For this Valentine's Day, our Co-Founder Jeremiah Kuria and his wife Mary, retell their love story to inspire us to LOVE and #liveubuntu
J: Mary and I grew up in the same village so I had always known her in our childhood. We went to the same schools, same church but never talked to each other beyond saying hello.
I always noticed her during our high school years and thought she was very cool, beautiful and a very charming girl. I admired the way she did her things and how she related with her friends. Not to mention that she was very smart. But I never tried to make a move to befriend her.
While in college I wrote a letter to her and requested to meet her during the school break (the old school way of reaching out to a girl)
M: We have known each other all our lives. We went to the same elementary and high school. We used to talk, but nothing romantic. When I was in my second year in college I received this random letter from Jeremiah requesting for a meeting during the holidays. I didn’t think of it as a big deal because he was not among the people I thought I could ever be involved with. I just used to admire him because he was this young man who was so committed in the church and always used to dress very nicely. I was very outgoing but he was very shy so there was no way I was going to date a shy guy.
J: We met during the school vacation and we hit it off. Our letter writing continued and we started hanging out quite often and realized that we actually loved each other so much.
M: I agreed to meet with him and that is when everything changed. He was not shy anymore and he was very charming. From our talk I realized that he was very loving and he still is! From then we started exchanging letters very frequently and spending a lot of time together during school breaks. I still remember how I would go to the mailbox to check for his mail almost every day and feel so bad if I didn’t find one. That was the only way to communicate. We did not have phones then. Our love continued growing and then he proposed to me. There was no way I could have said no. In fact I was waiting for it.
J: I proposed for marriage and we have been friends and partners since.
20 YEARS WITH UBUNTU
J: 2020 brings a celebration of 20 years of Gods faithfulness with Ubuntu. 20 years ago two humble hearts were united in purpose with efforts of making a difference in the lives of the Maai Mahiu community. Little did we know that this friendship was going to grow and create what we have today.
This journey has taught me a lot of patience and has helped me to keep my Faith. Tons of lessons learnt in the 20 years and I can say trust has been tried and tested many times.
The hard times have kept us together and has helped us to trust God that all will be ok.
M: The twenty years in Ubuntu has been crazy. There are some decisions that Jeremiah has made which have greatly affected our family but with all that there are a few things I have learnt. In life you have to have courage to take some steps which might not make sense to anybody else. As long as you believe in what you are doing that is all that matters. Another thing is that you have to be you. Be unique. It does not matter what anybody else thinks about how you do your things. You do not need to do your things the way everybody else is doing them.
We have learnt to trust and to have hope even when things don’t look promising. Being in Ubuntu has taught us that friendship does not need to be conditional. We have applied all these lessons to our marriage and it has worked miracles.
...AND 20 MORE!
M: For the next 20 years, I hope the center will be able to serve 100+ kids, have special need friendly bus and more than 60 employees. A fully furnished therapy room and a full operational clinic with a full time doctor. The best center in Kenya.
Within the next 20 years we will retire and I can see us going to the land visiting the café for coffee, visiting with kids, reading story books for them and just telling everybody how Ubuntu started. I also see us visiting with our grand kids who will be in the US and visiting the US office and just having long talks with all the partners. I hope we will not be bored to death.
J: In the next 20 years I know I will be retired and can’t wait to see the growth of this wonderful organization. I always dream of walking the land with a cane and telling stories of our journey to all the young men and women who will come to learn about serving the community. I look forward to creation of more jobs and running a center like no other in Africa that caters for the health and educational needs of children with special needs. Ubuntu will be the hub of knowledge and a center to address the neurological challenges for many children.
Love is the permission to be yourself with no fear of judgement and from there growth has no limits.