For Kathrine, the country and people of Kenya hold a special place in her heart.

Kathrine surrounded by a group of special mothers

By Kathrine Seavill, Sponsor Services Manager

Dear Kenya

When I first heard that I was coming to visit you I was so excited! I was like a child on Christmas Eve with that lovely bubble of excitement inside bursting to get out. Ever since I was a small child, visiting Kenya was on my list of things that I most wanted to do so to have the opportunity to visit with you was a dream come true.

I thought I was really prepared, after all I had read the statistics about you and I had spoken to colleagues about their visits and even read the “Lonely Planet Guide” so I thought I was really well prepared! Nothing was going to upset or shock me! (Boy was I wrong.)

My first sight of you was amazing you really put your best face on! As we flew over you and came into land we saw Mount Kilimanjaro rising majestically out of the clouds and that bubble was about ready to burst.

During my visit with you I discovered that you have beautiful sunsets, sunrises and wonderful scenery and of course the amazing wildlife that you are so famous for. Your best asset though is your people: they are a proud, kind and respectful people who during my visit I experienced nothing but kindness from. Your children are absolutely delightful and I had great fun playing with them and learning about their lives.

Unfortunately you also have staggering poverty but again I was struck by how resilient your people are. I saw how much the children value their education and how hard their parents work to provide a basic living for their children and themselves. During my visit the bubble of excitement slowly deflated and I was left with a feeling of some sadness at the poverty but more a feeling of being proud at working for ChildFund New Zealand and being able to see firsthand the difference we have made and are continuing to make in the lives of the children and their families and communities.

I also learned that you are a great teacher! I learned how to make friends with people I cannot talk the same language to, I learned how important it is to feel understood, I also learned that sometimes that it is the quiet moments that mean the most, I learned that it is possible to get annoyed with cute, African babies, I learned that really small actions can mean much more than I expected. I learned how to say “Thank you” in Swahili.

I have been lucky enough to visit you twice now and I hope to visit you again maybe for a holiday sometime soon. Until I meet you again it is my hope and dreams for you that no mother will ever have to put her children to bed hungry, that babies will be born safely and grow up healthy and happy, that no child will have to go without an education and that no father wll despair that he cannot provide for his family, that no parent will ever have to mourn the loss of a child because of a preventable disease.

Until my dreams are realised ChildFund New Zealand and all our wonderful donors will walk beside you helping you and your people to be the best that you can be.

Until we meet again Kia Kaha (Be strong) Kenya!

Much love
Kathrine

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