Another inspiring story from Bridgette
Each time Bridgette goes to Kenya she impacts the PFC staff in many ways. She raises money for the things the team needs to reach those most in need. She organizes their work space in a way that helps the team be more effective. She encourages them, she teaches them and she shows them love in many ways. Another gift she gives many of us is the stories she writes. Here is one of her stories. He is about one of the PFC staff Jefwa. It will touch your heart and bless you this holiday season. From Bridgette We all have a story. We all like to be heard and understood. The people in our lives that have influenced us or made an impact on us coupled with our life experiences woven throughout our time here on earth help shape who we become and become part of our story. Every time I come back to Kenya, I am always, without exception, moved by others’ “stories”. In the hopes of getting to know the PFC staff on the ground here who do all the day to day operations-the true hands and feet of this organization, I try to ask questions about how they got where they are now. Meet Jefwa. I first met him in 2012 when he had just joined the team here. His English was very broken and it was difficult for us to communicate. He was in our 2nd Chance School program trying to complete his education when not working and I had encouraged him to continue to practice his English as often as possible. But I didn’t take the time to really learn his story-until now.
In asking Jefwa a few basic questions, I learned an unbelievable story of courage, perseverance and selflessness. This young man left his home and his family at age 18 to pursue a better life so he could provide for his family. Even before leaving, while in grade school, he attended school by day and worked at night to help support his family. Then he was forced to drop out of school due to lack of money. He is the “first born” in the family, and in his culture, it is very common for the older children to work and help provide for their parents and younger siblings. In fact, even now, most of the 28 staff members at PFC all send money back to their home villages/families every single month. Repeatedly, I’ve witnessed many of them go without food or basic necessities so that their families were taken care of. For Jefwa, he has 3 younger siblings…and a disabled mother who can’t walk at all due to an accident. In addition, his father was mauled by a lion…and he can no longer work now too. So it is up to Jefwa. When I asked him why he worked so hard at the house (I am awakened every morning with the sound of Jefwa singing and sweeping the area outside our front door), he told me that his parents could no longer work-and he wanted to make sure they all had food and that his brothers and sisters could go to school and get an education. So he sends half of his monthly pay back to his family (he earns $100 per month working part time for PFC) every month. When he wants to visit them, he must take a matatu (public transport bus/van) 6 to 8 hours each way back to his home village. Everything he owns is in a single backpack, and he asks for nothing from so many who visit here with so much. He is the first one up in the morning and the last one to retire at night. Even as I write this, Jefwa is on his hands and knees mopping the floors.
PFC is providing a way for him to earn a salary, get an education, learn english ( it has improved greatly since my last time here)…all so he can provide a better life for himself and 5 others. He supports the entire PFC staff everyday by making sure their needs are met so they can go out and do the best job possible for the organization. His daily acts of selflessness make me examine my own character. He makes me want to be a better person-as he sets an example of what it truly means to put others before yourself. How good it makes me feel to know that a small part of my monthly donations made to PFC help a young man who works so hard every day to make sure his entire family is provided for. In all of this, there is a song in his heart, a smile on his face and a hope that surpasses all my understanding.
I think when we take the time to invest in others’ lives, their story becomes part of our own. Yes, we all have a story…and I am so grateful that Jefwa is now part of mine. Bridgette