On a small hill near the shores of Lake Victoria lies a school-Christ's Gift Academy. Since its establishment in 1997, C.G.A., as it is commonly referred, has been a beacon of hope to many people in Mbita, a small town in Kenya. I am one of these people.
Mbita town is one of the places in Kenya that was worst hit by the AIDS epidemic. By the 1990s there were so many orphans and widows living in complete destitution. So bad was the situation that many children were forced to drop out of school or not go to school altogether. Then came C.G.A.
Christ's Gift Academy was established by two American Missionaries; Don and Nancy Richards. They visited the small town of Mbita and saw the deep need for a school- a support system that would give a glimpse of hope to the orphans and widows of Mbita. In the words of Eyodor Dostoevsky, "To live without hope is to cease to live". These two groups had ceased to live and the establishment of C.G.A. gave them what they had lost a long time back-hope.
While I was not amongst the orphaned children, I was just as needy as they were. My father had lost his job and my mother was unemployed. I remember trying to make friends with the neighborhood kids whose parents could afford three meals a day so I could go over and eat at their house. At the time my older siblings had all taken a break from school because there was no money for tuition fees. So when CGA was established, needy children like me were given a chance at life.
Christ's Gift Academy did not only give me a chance at education, it also offered the comfort that I didn't get from home-two warm meals every single day. Through C.G.A, I learned how to love, relate with people, express myself and most importantly I learned about God most excitingly.
Each needy child at the school had a sponsor. Most of our sponsors were from the United States. They paid our school fees and contributed towards everything else we needed to get a holistic education. My sponsor's name was Judy Elisabeth Cochran. To these sponsors, we became a part of their families, at least I know I became to mine. To those of us who came from dysfunctional, chaotic families or those who lacked families altogether, C.G.A gave us the family we always wished we had.
At a small hill in a small town in Mbita lies a school that symbolizes a beacon of hope to the Mbita people. It has poured so much into the community without expecting anything in return. In the hearts of the alumni, like me, C.G.A holds a special place. It is in this school that I saw myself becoming what I had always wanted to become. When I was at school, I never wanted to go home and when I was at home I always longed for the break of dawn so I could go to school. That is how special this school was and still is to me.