Zuri Watoto Wote

Across the years, across the country, across the world…..

Posted in Giving back, Kenya, Nyumbani by Lynn Ouellette on 01/12/2012

“So how did you first hear about Nyumbani?”

This is a question that I have been asked several times in the past week and in the course of answering it I have realized that I delight in telling the story, so I thought I would tell it here. As we live in the town where Bowdoin College is located and my husband, Tom, is an alumnus, we had a connection to the college when we first moved here. From very early on we began participating in the Host Family Program in which local families provide support and a local connection to Bowdoin College students who are international students and thus far away from home. We began being a host family when our sons, now about to turn 21, were still babies. It was a wonderful opportunity for our family to learn about other cultures and get exposed to some ethnic diversity which is very limited in Brunswick. We had particularly close relationships to the students whom we hosted for all 4 years and who we watched graduate along with their own parents who traveled across the world to do so. One such student was Stanley from Kenya. I don’t know if I ever told him this, but of our sons who was quite young at the time, but not very familiar with people from Africa or even African-Americans, when he was told that Stanley was coming for a visit, referred to him as “that really tall guy with curly black hair and the pink fingernails” –Stanley IS very tall. His mother and sister stayed with us at graduation time and we took them on their first ever trip to the beach and had a wonderful time getting to know them.  We later visited Stanley when he was working at a job in Washington D.C. A number of years later we heard from him that he was doing a fund-raiser bicycle trek ACROSS the US to raise money for an AIDS Orphanage back in Kenya named Nyumbani and asking if we would like to be a sponsor. So it was through Stanley that we learned of Nyumbani.

He completed his bike trek and raised a lot of money……

Fall 2006 Nyumbani Newsletter

And we found ourselves on the mailing list for Nyumbani……

As our children grew up and it became more possible for us to do some volunteer work that would take us away from home we looked more closely at what opportunities might exist there and that’s how we became acquainted with Lloydie and KEST….and once you meet Lloydie you go  to Kenya to volunteer for Nyumbani.

When we took the trip 2 years ago we let Stanley know that we were going and how excited we were. I know that I MUST have shared with him and his mother in he host family days that I had been dreaming about going to Africa since I was a child. He connected with my blog to learn more about the trip (and even complimented me on my very rudimentary Swahili.) I have just connected with him again– he and his wife Joy live in Texas and are expecting their first child in April. It was wonderful to reconnect and share their happy news and to let him know that I am off to Nyumbani again. These connections from Kenya to the US and back again which span over 15 years have been incredible and do really make the world seem like a much smaller place. We are fortunate to have had Stanley to share a little bit of Kenya with us years ago and to start the process which was to grow into much more of a connection to Kenya than we ever imagined.

One Response

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  1. Lloydie said, on 01/13/2012 at 6:52 pm

    Lynn, loving your blog! Thanks for taking the time to post it. Won’t be long until you are posting from Kenya… if we have power! 🙂

    Like


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