Plenty of stories arose from the time spent meeting the team in Minneapolis and flying on to Paris and Nairobi, but for me Mission Hope truly began in Tawa, at the Kakuswi Special School for the Deaf.
We started most days early in the morning, walking the roads with the many students on their way to local schools. Shy “good-mornings” uttered the first day became bolder as the week went on. The team would then gather for breakfast and fellowship before going over the day’s schedule and driving a short distance to the school.
We received a most gracious welcome from Timothy, the headmaster of Kakuswi, upon our first arrival at the school. Timothy is a true visionary, and we listened intently as he laid out plans for the school. The teachers introduced the children and there was dancing, singing, celebration and prayer! Happiness radiated from our team and from the Kakuswi students and staff.
The construction project involved preparing the walls and windows of the newly constructed dining hall for paint; once the prep work was complete, we worked on whitewashing the walls for the duration of our stay. Whether we were slapping concrete on the walls, scraping or whitewashing, we saw the progress made by our efforts!
While the work was fun and fulfilling, we were always most excited for the second part of the day. After tea, a few more hours of work and lunch we would return to the school to spend some quality time with the students. While the teachers would help us sign, we all found our own ways to communicate with each other, exchanging lots of laughs and smiles. We played hard each day, whether we were kicking around every kind of ball we brought, throwing the Frisbee, blowing giant bubbles, or having a balloon stomp brawl that was so much fun to watch our sides were splitting with laughter! Organized chaos was the name of the game each day, with the teachers right in the middle of it!
The chance to observe learning in the classroom was very eye-opening. What one teacher was able to accomplish while teaching two grades and having visitors was nothing short of amazing. The teachers at Kakuswi are truly devoted to helping the students become successful members of their community.
We also had the opportunity to do home visits, which were special and emotional no matter the student’s home situation. It was a privilege to visit the homes and witness the pride of the students and their families. It is clearly love – not possessions – that bring them joy.
So much happened at Kakuswi in such a short time: work, play, fellowship, laughter, tears, a new swing set, reflections, prayers, travel and even Mission Grow. Mission Hope and Kakuswi are changing the world!