“Kijabe means joy to me,” says Darlene Smith, a Garden Spot Village resident since August 2014. On Friday, September 28 Darlene and a team of 9, which included residents, staff and family members, traveled 7,443 miles from New Holland to Kijabe Kenya to serve with CURE Kenya on a recent Garden Spot Village Travel with Purpose Trip. After nearly 24 hours of traveling they landed in Nairobi, Kenya and the real adventure began.
Sunday included church at the Methare North Mennonite Church in the slums of Nairobi, and a day of sightseeing and connecting with Clair and Beth Good, Mennonite Central Committee staff who live in Nairobi.
On Sunday afternoon the group began the drive to Kijabe, where the work of building relationships, offering hope and the love of Jesus began.
CURE Kenya’s hospital has 24 beds and the week the team was there each bed was full and the surgical ward was filled with kids and their families—many who had traveled many miles—to discover CURE’s “healing that changes everything.” The team volunteered at the hospital Monday through Friday and then enjoyed a two day Masai Mara safari before returning to New Holland on October 9.
Darlene was delighted with the atmosphere of the hospital, which was so unlike hospitals in the U.S. She says, “It was more like daycare. The children were happy, running around, laughing. They bounce back so quickly and they are so resilient.”
Darlene spent much of her time in the playroom, connecting one-on-one with children and their caregivers. As she recalls the names of the children she met, Jecinta, Ian, Precious, Francis, her love and compassion for them is evident.
She says, “I’ve left a mark on their lives, but they left a bigger mark on me…. My heart will always be there.”
She continues, “I’ve been searching to find my purpose. I want to do more than give money. During this trip I found my purpose. I want to help more people around the world.”