My name is Jesus (Jesse) Ceballos and we are now one week away from leaving Kenya, and this experience is the most amazing thing I have ever done and has completely changed my life.
I come from a family that struggles to get by and lives in poverty in Southwest Santa Rosa which is a pretty bad part of town with gang activity and car accidents every couple of days. I have always been appreciative of everything in my life, but this trip showed me I have way more than I believed I did. The things I have witnessed, whether it was visiting the homes of the children at CHI, or just driving down the street, show me that the poverty and problems that we have back home are nothing compared to the things that go on in Kenya.
There are so many things I could address, but the first of many that have stood out to me was visiting the homes of the children and seeing their living conditions. Going into the homes and talking to the parents, I heard some heartwarming and even heartbreaking stories. Most live in rundown houses with one room and no kitchen, no separate rooms and even have to get water from a well outside. In one case specifically the mother was pregnant and didn’t have enough money to deliver her baby and even broke down in tears because of the trauma she goes through on a daily basis. The other CHI participants were so touched, they donated the money for her to go to the hospital. She ended up having a girl and named her Gift. This had a huge impact on me since I come from a family with a single mother who struggled but always had a smile on her face and told me “everything is okay” even when she was breaking down inside.
The second event that completely changed my life was meeting a little boy named Melvin. Every single time he saw me he would run up to me with the most beautiful smile on his face to give me a hug. I made it part of my everyday routine to give him a hug and have a conversation with him. He wrote me a letter saying he loved me and that I was his best friend and later that day I talked to Jordan and James about sponsoring Melvin. I am now going to pay for his school fees and his school uniforms. This one boy has completely filled my heart with joy and love beyond anything I have ever felt. When I had a meeting with him and his mother he was so grateful. Melvin and his mother cried and gave me the biggest, most heartwarming hug and I am so happy I met him. Melvin is such an inspiring boy and I’m so grateful to have met him and become part of his life.
This trip is the most eye opening thing I have ever experienced. There are probably over fifty other things I could talk about from the safaris to becoming friends with employees at a hotel, but overall Kenya is the most beautiful country I have seen in my entire life. Everyone lives in such hard and bad conditions but keeps a smile on their face, and I make it a priority to talk to everyone I encounter. I’ve made friends with people from Mombasa to Masai Mara, and every single person here is amazing, and I’m so grateful and blessed to have experienced such a beautiful part of the world. This trip is truly a blessing.
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