First Impressions

by Adam Boyd, Flying Kites Ambassador

I walked through the front gates at the Flying Kites children’s home for the first time and 26 amazing smiling children rushed me like you might to greet a celebrity. Immediately, Elias Macharia, formerly known as Mach, presently preferring Elias, took me by the hand to give me the grand tour of the house and grounds. One of the youngest children and a fantastic guide, Elias showed me the room in which I’ll be staying the next 6 months, and took me on a journey through the weight room, known as “The Vortex,” and the kitchen, where the matrons cook and laugh and drink chai. In the yard potatoes, carrots, cabbage, kale, cilantro, and other produce grow and nourish the children, staff, and volunteers. That evening everyone gathered in the sitting room and the children welcomed me with a song and dance.

The home sits at about 8,500 feet in the foothills of the Aberdare Mountain Range. The natural beauty around us is stunning. The luscious green mountains to the northeast rise swiftly to form an elephant-shaped ridge appropriately named Elephant Mountain. It slopes down into a river that winds through rolling pastures and the sound of the water is complemented by the soft ring from the bells of the grazing cattle and sheep. Meanwhile colobus monkeys jump tree to tree overhead. We are in such a peaceful part of the country. Far away from the pollution and violence that affect so many Kenyans.

The other day we took a bag of clothes to the family down the road. They make and sell charcoal for a living and are very poor. They greeted us warmly and welcomed us into their small, wooden home. With about 15 people crammed inside, the mother of the house went through our donated clothing, holding up every piece and the crowd ooh-ed and aww-ed as if it were Christmas morning. It was great to witness their joy at our small contribution, and eye-opening to see the poverty that people live in in our community. This experience made the amazing impact that Flying Kites has on the children’s lives, present and future, all the more evident.

My first two weeks at Flying Kites have been incredible. I look forward to what I will learn and how I will grow in the coming months. Thanks to everyone for all their support; for helping me, and these wonderful kids. Look for more to come

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