Mambo (Hello) from Kenya!

I departed Denver ahead of the big snowstorm and arrived in sunny Kenya twenty-five hours later. Despite my jet lag, I can’t wait to visit the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy. The school’s security guards are always first to welcome me when I step out of the car. They help me carry my overstuffed bags of donations to the dormitory. I stop by the kitchen to greet the cooks who are already preparing lunch for 150 students and 30 staff. 

I continue to the teachers’ lounge for a round of hugs and the best cup of chai tea. I peek into each classroom to wave hello to the girls. I participate in Mr. Sammy’s physics class with the juniors in the science lab to learn about the bending of light. 

I climb to the top of the dormitory to take in my favorite view of Kibera. It’s a beautiful day. The girls’ laundry is waving in the breeze. The bustling community sprawls out before me. Busy shops, women cooking over charcoal fires, tin-roofed homes, children running about the dusty red pathways, the local mosque calling people to midday prayers. I’ve missed this place. 

During the yummy lunch of githeri and sukutash, I take selfies with students who’ve known me for years and introduce myself to the 9th graders. The juniors and seniors inquire about last year’s visitors. How is so and so doing and when will they come back? You are always in their hearts.

In the afternoon, I float between classes. Madame Dalifa is teaching Chemistry, Madame Ashar is teaching Kiswahili, Madame Lilian is teaching English and Madame Mondestah is teaching history. The girls are engaged in their learning. They read along, ask questions, and come to the board to show their work. 

It feels great to be back. To be in a place where women are leading, where girls are thriving, where classmates and teachers are family.

Asante sana (thank you) for making this school possible.