Update from A Recent EFAC Graduate
For his community service project, Evans worked at the Vanessa Grant School for Children with Special Needs and the Vanessa Grant Vocational School. When we visited the school with him, the students at the school crowded around Evans, and it was clear that they loved being with him. Naomi, the head teacher, gave us a tour of the facilities and proudly pointed out all the work that Evans had done in the gardens as well. The EFAC community service requirement was from January through March, but Evans has enjoyed his work so much he decided to extend his commitment at the Vanessa Grant School until he goes to University. Here is a recent update from him:
Jambo! That’s our Kiswahili greetings! It has been a great time for us because the rains have begun. There have been a heavy down pour and now I'm very busy. I had prepared some nursery beds for spinach at the Vanessa Grant Vocational School, and they have come out nicely. Now I have transplanted them into the greenhouse I prepared during my community service project. The plants are now 2 days old and they are growing healthy.
Thank you to Nancy, Rod and EFAC for coming up with the Community Service Programme. It has equipped me with the BEST survival that I do not think I would have gotten elsewhere in this planet earth. I have really loved this programme.
Post Secondary Mentoring Update
The mentoring program is off to a good start based on our first quarterly updates. Many of the mentors and students seem to be finding a genuine and meaningful connection.
Many of the students taught in primary and secondary school during their community service period .They talked about their self-confidence and their pride in sharing what they had learned with their community. One student said,” we were looked down on because we are so poor but now the children listen and call me teacher-teacher.” Several are considering education as a career. All took their community service obligation to heart and worked hard in hospitals, clinics, schools and various other venues during their three month break.
I have been surprised how much of their communication is via email and Facebook as opposed to text. What I learned is that their email and Facebook posts appear on their phone, like a text message. Therefore email and Facebook have replaced text as their platform of choice. The added benefit is that email communication with the states is cheaper than text.
Sending a message to you costs something. Some of our kids have no money and therefore are hesitant to write back. We hope to solve this in the future by giving those who need it a communication allowance. But they see your message for free and love that you are sending it to them.
Most of the graduates are on Facebook which is a great way to communicate. You can send private email to their page which is better than posting to their wall which everyone sees. You also get to see who their friends are and what they are talking about. You can even add a comment or two to their discussion. Try doing that with our US teenagers!
If you do communicate on Facebook, you will see most of their conversation between each other is in a language called Sheng, a combination of English and Swahili that actually started in Kenya and has spread across Africa. They will use English with you.
Thank you all for the love and caring you put into the mentoring program. These kids really appreciate their connection with you.
Worth, Thanks and Appreciation
At the farewell dinner of the Career & Computer Course for our first class of EFAC graduates, Joshua, Gibson, Emmanuel, and Francis presented a poem of thanks to EFAC and their sponsors and mentors. Their words brought tears to my eyes. Thank you to all who have made their educations possible.
Worth, Thanks, and Appreciation
Have come a long way,
Have passed through all it means,
Had fun together in joy and pleasure,
People of different ways yet compatible.
As brothers and sisters we have trekked together,
In harmony, kindness and hospitality,
With one common goal in mind,
We were born to shine not to die insignificantly.
First of all we would avoid,
To thank Rod and Nancy,
The father-mother of EFAC.
Thanks to you. You are worth it.
Maybe our appreciation counts nothing,
What you have done we will never be able to pay.
But in us you have struck a heart,
A heart of giving, a heart of appreciation.
Our sponsors, people who have hearts of love
People who never knew us in any way.
Not by distant relationship, not by blood,
Yet they invested in us in sacrifice and toil.
Thanks to you all, accept our words,
We promise we will hold on the same,
We will fight to change as many lives,
Before we die, we will have something for joy.
Together as one we will fight not with guns,
Not with arms or crude tools,
We will fight with heart and soul,
Suffering will be no more coz we were born to prosper.
Thanks our mentors you are great,
You taught us to survive and surely we have,
Thanks all, thanks everyone,
And forever EFAC will remain our sacred home.
Joshua Angwenyi, Francis Mbugua, Gibson Kigen and Emmanuel Orangi