It feels as though you prepare for so long, anticipate and anxiously await to board the plane to Kenya to serve on a mission trip. Then all of a sudden you realize it has flown by and how your life and perspective on it has changed forever in only 10 short days.
Me and my partner, Britney, had the pleasure of leading this incredible team to Africa this past month. Me and Brit held team meetings,
gathered needed supplies,
and did the best we could to prepare the hearts of this team for this journey to the other side of the globe.
But me and Brit always laugh because you can never fully prepare for what you encounter on these trips.
With what seemed like 5 million bags in tow, we were all finally gathered together at the airport bidding our loved ones goodbye and ready to hit the plane.
After many airplane movies, meals and uncomfortable sleep positions we finally arrived on Kenyan soil. I could not have been more excited. We felt we were home!
We were instantly greeted by our Kenyan family; our driver, Steve, and our Mission Mom, Maggie.
We set out for our Mission Inn, settled into our bunks and sat around the table for our first Kenyan dinner of stew meat, potatoes, slaw and Kenyan tea and then we hit the sack anxiously wondering what our first day out would be like the next day.
Day 1 and we are all rockin’ our BFR tees and ready to hit the ground running! First stop- Kibera. #LetsDoThis #StopAtNothing
Just to give you a little history on Kibera…There are approx 2.5 million slum dwellers in about 200 settlements in Nairobi representing 60% of the Nairobi population, occupying just 6% of the land. Kibera houses almost 1 Million of these people. Kibera is the biggest slum in Africa and one of the biggest in the world.
The average size of shack in this area is 12ft x 12ft built with mud walls, screened with concrete, a corrugated tin roof, dirt or concrete floor.
The government owns all this land which means at any time, this land could be taken from them or bulldozed down. Yes, ladies and gents… That is where we serve and I will tell you it is my favorite place. You will find the most beautiful little souls in this little piece of property.
You will never be able to fully grasp the intensity of this slum until you are inside that van and driving down the dirt one-laned road paved with trash and little kids shouting, “How are you!” as you drive through.
We arrive at Wings of Life to lots of smiling and singing faces greeting us with dances and songs of, “Welcome, Welcome to Our Schooool,” and “Praise the Loord!”
This is when it hits you that you are in Africa! We are overwhelmed with emotion at all the little faces, with their hats and sweaters on when it’s 70 degrees, just smiling at us!
We immediately jump into the sea of little faces and get to know them! Megan is an instant hit teaching them her version of, ‘Simon Says.’ They literally follow her every move down to her breathing!!!
Mary started teaching the little ones how to jump rope and taught lessons on sharing and team building through exercise and games.
After game time with the little ones we split the older classes into classes 4,5 and 6 (also known as 4th grade- 6th grade) and taught them team building exercises while getting to know them on a deeper level. Lindsay jumped right in with class 6 and immediately connected with them through dancing, games and playing photo booth. Mary worked with class 4 AND managed to get her hair braided by her new friends, while I (Lacey) stuck with class 5 with my little Kenyan daughter, Charlene.
Alam, our nurse team member, worked with Maggie on setting up a clinic in one of the classrooms and worked on some of the children that needed medical attention as well as educating the leaders on the supplies Alam was able to get donated.
Mary, Megan and Lindsay spent time one on one counseling the youth…
Luckily, on one of the days there we were able to find electricity to show them the movie, Soul Surfer, while Cindy taught them a lesson on encouragement and the kids lit up from excitement.
Kim and Megan led the classes in games and fun before later beginning our Be Well program on hygiene, body wellness and self esteem.
We also dived right in with feeding the kids in Spring Valley.
We felt extremely blessed to have our Mission Mum, Maggie, on the field with us helping to serve in the clinic we set up as well as interacting with the kids. She is truly a blessing to our organization.
We all had a very hard time when the moments of goodbye came. Tears were flowing and hugs that felt too emotional to let go of. We really felt so incredibly blessed to serve on this mission and the people we worked with. It was a wonderful trip and we left feeling more moved and inspired with hearts moved for the rest of our lives.