(*This is when we were still named The Pokot Mission Project)

The 2015 Flyer

"Changed by Both The Experience and All The People" by Lauren Rugless
Before arriving in Kenya, I didn’t know what to expect; but, I can definitively say that I have been changed by both the experience and all the people that I was blessed to have come into contact with.  One of the first places that my group visited was the Kapunyany Girls School. The school is a safe haven for girls who have fled from cultural rituals in their community where abuse, genital mutilation and child marriage is practiced.  Kapunyany is one of many rescue centers stationed in very remote areas. It was here that I met 14 year old Jaciente, who first arrived at the school at 8 years old after escaping from her father’s home. I was pleased and saddened to know that Jaciente was one of 75 girls at this school. Many of the girls at the school can never return home for fear that their fathers will try to marry them off to a man likely 5 times their age all in exchange for more cattle.
I am not sure if Jaciente believes that she is as brave as I believe she is because when I told her so, all I could see was a faraway look in her eyes, a face void of expression.  In one glance, I could tell that she had witnessed too much to express in words.
Overall, I sensed that Jaciente is happy, thriving and loving her freedom. She is making good grades and wants to become a doctor one day. Whenever I think of her I get a bit of her strength and resilience to persevere. I believe nothing is impossible.
The second portion of our trip was to West Pokot, Kenya. The 12-hour bus ride up rocky mountains, dry riverbeds, vast countryside yet, breathtaking rift valley was a test of my faith. I now realize that the hard journey that we experienced merely hid the blessing of the community. When we arrived in Pokot at a mere 2 am just about everyone there was awake and singing for us as if it was the afternoon. The ladies had prepared food and even waited to eat with us. We were treated like family coming home from a long trip. Just seeing all of their smiling faces reminded me of the kindness of Jesus and how He’s always glad to see me when I take the time to meet Him.
In this community we worshiped together, talked and provided a health clinic and VBS  for the children. All of the children that we worked with were happy and full of life. Although some of the smaller kids were without shoes and a clean shirt, they were still so full of adventure. I began to wonder if the many articles of clothing and shoes that I owned even mattered. I immersed myself in the student led tours of the community and of their vast playground, equipped with camels, ostrichs and goats.
Each new day in Pokot brought the realization that this community possesses the rich opportunity of developing new national leaders. However, they face the dilemma that the larger percentage of Pokot children are not getting the start that they need in terms to access to adequate resources for health, education, and a better standard of living.
I am happy to see that World Vision and other organizations have been helping Pokot tremendously. It will take careful planning and a concentrated effort of VUNA International to be able to assist them in their growth. West Pokot is a beautiful place. To me, Pokot is the heart beat of western Kenya. By God’s grace, I look forward to visiting Kenya in 2016 and contributing whatever God has put in me to do.