Kenya - Lots of Love


I didn't travel to Kenya to find love.  And I certainly didn't expect to find it there.   But my visit to Kenya in June, 2016 was filled with love.

Majo Arana is a Peruvian woman living in Nairobi, Kenya.   Even though we had never met, she welcomed us into her home where we spent five nights.    It didn't take long to realize that Majo is a very special person.

She works a regular job during the week, but on the weekends, she spends her time volunteering at the Magoso school in Kibera, the largest urban slum in Africa.  The school is really an orphanage.   Most of the children were abandoned on the streets of Kenya.  Many have HIV and other medical problems.  I knew this before I arrived.  What I didn't expect to find was a place filled with so much happiness and love.

We arrived at the school after walking through the Kibera slum.   We had hired two police officers to escort us since we were carrying thousands of dollars worth of TV equipment.   NEVER have I experienced something like this.   It is hard to imagine that anyone could live in the conditions we saw.  The smell of raw sewage permeated the air and the lack of any kind of sanitary system was evident.  

As we approached the school, a young man came out and said "Do you want me to show you a cool place to shoot some video?"   That was not the first thing I expected to hear.    He introduced himself as "Tony" and said he was also a volunteer at the school.    As we chatted, he explained that he wanted to be a videographer and singer one day.    Like many of the current students at the school, he had been abandoned and had grown up inside the orphanage.   Now he comes back to volunteer.    The love that he had for what the school had done for him was evident in every word he spoke.   

Majo showed us around.   Her face beaming with love as she said hello to everyone.    She introduced us to the head of the school and several of its staff.   The school survives on donations.  Many of the students require expensive medications that are all paid for by the Gates Foundation.

The staff told us that the students had a surprise for our visit.   And what a surprise it was.  They all gathered in the courtyard to sing and dance.   I couldn't help but join in.  

Steve Hunsicker and Majo Arana dancing with students at the Magoso school in Kibera, Kenya

I felt surrounded by love.  The love that the teachers and staff had for the students and the love that the students obviously had for each other.   

My new friend Tony told me he had just started his own YouTube Channel.   And he continues to post new videos.   His story gave me hope.   Even with all the love surrounding these students, you know that many of them don't have a lot of options.  It was great to see someone like Tony making something of himself.

Majo had known Tony for a while and said he didn't have an easy time.   But she was proud that he had turned his life around and was moving in a positive direction.

As we left the safety of the gated walls of the school, we headed back into the slum of Kibera.   But now instead of feeling shocked by my surroundings, I found myself filled with love.


You can see the video of the slum beginning at 10:20 in the first video clip below.  Our interview with Majo is in the first episode of "Peruanos en el Mundo" posted below.  The video at the school begins at  13:15.  (Even if you don't know a single word of Spanish, the tour of the school with Majo is worth watching. ) 

The visit with Majo wasn't the only amazing experience of the trip to Kenya.  In the second episode of "Peruanos en el Mundo" linked below, we headed to Naivasha.  It was there we met another wonderful Peruvian named Claudia Palao.   She treated us to our own African Safari, right on her farm.   The video of our safari with all the African animals begins at 4:05.   Claudia has a bed and breakfast on the farm.  She and her husband Pierluigi are wonderful hosts.  

This post is part of my series "One Photo - One Country."  I'm am selecting one photo and writing one story from every country I have visited.   Your comments and questions are welcome.  

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  1. Thank you very much for highlighting me as I give hope to the world. Tony from magoso kibra