Return Volunteer Trip to Kitale, Kenya

"30 Days in Kenya"
 Summer 2013 in Kitale, Kenya

Video by Dominic Buchmiller

As many of you know, I went to Kitale, Kenya for the first time in 2012 through the Vincentian Lay Missionary (VLM) program. There was no way for me to know what was in store for me when I arrived in Kenya on that warm summer day. I was met with warm smiles, strong Kenyan handshakes, and curious looks from people of all ages. Soon after, the people that had greeted me would teach me about the power of community and more about the phenomenon that my good friend calls "family of choice." I learned the beauty of truly being present with the people I was with and I continue to be humbled by how people welcomed me into their homes and into their lives.

During my time in Kitale we put on a camp for the youth of the area that featured enrichment classes, arts and crafts, and outdoor games. Many of the children in the area are affected by the lack of resources when it comes to education and nutrition so from a young age some have to work to support themselves and their families. By providing a camp, we help enable the youth to take part in educational and fun activities while we are also able to serve them a good meal during each camp session.

Kitale is one of the many sites in the VLM family. The mission of VLM is to involve young adults in the ministry and service of St. Vincent de Paul by collaborating with the global Vincentian family"”the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity. Vincentians believe in creating lasting systemic change, living in solidarity with the people they serve, and promoting peace and dignity for all people.

I was fortunate enough to return to Kitale in the summer of 2013 as the coordinator and am returning for the summer of 2014 as well. As a coordinator, I will be assisting with preparations and directing the Kitale summer camp for the month of August. It will be challenging, but I am eager to learn more about what sustainable and long-term community based change looks like in Kitale since it is a relatively new site for VLM.

I want to invite you to become a part of the VLM story. I believe wholeheartedly in this ministry, and will be providing all of my own program expenses. However, these ministries continue to thrive and grow through the goodness of others! Donations to VLM have sponsored students' education, purchased a school bus for children who would otherwise walk miles to school, supported the growth of a new library project in Kitale, have broken ground for new buildings, and expanded our ministries all over Ethiopia and Kenya.

I ask that you consider giving a small donation to this program that has shaped me as a person. I will be seeing first-hand where your donation goes and can tell you it is providing resources to the community that we are working with in the Matisi area of Kitale, Kenya.  Any donation would be much appreciated.

We began a blog when we were in Kitale summer 2013 and plan on continuing in summer of 2014. I will be updating it throughout the preparations and as much as technology will allow when I am in Kitale. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at [email redacted].
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Emily Edwards 
Chicago, IL
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