With Love to Toto Love

It was with great pleasure that I got to take the trip of a lifetime to Africa over our Fall Mid-Term Break! My husband and I travelled to Embu, Kenya to work at Toto Love Orphanage. This is a special home for eighteen children who have HIV, ranging in ages from four to eighteen years old. Our hearts melted when we arrived and met the wonderful children; they were so excited to welcome us into their home.

While we were visiting we worked together to give their walls a fresh paint job and tile their kitchen and bath. As we painted their walls the children enjoyed painting some rocks for their garden. They were all extremely appreciative and excited about our gifts of new school uniforms, picnics, books and games – all of which were made possible by the generous donations of the MBTS school community. The children also adored the letters that the LED students from MBTS had written and sent to them; I’ve been promised an email back very soon.

One especially amazing experience was when we went to their school. When we arrived, we were greeted by eager students, who were very excited to show us their classrooms and routines. Upon seeing the Days of the Week and Months of the Year posters in a Grade Two classroom, I burst into song and taught them our rhymes that go along. I was then joined by a large group of students on their playground, where I shared some of my favourite action songs, like “Bananas Unite!” Before leaving the school, we got invited to their kindergarten graduation, where the principal reminded the graduates of the importance and privilege of education in their community. As an educator, I found it extremely inspiring to connect with the students and see how enthusiastic and eager they are towards learning.

Prior to saying our goodbyes, we had a fun day at a playground, where we shared a chicken dinner and played for the afternoon. It was very emotional at times to see the need and conditions of their home, but then the children’s happy smiles and cheerful spirits quickly brightened those feelings.

Upon reflection, I just feel so touched by the happiness, determination, and appreciation of all the wonderful people we met on our travels.

Once again, thank you very much for all your generosity: your donations touched the hearts of many little ones who are far less fortunate. 

~ Ms. Keltie Barnes

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