There is a slight nip in the air already, and the kettle has resumed its post on the stove. Though summer has come to an end, there is something reassuring in being stirred back to routine. The long days of summer and al fresco dinners are neatly replaced by packed lunches, kitchen table homework, and cups of tea.
This is the season where we are reminded of the purpose of home, the comfort of schedules, and the celebration of a sharpened pencil and new possibilities. Even F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
Though there is no autumn in Kenya—no fantastic turning of leaves, or crispness to the air—we want our 30 sponsored students to feel the same shift in possibilities, the same warmth at home, the same comfort in routine. We can’t create seasons, but we try our very best to create a sense of home.
Enoch and Fabian representing team USA and team Norway at the Ajiri Olympics. They were cheered on by former Ajiri students.
As you may know, at Ajiri we sponsor orphans, but we aren’t an orphanage. Students often live with extended family, and we sponsor them to attend local boarding schools where we pay all fees, buy all supplies, and provide additional programming and support throughout the year. We might not be providing a physical home, but as the saying goes, home is not a place, rather a feeling.
The cornerstone of the Ajiri home is Dorothy and Regina—our loving and kind social workers. They attend every class conference, make every shopping list, conduct home visits, and offer endless support. Building a home is about love and consistency.
With a strong foundation in love, our Ajiri home has the general hum of routine. Shopping lists are handed in two weeks before the term starts. Every midterm break they are in the office for computer classes and tutoring. Once a term Regina and Dorothy visit them in school. Every term they hand in report cards and have one-on-one meetings and counseling sessions. Building a home comes with building some parameters and routines.
As we build this sense of community and place, we have noticed something remarkable. Our students are graduating, going onto university, and then coming back. They volunteer as tutors on their school breaks. They return to our annual Ajiri Olympics to cheer. And just a few weeks ago, Fanisha, a former student and now a doctor, taught at our first-ever camp geared toward sex-education. Together we have built a home--not a physical place, but a place nonetheless.
Thank you for bringing Ajiri Tea into your homes. Thank you for extending that same warmth to our communities in Kenya. Thank you for believing in us, year after year. Thank you for giving Ajiri Tea as gifts, for stocking it on your shelves, for enjoying a cup each morning.
We’ve said it many times before, but we couldn’t do it without you.
With the cold air rolling in, and the leaves underfoot, know that somewhere across the world pencils are being sharpened, backpacks are being filled, and kids are doing their homework on the kitchen table.
Regina, Dorothy, Sara, and Kate
Photo from our first-ever Ajiri summer camp held in Kakamega Forest.
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