You know that feeling when you go somewhere for the first time, but immediately you feel at home? Where you may be surrounded by people you have never met before, but you feel like they're family?
Of the mile-long list of emotions that come to mind when I think about Kitui, these two are very prevalent. The first time we visited Kitui was in the summer of 2010. After a four hour van ride from Nairobi, on some of the roughest terrain imaginable, we were told that we had finally arrived to the village of Kitui. The headache and mild car sickness that had set in from the car ride, quickly turned to excitement and butterflies as we pulled up the driveway to Michael and Jemimah's house, where we were supposed to meet some of the orphans and guardians that take care of them.
That's when we heard it. I can close my eyes right now and still hear it as if it was just yesterday.
Their voices. They were welcoming us with song. As we rolled up to the entrance, our vans were surrounded on either side with adults and children, singing and clapping as they welcomed their Western visitors. As the vans came to a stop and we all climbed out, our hosts came to welcome us - not with handshakes - but with big ol' African hugs. It wasn't like hugging a stranger, you see, because we were family. At that moment, our journey wasn't about delayed flights or lost baggage or long car rides. It was about being welcomed HOME.
To be honest, a lot of us thought we would go to Africa and visit these places that our donations supported, so that we could give THEM something. But when it comes down to it, the people of Kitui give us way more than we could ever imagine. We have spent a lot of time with the children and their guardians, hearing about their lives and their struggles. A lot of the stories just break your heart - hearing about how the children became orphans. But despite the negative experiences they may have been through, they are hopeful. They share their praises and they are thankful. Given their situation, they are some of the most grateful people I've ever met. And it all comes down to one thing - the most important thing of all - love.
This organization was created out of love. We want to introduce you to our family - the orphans , guardians, and the community of Kitui. We want you to be able to learn more about this place and the dream that these people have to better their community for their children and their future generations.
We would love for you to join us in this endeavor. Because of that first visit to Kitui, we are now able to know what it feels like to be welcomed and loved by someone you've never met. Why not be a part of giving that same feeling back to a wonderful group of people - who may be separated geographically from most of us - but in our hearts, they're never far away.
After all, it's really all just about the love. Help us share the LOVE FOR KITUI.