Saying Goodbye to Red Rose

It was incredibly hard to say goodbye to the children of Red Rose today, especially the boys and girls in the LitClubs whom we have come to know and love. After our last meetings, extended to two hours because we couldn’t bear to leave, we said our goodbyes to the amazing boys and girls with whom we have had the pleasure of spending the last week. (See David, Hillary, Quinter and Diana in the picture here.)

There were songs and smiles and hugs and tears on both sides, along with promises of a reunion in the near future. It was especially difficult for me to say goodbye to Quinter, who I bonded with over a shared goal of becoming lawyers to protect the rights of children, and Diana, whose leadership and motherly tendencies toward the younger girls showed a strength and wisdom beyond her years, and Hillary, who was slow to open up but whose smile could light up a room, and David, who dreams of becoming a pilot so he can make enough money to return to Kibera and help other children.

These boys and girls amaze me. They think so deeply about such important issues, yet still play and smile and laugh uninhibitedly. The show deep compassion and friendship, yet still tease and joke with abandon. The children of Kibera, and the children we work with the world over are not numbers; they are not faceless indicators of poverty. I think one of the most valuable things about LitWorld’s work is that we recognize this, and strive to treat children as the amazing individuals they are.

If there is one thing I’ve come away with from my time in Kibera it’s this. Children have so much to teach us.

- Lauren G.