There are a few special people who seem to stand in an intersection of goodness, eloquence, perseverance, and authenticity. To be sure, the world needs more of them.
I met a guy like this in the fall of 2021 when I decided, for some unknown reason, to walk into a little church that I had driven by on my way to work for over twenty years. The ‘guy’ leading the service was a man named Carter Via.
When I first heard from Carter about the Kibera mission, I knew immediately that I would be going. I invited my entire family: my wife, two college-aged daughters, and Will, my high school freshman. Secretly, I wished that only Will could make it. And that’s how it turned out: father and son for two full weeks.
Will is a sweet boy who has had a lot of difficulties in school. Like many fifteen-year-olds, he doesn’t say much, especially around adults. As it turned out, Will was the youngest of our thirty-two-person group. In Kibera, he shined. I will never forget that first day at Mobjap School seeing Will engulfed by dozens of second graders as he read them books or challenged them in chess. Later that evening, Carter told me Will had come up during the day, given him a big hug and said, “Thank you so much. This is an amazing experience.” That is still quite hard for me to believe. But because Carter said it, I guess I have to believe it.
Will and I saw the incredible poverty in Kibera. We saw the squalor. We smelled the open sewers and the mountains of uncollected trash. But then we met the children. Those beautiful little children. The bright-shining, upturned faces. They saw us. And we saw them. And the ‘seeing’ changed us.
We came to know that the CT schools in Kibera are not just collections of classrooms. They are sanctuaries where children receive healthy meals, learn, and play together in safety. These schools are lifeboats to bring them through the danger and hardships of growing up in a place like Kibera.
Will and I we are so grateful to have become part of the Crossing Thresholds family. Thank you, Carter. Thank you, Aly. Thank you to all our fellow travelers from the Summer of ’22.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
CT Volunteer and Trip Participant