JCO Children’s Center is 3 Years Old “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Ernest Hemingway
Three years ago we moved our first 10 children into the Restore Humanity Orphanage— JCO Children’s Center. It has been a difficult and awesome journey! Everyone involved has learned so much through this process. These have been the best three years of my life and I am truly thankful.
Let me take a moment to say thank you to all of our incredible donors—those who gave money, time, and services to help make this dream a reality! I also want to send a special thanks to our Board of Directors! You have all worked tirelessly over the years. Please know how much I appreciate it! Of course absolutely none of this is possible without our fantastic Kenyan team—led by Mrs. Opot and Patrick! These people work day in and day out for our kiddos and I feel so blessed to work with them!
The weeks leading up to our Opening three years ago were really hectic. We were finalizing all of our policies for the home, deciding which 10 children would be able to move in, training staff, and negotiating with furniture builders. We were picking out mattresses, linens, and all the furnishings. It was very exciting, yet highly stressful. It was easy to get caught up in the details and forget to appreciate such an extraordinary moment in time. A perfect example of this was on our move-in date, August 2nd.
The children were set to move in at 2pm that day. We were all over the place, running back and forth to the village center, cleaning everything, washing linens, setting up the rooms, and preparing the kitchen. Around 1pm I was walking to town in hopes of finding electricity so that I could print some forms. I was walking as fast as I could and thinking about all the things we needed to do... all of the sudden I heard someone yell “Sarah!” I stopped and looked up to see three of our children walking down the road. Ester, Barack, and Sheryl were on their way to move into our home! They started running towards me and Ester gave me one of the best hugs of my life! They were so excited—smiling from ear to ear. It was incredible and I will always remember it for the rest of my life. That was an ‘aha moment’. All of the stress faded away in an instant and I remembered what was important.
Our most vital “big picture” goal in starting our JCO Children’s Center was to run it like an institution (concerning staff, policies, efficiency, etc.) but make it feel like a home. Our entire Kenyan team has worked very hard to create a loving, stable, and consistent environment for our kiddos. We have been successful so far and we will work every day to continue this journey. By far the most impressive aspect of our home is our kiddos themselves. The love they bear for each other is apparent in everything that they do. They are constant sources of inspiration and I am so honored to know every single one of them.
Mrs. Opot and I have sat down many times over the years and reflected on this journey that we are on. We talk about how many things had to happen for us to reach this point and we recognize how blessed we are to have been a part of it. No matter how many times we tell our story, we always end up shaking our heads in wonderment and saying “Nyasaye Ber,” (which is a common Luo phrase that means God is good).
Thank you all for your support!