One of the greatest lessons we learnt is that NDOTO FOR AFRICA’S FUTURE is a GREAT organization. But perhaps the most intriguing and certainly the most important take home message for the day is the type of leadership that has turned Ndoto into a GREAT organization. We have the best leadership at Ndoto. We joked about the fact that our boss is so friendly and is a servant leader as opposed to so many people in similar positions in prestigious organizations like Ndoto. She makes us feel so at home. She is not just our boss but a friend, mentor and co-worker. She demonstrates a compelling modesty, shunning public adulation and is never boastful. She has channeled personal ambition into Ndoto and its work and is training Team Ndoto for even greater success in the next generation. Over the last 2 years she has brought Ndoto from 29 students to a massive 110 students this year but has not stood forth to take excessive credit for those results. I think of leaders such as Allison as rare birds, almost freaks of nature. And we were so blessed to sit and freely share with her how AWESOME life has been since she came in our lives. Allison has shunned any attempt to shine the spotlight on her, preferring instead to direct attention to Ndoto and the students. She shows none of the swagger that characterizes many of today’s high-profile CEOs, and she never views herself as a great hero, but a servant who has been ridiculously blessed by the people around her.
She has hard very difficult times here. Coming home from Kenya during this particularly difficult period in January this year, a wearied Allison said to Joshua, “It’s really tough. I don’t know if I’m ever coming back.” Because of Ndoto, people have called her move stupid, and discouraged her. After all, how on earth could such a single mzungu stay alone in Africa that knows nothing but wars and disease. But in the end, Allison’s stoic resolve has paid off: Ndoto For Africa’s Future has become a perfect example of a Christian organization that believes in empowering the youth to realize their dreams and make a difference in their communities, eventually beating Agape’s Children Ministries, World Vision among others. To this end, I think we can safely say that the 8 years that Allison sacrificed her life for us HAS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE!!!! We left the party in high spirits, thankful to Allison for being such a wonderful host and to God for bringing Allison to Kenya to serve Him. I have never seen team Ndoto so happy! As Al constantly reminds us, we are stronger working together than we are apart. So team Ndoto we are, and team Ndoto we will forever be! After all, several logs burn brightly together, but put one aside on the cold hearth and the fire goes out. (Hebrews 10:25). I know my white elephant present for the next Ndoto staff Christmas Party! I’m so looking forward to December 2012!!!!!!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!