As we walk into the Busy Bees classroom at Ubuntu Life Foundation, the children and teachers joyfully scream in unison, hands in the air cheering, warmly welcoming me back to Kenya. My heart is full, I too respond throwing my hands in the air, smiling ear to ear under my facemask as I sit down in a mini chair close to the kiddos who are all gathered in a circle on the multi-colored rug. One of the more bold and enthusiastic kiddos stands up, walks around the circle, and starts to give full contact love hugs first to Jeremiah then to me, and closes it out to our head of school, Mary Thuo.
Being in the presence of our Ubuntu Kids and being back, immersed into our Ubuntu Life Foundation program brings with it this vital reminder to our humanity. We are more than our accomplishments, greater than our schedules, deeper than our possessions and vacations. We are at our core, fragile, vulnerable, emotionally in need creatures who desperately need to be hugged, need to belong, need to feel needed. Our Ubuntu Kids have a special way of stripping down these barriers quickly and getting right to it, “Are you going to hug me back? Are you going to put your phone down, look me in the eye, and smile with me? Are you going to laugh and play with me?” Yesterday I had the blessing of being immersed back into this world, the world that started this whole Ubuntu thing for Jeremiah and me. And on top of all of that, I also had the opportunity to learn from our Ubuntu Life Foundation team. I got to witness the power of their lives of incredible service to our kiddos and their families. Our UL Foundation program is at an all-time high attendance rate as well as an all-time high engagement from the parents. Parents are not only showing up monthly to our parent-teacher meetings but also paying on time. All of this is due to the excellence of our team, their commitment, the level of care they are providing for our kiddos, and how thoroughly they are communicating this progress daily to the parents. It is remarkable to see, and I don’t think I’ve ever been this impressed with what is happening here at Ubuntu Life.
Walking the grounds of the newly built and almost finished Children’s Wellness Centre (CWC) was also equally inspiring yesterday. It is easily ten times the size of our current space which will provide immediate opportunities to enhance the care we are giving to our current students and patients. This new structure and additional space will bring significant growth potential to expand the entire program. When I think about the countless lives that will be impacted for years to come, I am reminded that when Jeremiah and I started this, our desire was to both live into a calling that served the communities most marginalized people, but also a deep longing to build something that would outlive us. We are on our way thanks to our incredible team of educators, healers, medical professionals as well as our generous Tribe Heart members and donors who have continued to believe in this vision and understand our basic human need to care for each other and to belong…UBUNTU!
Big Love, Zane
To learn more about Ubuntu Life Foundation, please visit their website here.