Today's the Day!
August 20, 2017
BENEFITING: HESHIMA KENYA INC
EVENT DATE: Jul 27, 2017
Last fall, I went to Kenya for the first time to meet the girls and staff at Heshima that I'd been talking to you all about for quite some time. It's been about a year since that trip, but I still have the exact moment that I realized why this organization's work is important tucked in my mind. It comes up often when I'm with my family, which if you know me, is as often as I can make possible.
During a field trip to Lake Naivasha, I sat next to a young woman, Marie* from the Congo. We took danced and sang along with the rest of the bus–teenage girls are teenage girls no matter where they're from. As we rolled along, everyone settled into a quiet lull, some napping and others doing homework. Marie and I scrolled through an insane amount of photos on my phone, laughing at some and discussing others. She was soon to be resettled to the US and eager to hear anything about American life. After a little while, she gingerly pulled out her own phone and started showing me photos of her friends, her life, her world. She stopped on one and pointed to a man with a serious face, decorated in elaborate military attire. “That was my dad,” she said. We lingered on the photo for a bit, and the realization sunk in that her use of the past tense was entirely intentional. I bit my tongue to hold back tears. I knew the kind of stories these girls had, and was certain that hers was just as emotionally wrecking, but hearing the love and heartbreak simultaneously in her voice was both shocking and stilling.
I am so lucky to have a beautiful, whole, loving family. I won't say that nothing goes wrong, but our problems are so very minimal compared to the conflict, separation, and loss that the girls Heshima Kenya serves have to endure. And so, because I have no idea how I was born into this life and not another, I want to dedicate my 24th birthday to the young refugee women at Heshima and raise $2,400 for our education and empowerment programs so girls like Marie can continue learning, growing, and carving out a path despite all that life has thrown their way. Join me in celebrating the potential of young women and purchase the easiest birthday gift ever! It's tax-deductible too...you're welcome. :)
*name changed for protection