By: Moses Ondeche
It had been a year since my last encounter with all the blessed students both large and small…all the young, vivacious and enthusiastic munchkins that brace for these moments every year. Their wait would soon culminate as we tightened up loose and squeaky ends to the new face of Ndoto’s April retreats!
The primary students were first in line, and the cool, cloudy morning brought promise of a fantastic day! The first busload arrived, and the second soon after. The atmosphere was animated! Games, singing, great food were just some of the fun moments of the day, and as always the best was left for last! Everyone was seated as they anticipated in excitement to get their letters, to hear from the special people who sacrifice their time and finances to keep them in school, but also ensure they’re ministered to as a whole being! It was time to take pictures to capture this important moment. Ashley and I took turns taking pictures.
As I walked round the room trying to get the best shots, my eyes were inclined towards Linda’s direction. She is a beautiful girl, full of life and love for others, smiling back at me I desired to find out what she enjoyed about reading and writing back to her sponsor. She raised her hands up, so I leaned towards her chair to try and make out what she signed from her sponsor’s letter. I preferred to read from her letter and hopefully learn some sign language as she read along. The facial expressions she had were priceless. The joy of getting a letter and sharing it with someone else was as clear as the lakeside sunset! It was my only chance to practice the little greeting I had memorized the day before, “hello, what is your name” I singed to her and with a giggle she stared at me and signed back he name! There was such a joy in finally getting it right, and finally getting to communicate with her perfectly!
The excitement was just unfolding as we made our way to the sunset hotel’s swimming pool for the moment many of the students were waiting for! SAFETY! SAFETY! SAFETY! That was all we could think of as 70+ students made their way to the pool! The beautiful children splashing water on each other, lots of noise and fun moments, not forgetting the lovely lunch, overshadowed my love for water. The highlight of the whole day came almost at the end when our Amazing director braced us with her presence at the pool with many of the students holding onto her as she made her way across the shallow end. The focal point for the pool experience was when the students desired to jump into the deep end of the pool, putting all their trust and faith in her as a child does their parent. One by one they jumped, some with fear but most of them with so much faith that as much as they could not swim, Allison was there to hold them when they hit the deep water!
For the first time in a year, I experienced the rich love of God in the staff, but most of all from the students who were so happy and excited that they had the rare chance to experience fun in a hotel with friends and mentors!