Sunday Mass & The Walk-a-Thon by Ali
Sunday was a day filled with faith, fun, and community. We started the day by attending church with the children from Red Rhino along with the children that have become a part of Red Rhino’s outreach program which is now between about 60 and 70 kids. As I mentioned in my earlier post, this program “provides school fees, uniforms, meals at school and supplementary food for local village children previously unable to afford to attend school. For the three months of school holidays during the year, the community kids spend one day a week at Red Rhino enjoying our facility with our children.” The priest was very kind and said Mass partly in Swahili and partly in English so that we would be able to understand. Many of the young girls were dressed in beautiful white dresses and the many of the boys in black pants, a white button up shirt, and black bow ties as today was a very, very special day. Mass lasted about two and a half hours and during that time, we watched as Dennis and Cynthia (two of the children from Red Rhino), were baptized into the Christian faith and accepted Jesus into their lives. We also were able to witness several of the other children from Red Rhino receive their First Holy Communion. It was a huge blessing to be able to be a part of such an incredible service. My dad, Pat, is the Godfather to all of the children so this was particularly special to him.
After mass, we all headed back to the property for lunch. The house mothers made a delicious feast for the approximately 200 people that were there to attend the walk-a-thon, which consisted of the children at the Red Rhino home along with the children involved in the outreach program and their families. There was rice, soup, potatoes, goat meat, homemade chapati bread (my personal favorite), and the kids’ personal favorites- Fanta and Coca Cola. Dave said a beautiful prayer over the food and explained the happenings of the afternoon. Everyone enjoyed the delicious food and good conversation and we learned the stories of many of the people in attendance. Once everyone was finished eating, we disbursed the walk-a-thon T-shirts designed by the International Outreach Club at St. Mary’s High School in Stockton. The shirts were a TOTAL hit and the kiddos were so grateful. Around 3PM, it was time to start the 5k walk!
We will let the photos do the talking for how great the walk went because I don’t feel my words can do it justice but I will say this- the Red Rhino Outreach Program is touching the lives of so many people both directly and indirectly. These children have a zest for life that I admire. We heard aspirations of what they wanted to be when they grow up and I have every ounce of faith in them that they will reach those goals and dreams.
After the walk, the kids continued the fun on the playground and Ronah hired a Zumba instructor to lead them in a dance class. We couldn’t believe that after what we considered to be a somewhat challenging walk that the children still had uninhibited levels of energy. Maybe it was the Coca-Cola. Or maybe it was just the high spirits and zest for life we mentioned above. We are going to with the latter.
Words can’t express how hard it was to leave as this would be the last time we were able to spend time with the outreach children this trip. We wrapped our arms around them and said goodbye fighting back the tears as I find myself doing writing this entry. The car ride back to Dave & Ronah’s was a quiet one and my mom and I were no longer able to hold back the tears. We are so thankful to have met these incredible little humans and can’t wait to continue to watch them grow. We are very grateful for the difference the Red Rhino Project is making in their lives and in the community.