Do you remember the days in school when you couldn’t wait to go outside during recess to play with your friends? I remember it like it was yesterday. The bell would ring and I would run with excitement to meet my friends on the playground. My whole day was geared around recess. Never once did I think I would not have the chance to hang with my friends. The bell would ring and there we were, taking a much needed break (or so we thought) from the classroom. I never thought about how privileged I was to attend school or play with my classmates. I mean, why would I? It’s the American dream: send your kids to school, go to college, get a job and it’s that simple.
Well, it is not that simple. When I first visited the Seed’s Academy school with the Mighty Acorn Foundation, I witnessed firsthand how it is NOT that simple at all. I will never forget the children on the other side of the fence and the hopeless look in their eyes as long as I live. All around the parameters of the school were small children clenching on to the barbed-wire fence with the saddest look in their eyes. They would stand around and watch us interact with the school children on the playground. It was one of the saddest experiences of my life. I wanted to scoop them up one-by-one and let them play and learn with us and the school children.
I remember walking out of my classroom and seeing five small kids standing next to the fence and staring at me as I walked by. They looked so hopeless. I felt terrible! I thought to myself, I have to stop staring at them because my eyes started to well up and I did not want them to see me cry. I couldn’t get over the fact that these kids are not able to go to school. So there I was standing in the middle of the playground on the other side of the fence where hope and opportunity flourished. And then there was the other side of the fence where kids stood as hopeless onlookers. It was obvious…hope was hiding.
But on this day, hope was found and a ray of sunshine came through for the kids on the other side of the fence! Our very own, Denise Demarchis invited the kids into her classroom. This was a day of hope for the kids. They were able to be a part of the school community and no longer the hopeless onlookers. This was a very special day for them to BE KIDS. To learn and play with other kids AND to experience what it is that we take for granted here in America. You see, the children in Kitale, Kenya have to pay for school and the majority cannot afford it. So when you send your children off to school, please remember there are children out there less fortunate and literally spend their days standing on the other side of the fence looking in and dreaming of hope.