Tribute to Dawn McDaniel and Ellen Cathers
I was a young Kenyan girl, from the heart of Africa and had just completed high school (of course I passed with flying colors!)
But there was a slight problem; there was no money for my university education. I was stressed, my parents, my teachers, village, siblings, just everyone was equally stressed. Then on one bright Sunday morning, in a church service walked in two ladies and three gentlemen, this is how it started, and this is how they came in, Dawn McDaniel and Ellen Cathers, two lovely souls from miles away, Ohio, USA.
You supported my schooling. You paid all my fees and catered for my other needs until I graduated with my bachelor’s degree!
Dawn and Ellen, words are not enough to say what is in my heart. You taught me what real love is, and the meaning of sacrifice. You taught me how to consider others better than myself, to look beyond physical boundaries and do good to others, yes, even strangers and make the world a better place for everyone.
You were patient with me when in the middle of the semester I reached out and requested for some additional support. You did not put your hands behind your back and say no. You willingly stretched them, voluntarily gave for four good years!
I remember that day we went to Kitale town, Iroko Hotel precisely, chips and chicken was a very new meal to me, because I am a native Kenyan and we eat ugali (remember this?). You introduced me to this dish, I had to fumble with cutlery, but you patiently waited for me to clear my plate. I know even if I washed my hands, and just enjoyed my meal as we always do without cutlery, you wouldn’t mind, right? Your hearts are so full of love to be concerned with such small things, what mattered to you is the transformation of life that was on the verge of giving up.
We interacted mostly on mail, and years have gone by, after I graduated, probably you have forgotten this face, but in my heart, you remain forever. You set a strong foundation for me, the basis on which I have built to help my own family and take care of my siblings through high school and campus. Sometimes this is hard, but when I remember you, I work harder and gladly do it, because this is what you taught me.
Dawn, I know you love dogs (Like how many do you have now?) I can imagine the care and concern you give. I know if given an opportunity, you would start a dog orphanage for all the stray dogs here in Kenya, and the kind of love the dogs would experience is just out of this world!
Do you still wear vitenges? It would be nice to see you in some, and hear you talk some Swahili, bearing the weird looks from kids around our villages, wow! Everything was just pure fun!
Thank you for the love you give, from across the continents, in Africa where you left an indelible mark, thank you so much!
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