Posted by: hilarycole | December 29, 2007

Remembering the alternative

Being at home with family, just in time for Christmas, is a gift in itself. But my time in Kenya was simply too short. I am, however, reminding myself that the alternative was no trip at all.

The two worlds are so vastly different that it’s proving difficult to keep my focus on the people and projects that occupied my last seven weeks and will continue to be part of my life. Before the New Year, my daily routine will return to what it was before I left, but I’ve vowed to dedicate some time to furthering those projects from where I now sit. That means establishing a web presence for new projects looking for volunteers, and connecting people in the western world who need some direction on where and how to help, to people and programs that are worthy of (and endlessly grateful for) their time and resources. If you’re one of those people, or just beginning to contemplate the idea, let me know; I can hook you up.

It’s difficult this time of year, to reconcile our lifestyles within the grand scheme of the planet; there’s no greater contrast than that of street children in Africa and Christmas in North America. There is joy in sharing gifts and feasts with family and friends, but it takes a concerted effort to accept and enjoy annual traditions when you have a direct link to what could otherwise be provided if we skipped over just 20 per cent of it all.

I spent my last day in Kenya visiting the lunch program started by Bart Sullivan, with thanks to his Vancouver yoga community for donating funds, and Mama Mercy. After I left for my month in the western province, the two decided the funds would be best spent on feeding the children of Kware and Rongai during their five-week break from school (and their only guaranteed meal they get each day). What evolved in the vast, dusty church ground was a place for more than 120 children to run, jump, skip rope, play football, pray, sing and laugh for hours before being served a hot meal. And the women who cooked are being paid for their work. As a bonus project, Bart decided the children should all get baskets of food for their guardians or families to take home after their Christmas pagent. He put the pledge out to his online community for donations, and they answered in spades. Here’s how well it worked: I was sadly en route to Newfoundland by the time the pagent happened, so I’m grateful for technology giving me a taste.

Having seen first hand, the act of giving in this part of the world can elevate joy to a whole other level. I highly recommend it.



  1. Hilary!! I wondered why I never heard from you and now I have read exactly why….. So maybe this means you are meant to stay in touch with me 🙂


    P.S. I miss Kenya…

  2. Erin – I’m somehow hoping a message gets sent to you through your e-mail this way – you commented on my blog about my lost contact book and then didn’t leave your e-mail!! Send please, and everyone else’s you have. Specifically, I need Eric’s.

    I hope you’re well. Take good care.

    p.s. fill me in on what’s on your “plate” right now…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: