I want to tell about a family man I have met in Nairobi, Kenya last January. But first, let me tell you how I ended up in Kenya.
It was towards the end of 2011, when I started to feel the ‘need’ of helping others more than usual. I have been doing the usual ‘helping’ around my town for some time, but I wanted to do a bit more. I wasn’t sure what and how to do it. I didn’t want to just donate some money to an organization either. I needed to know ‘who I am helping’ and see if it really works for the long term and not just for a month or couple months.
So I started my research. As I was surfing I came across International Volunteering HQ. Looked quite interesting, so I contacted them. Soon enough they arranged a volunteer program for me in Kenya Maasai (just south of Kajiado – 90kms south of Nairobi) to work with primary school students. I paid the fees, booked my tickets and off I go…
After a week of malnutrition and the climate change, I had to go to Nairobi and rejuvenate. I checked into a hostel and I asked the keeper to find me a driver. About 15 minutes later came PETER 🙂
After spending couple days together, a simple fact hit me. Peter and I were very much alike. We both love children, we both are or try to be a decent family man, we like working, and the most important thing in our lives is our family. The only difference between us was, besides the color of our skin; which doesn’t mean jack squat, the geographical difference of our birth place. And that’s it.
After seeing the economical instability, incredibly high prices on goods and the difficulties of the Kenyan people go thru, I asked about Peter’s financial situation. It was painful to hear his answer. The car he is driving belongs to another person. He makes about 30.000 KES (375 USD) per month on good season and he splits that with the owner of the car. From the remaining 187 USD he pays for gas and possible mechanical problems, his kids’ education, food, and for his 10 sq meter (about 107 sq feet) home. Which allows him to break even if there are no surprise costs/expenses.
To tell you the truth, his living conditions were a lot better than the people of Maasai where running water, electricity & sewer system do not exist. But nevertheless I wanted to help Peter and his family anyway I can.
After giving some thought, the best thing Peter and I could do was to buy a car so he can keep his monthly income for himself. A second hand ‘decent’ car, perhaps 8-10 years old, costs about 550.000-600.000 KES (7000 USD). This seemed to be the only logical (perhaps a permanent) solution for Peter’s situation.
So we made a pact. I promised him to send minimum of 250USD per month (about 20,000 KES) and he promised to not touch that money and keep the money in the bank until we accumulate 550.000 KES.
Yesterday, I made the 8th transfer and we have now 200.000 KES in the bank. Still a long way to go, but we will get there nevertheless. As Peter and I are around 40 yrs old we do not need too much in life, but our kids deserve the best. Every child in this world deserves a smile and a chance.
I hope to be able keep my promise and come back here and post a photo of Peter’s Car and his beautiful family soon.
Thank you for reading and sorry about my terrible writing skills 🙂