We left Saturday for Karemeno and visited the Brothers’ community there. In Karemeno the Kenyan Brothers have acquired property and hope to build a secondary school. Currently, there stands a few structures on the property left over from a previous school. We met with 2 postulants and had a wonderful conversation with them about their vocation and the work they do at a local school. We left Karemeno for Nyeri with stops at Thompson Falls and the Equator, arriving at Saint Mary’s Boys Secondary School after dark. We were warmly greeted by the Brothers’ community for dinner and conversation, and were excited to be meeting the students the next day!
On Sunday we participated in mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Consolation, with the St. Mary’s students animating the mass. Next followed a school-wide assembly, which was our welcoming and introduction to all the students. We explained to the students why we were visiting, and they talked to us about being Lasallians, being agents for change and making the world a better place. The students wanted us to know that the support from the Twinning Program inspires them to work hard. We got to witness first hand how hard they do work and study. The school’s motto: Bring us your boys-we’ll give you men.
Abel had the opportunity to interview Brian, a Form One student (9th grade). He was orphaned at age 4 and lived with his uncle until he and his sister were kicked out of the home. He was living on the streets but is now an exemplary student. He hopes to go into medicine and someday hopes to come back to St Mary’s to provide medical services for the boarding students.
On Monday, we spent the morning attending classes at Saint Mary’s. Brother Phil was the substitute teacher in an agriculture class. Pretty good for a Brother from Queens! Bill attended a class on business ethics where the conversation was on the practices of Walmart. There are 700 students at Saint Mary’s. Last year’s graduating class of 109 students had 107 attend Universities around the country. Amazing when you consider the number of students that began at Saint Mary’s as orphaned street kids.
Our delegation returned to Nairobi on Monday afternoon and visited Kibera, one of the largest slums in the world, and the largest urban slum in Africa. In it we found a small school that aspires to bring hope to the children that live in the slums.
“No education is free in Kenya and the poor scrape to make it. Sometimes they cannot afford to go to the schools but there are people that care, and sacrifice. Today I met two of these angels. Both grew up in Kibera, one losing his mother to HIV. They are both young and striving to build their own careers but do not forget where they came from. They give back by working with the young kids running around the streets and giving them hope.” -Abel Gutierrez