Yes, We Will and Yes, With Love.
This is a very personal blog. I thought about writing of the recent accomplishments of The Mama Ada Foundation, such as our exciting and upcoming trip with agricultural experts to visit farm friends in Kenya. To be sure, there is much to celebrate at The Mama Ada Foundation. However, something else tugs at me today. You see, we were not able to raise funds for all the students who needed Mama Ada scholarships this year; we so wish that we had been able to give more young people a gift for education. We worked very, very hard to raise lots of funds and it wasn’t enough for all of the students who desperately want to go to school.
Just as I receive news of the Kenyan farmers and their fears about too much rain or not enough rain, I also receive messages from friends in Kenya about the students, their neighbors, whom they love well and truly. These messages come in from Kenya during the night sometimes, and if I’ve forgotten to turn off my phone, the ring of the incoming text awakens me. If I’m fully woken, I’ll glance over at my phone to see the fervent requests for scholarship funding come in. If I’m able to fall asleep again it’s to a more restless sleep, with the dreams of students weaving through my own dreams.
In the morning, I wake to life in the United States. I went to high school for free. No tuition required. I tripped through high school completely unaware of my privileged existence to easily obtain that diploma, which would be a true and cherished treasure to my Kenyan friends. When I receive emails and Facebook messages about all the students who dream to go to school, I cannot help but sometimes wonder how it will ever be possible to raise enough money for all of them. There are needs in so many places of the world. In fact, there are painful needs right here in the United States. When I’ve been out asking for donations for The Mama Ada Foundation annual gala fundraiser, a few people have reminded me of our needs in the United States and asked why I’m working around the world.
I will tell you why. I love students and farmers in Kenya because I fully believe, to the bottom of my heart, that we all must reach out and love others, here there and everywhere. This might be in Kenya, or Minnesota or Florida or New York or Spain or wherever…..take your pick, find your calling, listen to a whisper. There are heartbreaking needs everywhere. A Bible verse that I’ve remembered since I was a young child is the one that goes something like: to whom much is given, much is expected. I believe this, yes I do. Even as I know we’re all given much, each one of us on this earth…..let’s face it, some of us have more financial resources right now. Not one for statistics, I still know that I live in a pretty high percentage for a whole host of global well-being indicators.
“ I love students and farmers in Kenya because I fully believe, to the bottom of my heart, that we all must reach out and love others, here there and everywhere. ” - Julie Keller
So as I walk into Starbuck’s to get a cup of coffee, the messages continue. They call out to me and to us, asking that we read them once, twice, three times. That we let these messages sink in. They ask us to love more and more completely. They ask us to hear the dreams of people from around the world and right next door. They ask us not to get tired or to stop, falling into our own occasional failures and the indulgence of self-pity. Instead, these messages ask that when we fall seven times, we stand up eight. They might prompt me to remember the words from the Book of Common Prayer, asking that I seek forgiveness for things done and things left undone. They do ask that we not indulge in regrets of what hasn’t happened or what could happen “if only”, but instead that we continue to climb that mountain, holding hands with beloved others.
These messages ask us to say “Yes we said yes we will yes.” And yes…..we will, with love. Yes, we will and yes, with love.
P.S. If you would like to make a donation (of any size) for a student to attend school in Kenya, please go to www.mamaadafoundation.org- Julie Keller