Watoto Wote Wazuri

A new year, a new decade, a not so new idea.

Posted in AIDS Orphans, Giving back by Lynn Ouellette on 01/03/2010

It’s a new year .….and a new decade that has begun, a  time for resolutions, recollections, reflections, resolve, or at least hopefully noting something about one’s life and moving into the future.  My own personal resolutions which have never really been chosen by me around the coming of the New Year, but rather more created for me by life experience, those of gratitude and giving back, will hopefully be ones I will continue to stay strong and healthy enough to keep for decades to come.  I am very excited to be starting this new decade with the trip to Kenya to volunteer in the Nyumbani programs and to begin this relationship with helping the AIDS orphans. It’s less than 4 weeks away and  we just got our visas so it’s feeling very real! We are very lucky that we have the means to do this.  But we are also lucky  to have many people who are supporting us in various ways by donations to the Nyumbani programs, offers to be available to our one son who is at home (the other two kids will be at college), checking  in on our house, covering my practice, etc. There is a whole network of support and interest that I never imagined we would have and both Tom and I have continued to remark on this on a regular basis.

In just planning this trip, I have already learned so much. One thing I have learned that there are a lot of kind people who are willing to be generous when the need becomes real. I actually learned this in a very personal  and very touching way when I had breast cancer, so what I mean here is different. It’s that if you present a cause, like AIDS orphans , and make it real by talking about real people’s stories, and share your own enthusiasm, you don’t need to even ask people to help, they just offer. And, in the process of joining in helping, people get connected to each other in powerful ways.  I have had many enlivened and touching conversations with people wanting to help, to give donations, wanting to know more about AIDS orphans.  Bec Poole, the art teacher from Brooksville whose students are participating in the art exchange just wrote to me, “You can’t believe how much you have impacted our school.  Everyone is talking about the project.  I think the music teacher is going to do her spring concert with a theme on Kenya……… ” Well, I can’t take credit for that, I’ve never been to the school, I simply introduced the idea of the art exchange in a series of e-mail exchanges and sent along a CD about Nyumbani and the AIDS orphans in Kenya to make it real, and then she shared her enthusiam and they ran with it.   She also wanted to make sure that I understood how important it was for her students that I figure out another project that they could do to stay involved and give to the kids in the orphanage. That’s an example of what happens and it’s wonderful.  I just read an article in a medical journal about how volunteering keeps elderly minds sharp as shown by increased brain activity measured in certain regions on MRI’s, etc. I think people just feel more alive when they are sharing in some common cause and giving of themselves;  it seems like giving, and the way it connects you with other people,  is just fundamentally good for you, no matter how you measure it, no MRI’s required. This really isn’t a new idea at all, just one that’s easy to lose sight of in this busy day and age, but one that is really worth revisiting.

 

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