Welcome to the first post of Three Blondes! I had to use this opportunity to introduce you to something really cool.
In July 2004 we were very blessed to be able to shoot Kim and Jeromy’s wedding. Such a fabulous couple! As is the case with many of our couples, they became our friends. We soon learned that they were waiting to adopt a little girl from Kenya. Kenya requires couples to be married 3 years before adopting. So they waited, for three years. A few months before their 3rd anniversary, Kim visited Kenya to visit the orphanage. While there, she felt that another child could also be added to their family. Jeromy agreed and they petitioned to adopt a little girl and a little boy. Once they were approved for adoption, they left in late July 2007 and headed to Kenya. Per Kenyan adoption regulations, one parent must stay in Kenya for the entire adoption process, about 7-9 months. Jeromy came home to work, and Kim stayed in Nairobi with Sundi and Damon. Kim opened the invitation to anyone who wanted to visit her while she stayed in Nairobi. So, in November 2007, I went to Kenya.
When I got to Nairobi, I met two very beautiful children - Sundi and Damon.
On our 2nd day there, we traveled to Lake Nakuru to go on Safari. Kenya is just beautiful.
The best part about the trip was visiting a school in Soweto, the 2nd largest slum in Kenya. The school is run by Pastor Samuel, a man Jeromy had met on his first trip to Kenya. At the time, the school had 52 students. Most of these students are street children with no real home to go to at the end of the day. If Samuel has enough, he can feed the children once per day. For many of the children, this is the only meal they receive.
This is the school, a corrugated tin building on a dirt road.
The children greeted Kim and me with songs. It is so cute to hear “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” with a child’s Kenyan accent. English is the predominant language of Kenya with Swahili a close second.
Here is a shot of the kids in class. I brought over some leftover Halloween candy for the kids. Keep in mind, most of them barely get one meal a day, they never get candy. Most of the candy I gave out were tiny boxes of Nerds. One little girl poured hers into her hand and offered to share with the two of us. Things like that are not uncommon. They have so little, but share everything they have with others. Because of the sugar rush, many crashed hard during lessons.
Here are just some of the beautiful faces of the students.
This poster is on the wall of the school. Notice that right under “Flowers Smell Nice” is “Aids has no cure”.
This is my “Where’s Waldo” picture. Can you find me and Kim?
What I realized during my visit was that we have just so, so much. But, the amount that the few of us could give to help this school and these kids isn’t enough to make the difference we want to see made. So, we started a non-profit.
We Are Kenya was formed to get these kids clothes, food, shelter, and education. If you have a few moments, please take a look at our website (just click on the name).
Everyone always asks me what I like best about shooting weddings. It’s the relationships we build. I met Kim and Jeromy at their wedding, now we are heading a non-profit together. We shot Becca and Tom’s wedding. Becca is Kim’s sister and Tom developed our We Are Kenya website. Kate is our graphic artist that came up with our amazing We Are Kenya logo, and she is the sister of one of our former grooms. We shot Erin and Matt’s wedding last year and now Matt heads up our fundraising team and Erin is our do anything, help with everything, keep Michelle as sane as possible person. These are amazing people that I would never have met if I hadn’t shot their weddings. I can’t imagine who I’m going to meet next.