Dear Friends of the Children of Makindu,
A young bull elephant rambled out of the bush 20 yards in front of our dusty troop of trekkers. He stopped and began slowly flapping his ears as a warning, deciding whether to charge or retreat. My heart jumped and adrenaline surged through me! Fortunately, he went back into the bush, but a not-so-calm voice in my head asked, “What in the world am I doing walking in the Kenyan wilderness!?”
The answer was I signed onto a Proper Walk – a long and arduous walkathon to raise much-needed funds for the Makindu Children’s Program. The Proper Walks, six so far, begin with a rousing kickoff celebration at the Children’s Centre in Makindu. Waiting for us was a long row of brightly uniformed children chanting, singing, dancing, beating plastic drums, and whistle blowing – with big endearing smiles that shined through a rising cloud of dust. The children looked so happy and healthy, not what I expected from reading about the devastating effects of the Sub Saharan AIDS pandemic.
I was witnessing a stunning example of the impact a few dedicated people and your generous support can have on the lives of children and an entire community. Nearly all of these children lost their parents to this tragic disease – “the big disease with a small name”, and yet, here they were before us singing about our bravery and thanking us for walking on their behalf in the land of the lion, elephant, and buffalo.
Following the opening celebration was a great feast of rice and goat and songs, dancing and many speeches. The children sat in the hot equatorial sun with rapt attention listening as one after another speaker addressed the assembled crowd. A young man named Babu stood up to speak. He passionately explained what the Centre had done for him and how he didn’t think he would be alive without the support and help it provided. He is now attending college to become a lawyer to fight for the underprivileged in Kenya, providing an inspiring example of hope for the younger children. Hope made possible by you.
That day I truly grasped the importance of MCP’s mission, made a reality through the support from friends like you, to improve the lives of these young innocent victims of the AIDS pandemic and chronic poverty. The Centre began in 1998 by helping 66 orphans. Now it touches the lives of over 1,200 children. During this holiday season, please give generously; no gift is more precious than the gift of hope for the children of Makindu.
Wishing you peace and hope,
MCP Board Member
P.S. You can see more photos of the children and donate with ease at www.makindu.org. Your support is so critical right now – please help us start the year off with a bang!