In 2012, through Eagle Creek’s Live.Work.Travel. program, I volunteered in Kilifi, Kenya with an organization that rescues street children from abuse. Many Hopes provides an education, a place to live, appropriate care, mentorship, and legal aid to girls left abandoned or removed due to physical abuse.
Eagle Creek does this incredible thing where they gift employees with an extra 5 days of PTO if we serve with a not-for-profit organization. And so, I did just that. I had met one of the founders, Thomas Keown, when I was living in Boston five years prior. So, when it came time to think about where I wanted to volunteer, Many Hopes was at the top of the list. I was able to volunteer with the organization for 10 days – and those 10 days flew by. The girls were delightful and the staff is absolutely moving mountains out in Kenya.
The whole experience was incredible. And yes, it was incredible to see a part of the world I hadn’t yet seen… but the trip was even more incredible because of the girls.
It was also soul-jeering, heart-breaking, and unsettling to know that each of the girls I was working with had been a street child or victim of abuse. Yet, when I met them, saw them for the first time, they were just little girls. Sweet, young children and adolescents whose eyes were those of children wanting to connect, learn, and play. And so, we did. And it brought me life.