It’s been quite an amazing two days as we wrapped up our work in Sierra Leone on Tuesday, January 9, and immediately headed to our next stop in Nairobi, Kenya. We arrived early this morning on January 10 to continue our work in this impoverished country.
To recap our final day in Sierra Leone, I can’t help but think about the many amazing experiences we all had. On our last day in Sierra Leone, we went to our school in BO to meet with hundreds of school children who filled our playground and classrooms with joy. The pictures included with this latest blog post reflect the hours we spent being with the children and how excited they were to see each of us; Sunday, Brian, Tracy, Andy, Nancy, Grover, Patrick, and myself. It was one of those experiences one does not easily forget, when you’re surrounded by so many children—all of whom want nothing from you but a little affection. In return, we all received immense love from each child. There are moments in life that words can’t adequately describe, and our morning spent at our BO school was one such experience. I, along with our entire Seven Hills team, will be forever moved by the raw power of human interaction enjoyed by all. I left Sierra Leone thinking about all that we have been able to do over the years and the many lives that we have touched, but to be clear, we have received far more than we have been able to provide.
Seven Hills Global Outreach, and our initiatives in eight developing countries, began as a small mustard seed of an idea, intended to touch the lives of people around the world who reflected our own Seven Hills employees. Over the past 14 years, I’ve been able to work alongside several of our Seven Hills staff, and an equal number of my own students from Clark university, who have put in countless hours and effort trying to do one good thing, and without asking for anything in return. To these ends, I think we accomplished that which we intended, and I look forward to the next decade. One filled with stories about our work around the globe with children and mothers, who come from the poorest of communities and have little to offer in terms of tangible gifts, but who bring an immense amount of love and gratitude for what we do to support them. We are already looking ahead for next year’s trip to Sierra Leone, and hope that between now and January 2025, we might be able to raise the fund needed to build a small classroom, connected to our existing Jordan Community Library. This addition will support older secondary school students. Secondly, we hope to build a satellite medical clinic to serve the remote bush villages. The new satellite school will serve hundreds of children who otherwise would never have the opportunity to learn, and the satellite clinic will be able to save more lives of children and birthing mothers. This is the essence of what we try to do at Seven Hills Global Outreach; to touch lives in simple yet meaningful ways and bridge the gaps between our communities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, and those in remote places like Sierra Leone and Kenya. It is hard work in hot places, where we are away from our loved ones back home. But it does make a difference, it does change lives, and it means a great deal to our Seven Hills employees from around the world. It is also of significance to those who follow our work and become donors and supporters so that they can also participate in uplifting the lives of the poor.
We leave behind us, our new and wonderful friends, Nancy and Grover Sherlin, who met us in Sierra Leone, and represent the many wonderful people in Garland Texas who have, for over a decade, provided financial support of our work. Nancy and Grover flew down from their vacation in Belgium, just to spend four days with us and witness for themselves the impact of the work that we have done in the communities in Sierra Leone. We wish them our warmest regards and a hardy “thank you,” for taking a leap of faith and spending this remarkable time with us in West Africa.
Late last evening, we boarded our plane in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and headed across the continent of Africa, landing in Nairobi early this morning. With only a bit of sleep among us, we had already planned to head out and meet with another organization we help support on the outskirts of Nairobi called Children’s Garden Orphanage. Children’s Garden began in 2005 by a man named Moses, who himself began life in a very troubled family and felt the misery and emotional pain of feeling unwanted and unloved. He began the orphanage as a way of helping street children and those children who have been abandoned in Nairobi, as well as to gain a sense of family and structure. We at Seven Hills Global Outreach first came to Children’s Garden in 2014, when a group of my Clark University students and Seven Hills employees traveled here to witness what we had only heard and read about, a place offering orphans hope for a better life. Since then, I’ve visited Moses and his growing family of orphan children over the years. Like those before, this trip has been remarkable and emotionally uplifting for us all. The children toured us through their school and then treated us to a musical performance. I met a baby, no older than 6 months, who had been abandoned at their doorstep 3 months earlier. Here she was now, a “family member” of Children’s Garden and being cared for by everyone! Children’s Garden has long relied upon Seven Hills for the limited support we offer each year, to buy food and clothing for the children they support. Once again, “if not us, then who?”
After our evening meal together and the nightly sharing of our very personal “pearls” of the day, Andy, Tracy, Brian, Sunday, Patrick, and I, look forward to an early morning to begin a new day supporting our efforts to uplift the poorest of the poor. Tomorrow, we head into the slums of Kibera to see the progress being made on the construction the newest of our SHGO schools. We will then meet with officials from the Kenyan government to determine where we might find ways to collaborate.
Our work will never be “finished,” but for each day we are here, another baby is helped or mother supported. And so, our efforts are worthwhile. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post.
—Dr. David Jordan