We are still visiting the girls at Kolanya Girl’s Secondary School and are about halfway through our first day. Mr. Dismas Kiboi the Esther’s Hope Ministries Program coordinator at the school pops in briefly to let me know that there is a parent who has traveled a long distance to see me. He adds, “She’s been calling me repeatedly over the last year reminding me to let her know when you are back in the country. She wants to say, “Thank You, and she’s here with her daughter.”
It’s an extremely hot and dusty afternoon. The 88°F sun is holding its own against a faint breeze that seems on the verge of giving up. Bright green, pink and red buckets are piled on fine sand at various points around the school, like progressive abstract art in mid-construction. Several male workers stand attentively around a tap waiting for the first trickle of water, so they can scoop all the precious liquid into the hundreds of buckets that are ready and waiting.
Many years ago, an American missionary gave my mother (a Kenyan) the gift of a lifetime; he gave her the incredible chance to go to school and receive an education. She grabbed the opportunity with both hands and excelled as a student, as a mother, as a mentor to many women in Kenya and around the world, and as a professional in the workplace.
Hadid’s destiny is in your hands. From the moment she walked in, I knew she was different. This was no run-of-the-mill rural girl, if there’s even such a thing. Hadid is fair-skinned, with an angular face that showcases her sharply-defined cheekbones. Her eyes are dark and alert. She seats her tall, regal, 14-year-old frame in the chair in front of me and introduces herself with confidence.