My time in Maasai land has come to an end and what an adventure it has been. It was the hardest assignment thus far but ultimately the most rewarding and impactful. I’ve realized a lot of things and I’m still processing others, as always. Something that has been engrained in me deeply is advocacy. Whole-hearted advocating, without regard for the situation surrounding you. Luckily, as a nurse I’ve been trained every day to speak up for my patient even if I am the only one talking and everyone seems to be against me. It took years of training, tears, and feeling judged but ultimately it has led to stronger self-confidence and following what your gut says is right.
In Maasai land after much investigation about the food situation at school, I spoke up. Without asking questions, learning the situation, or advocating for these children to eat there would be no lunch for them for the foreseeable future. They would be hungry during the school day until someone decided to question the situation or act and do something about it. Luckily, after reaching out to Because ALL Children Matter, swift action was taken – the kids had a porridge program within a week! With donations, maize and beans were purchased and the kids will have lunch for the rest of the term!
Speaking up is the easy part.
The hard part is understanding poverty. Understanding that you can’t help everyone. Understanding that you cannot drain your own bank account to help others. Understanding that you have to say no sometimes.
What I have come to terms with is not offering money, but always offering food. There have been many disagreements with friends about how homeless people don’t want your food all they want is “money for drugs.” But I’ve always said – you don’t know their story or how they ended up on the street or how hungry they are. Even if 99% of people you offer food to say no and the last one says yes – you fed someone hungry. How awesome is that?
We don’t understand true hunger in the westernized world. I for sure don’t, but all I can do is speak up, advocate for those in need, and have no fear. Fear is another tricky subject, fear holds us back so much. I have been blessed or cursed with little fear, not sure which one yet! I got to a point in my life where I was so sick of being scared. Sick of being scared to get on a flight alone or go to a certain place alone because I look a certain way or because of my gender. I got so fed up that my disgust with my fear overpowered my actual fear, thus landing me here. I’m feeling my personal impact and it’s making Kenya a bigger part of my heart every day. I’m very thankful for my awesome company for being able to take quick action, stand up for children, and show the world that sometimes you just need to speak up.