Posted by: Tom Kubik
I'll tell you where to find Hope. Plug this one into Google Maps: -0°4'44"N 34°45'53"E
From the other side of the world, here in Kenya, there are girls that are flourishing in their education, priming to be the next leaders of their households, of their region, or even their country. The girls of Akili choose education over all else to ensure better lives for themselves and for their families. They know that the fruits of their current efforts are not harvested today, and that's OK, because, when that fruit is ripe, it will be sweeter than any that came before it, and that it will only become sweeter each harvest. David, Erick and the rest of the Akili team has proven over the last 4 years that they are the farmers of Hope, quickly building a school from a small room into a borrowed building to their nearly completed new boarding school, where they will transform the lives of generations to come. The new school will eventually be self-sustaining with multiple farming projects to provide food and income to the school.
I boarded the matatu leaving Obunga and Kisumu behind me, and with it, leaving the shining faces of HOPE at Akili Preparatory School.
Instant gratification is a western concept that has entrenched itself in my culture. The abundance and availability of every physical thing that I could possibly want, relatively easily, shipped to my door in two days or less, or the information available at our fingertips instantly and with precision has often led me to frustration if I can't see it or touch it or feel it now. That's how I used to look at giving; not in a conscious way, but it was hard for me to see the value in it when I was used to paying and then immediately receiving. Life in Kenya has forced me to slow down and observe the change over time. During my month here, I printed many of the photos I've taken and passed them on to the subjects who lended themselves to my lens. I think about how they might look back at these photos in 20 or 30 years and reflect on the way their lives have transformed. It was a reminder that the little things we do today don't flip a community upside down, and even if we could, that's not the right way. Change comes from within one's self, gradually and over time. We hold hands in solidarity with the people that want to walk and march forward slowly and surely into the future not dwelling on what has been, but relishing in what will be.
If you want to reconnect with the deep gratitude involved in progress by planting the seeds, David and Erick accept in-kind donations as well as sponsorship of children and teachers. (Please visit our Get Involved page). They still need help reaching their fund-raising goal so they can finish the boarding school. I hope you can sprinkle some seeds of change, not worrying about what will happen tomorrow, but only thinking about the harvest of the future.
Visit my website (www.tomkubikphoto.com) to follow the rest of my journey with Mama Hope, and to see more photos!
Riley Orton Foundation
Riley Orton Foundation (ROF) provides holistic education and promotes gender equality in STEM education to ensure girls and a community with the agency to realize their full potential