Patina is the value that age puts on an object


"Patina is the value that age puts on an object" John Yemma

An object has “patina” through an oxidation process that yields greens and browns and blues on its surface, over time. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about patina - not in terms of pretty copper but more in terms of friendship.

We all have friendships that have weathered the test of time and we consider them to be some of our truest treasures. We are given a window into ourselves and another, albeit sometimes humbling, through these friendships that acquire a beauty and a sheen over a decade, two or three.

When we first met Mama Ada over 13 years ago, her smile was new to us. Since then, we have been blessed to be with her and other Kenyan friends on many occasions. Hand in hand, we have created an organization that provides terrifically effective life-changing opportunities to students and to farmers. Collectively, I believe that we are all very proud of this work, fundamentally made possible through friendship.

We have sent email upon email, message upon message that crisscross the ocean. Together, we have pored over details of delivering scholarships and seeds, working along with Mama Ada, Bishop Rutto, and Rev. Wilson at the Eldoret Anglican Diocese, as well as so many friends like Dan Kuto, Joel Sawe and Isaac Tarus, to name just a few in Kenya, as well as countless and devoted volunteers in the United States. Policies have been developed, an advisory council and three local committees have been formed, and prayers have been said.

And through it all, we have stood firm in the heartfelt knowledge that we simply love one another.

This love and our faith have been our touchstones, as we maneuver the details of work together, as we seek to travel forward in unity, constancy and peace. Our eyes have remained on the prize of serving others, when we could have gotten consumed by less constructive issues or problems that inevitably arise for all of us from time to time in life. Even now, there is a dire challenge for our farm friends at St. James in Kabuson, as they face harrowing difficulty from weather and pests.

But we will forge ahead, with the students and the farmers ever present in our hearts and in our prayers.

So next time your gaze falls on an object with patina, remember that such beauty in friendship can only come from a love that stands the test of time, a love that seeks first to see the good in another, with forgiveness and grace ready constants too. And we thank God for such a love that has endured at The Mama Ada Foundation.

- Julie Keller