There is a dirt road in Kenya where the soil defines the color burnt sienna. Along this road is a glimpse into the simple life in the country, an agrarian peacefulness. There is a gentle breeze perfumed with eucalyptus, and the scent of the African sun bearing down on fertile ground. There is only the sound of the wind on the trees and a gentle movement of bare feet on the warm ground, followed quietly by curious voices of the neighboring children.
Inside the branch and barb fencing a meadow opens in front of our eyes. A lazy brown cow grazes under the shade of an island of trees. A local boy and girl hold onto a palm tree and quietly watch as we navigate the barbed wire into a lush vegetable garden that even at the end of the dry season gives birth to a beautiful crop of arrowroot and kale, watered by a fresh stream that snakes through the property.
We sit in the shade of the bordering forest and my excitement blooms as we discuss the future of this beautiful property. We walk along the bank of fish ponds that are ready to be stocked with a crop of tilapia under the majestic watch of a noble tree with silver bark; adorned with flaming red flowers.
It is as if the land itself is holding its breath in anticipation of what it will become – a refuge for a patchwork family. A family that has grown over the years, comprised of young girls and boys who have suffered the loss of their parents and estrangement from their siblings. Children who have known abuse, fear and death as their early companions. But there is also a mother there. A mother who sings and teaches them to sing. A mother named Alice, who searches their hearts to see where their passions lie and then builds them up with a confidence that comes only when the person who cares for you most in the world, also believes in your potential. And there is a father there. A father named Fred, who will take great risks, and step out in faith to provide a better life for his family. A patchwork family sewn together not through DNA but through life’s circumstances.
It is in this place where I fell in love; love at first sight for this land and its beauty and unspoiled potential. I fell in love with the dream that Fred and Alice have conceived. I fell in love with a lifestyle so foreign to my own, yet almost magical in its simplicity. I fell in love with the sight of a tiny avocado tree that I planted and I fell in love with a hope to someday see the tree heavy with fruit for the children. I fell in love with the honor of being allowed to participate in the future of this beautiful patchwork family, fastened by people who I have loved for years from half way across the world.
Stepping onto this property that we have been able to begin purchasing with donations to Light Up Hope, was like being introduced to a bride and groom and seeing by the glow about them that their future holds endless possibility.
This land is Kitale – our promised land. This is the land we will buy to rebuild a life for the children at Hands with Hope Orphanage. This is the land that will produce nutrition, income, and health for these children. This is the future.