Our goal with this project is to increase the site's capacity from the 40 children that currently call IAA "home", to 75. Such a realistic and tangible benchmark was only the first thing that impressed us with the organization. Throughout our week on site we took notice of the personal and intentional care of each child. Not only are the kids provided with a Christian family-like setting in childhood, but they are supported financially, spiritually, and emotionally as they go to boarding school from ages 11-17 and college after that.
IAA seems to do an awesome job of reversing the hands that these kids were dealt. As far as we could see, they really encourage and assist big dreams. One of the reasons this touched us so deeply, is that a similar philosophy has become a large part of our EMI mission. We don't want to be the ones to fully sustain the communities that we enter, but rather to encourage and assist the communities to sustain themselves. God blessed us with an awesome opportunity in Kenya to work toward this goal.
Before our arrival we asked around for any Kenyan engineers or architects that wanted to come work with us during our time on site. IAA founder Jane Gravis immediately thought of Nelson, the oldest "son" from the orphanage and a Civil Engineering student at a Kenyan university. Not only did Nelson want to join, but he wanted to bring 10 friends and a professor for a week! Although the orphanage couldn't host so many people (an example of why new buildings are needed on site!), he did bring a few of his classmates.
|Our Philippino-Canadian Electrical Engineer, Coloradan Architect, and Kenyan Civil Engineering students|
"Be generous: Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns. Don't hoard your goods; spread them around. Be a blessing to others. This could be your last night."
Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 (The Message Translation)
|Nelson (left) with our project leader Brad (center) surveying the site |
(photo from team photographer Jenni Keiter)
I'll leave off with the Lion King's "Circle of Life" lyrics. While being in Kenya felt a lot like the Lion King, these lyrics felt a lot like my life. There is far too much to see, and with every trip I realize just how little I will ever come across! But at least I can fit into my own little place on the path unwinding :)