A quarter to eleven in the morning. The chilly Nairobi weather sending shivers down my hands. I adjust my leather gloves to cover every part of my palms. I am racing against time to find myself at Zion Children’s Home. My host Myra has already called me five times inquiring about my whereabouts and just like any other normal Kenyan, my reply to all her calls was that I am just ten minutes away, of course you know this is typical ‘tabia za Wakenya’. So well, this particular event was to begin at ten in the morning but almost an hour later, I am yet to arrive. A few minutes later, I made my way to The Zion Children’s Home. Myra, who was by the gate gave me a warm reception, not minding my unpunctuality. After a few apologies, we proceeded to the management’s office. We signed the visitors’ book and went straight away to the ball room where my interview with the Myra was scheduled to take place. I took my seat opposite Myra’s ready for the interview. Looking at her straight into the face, this was an elegant and smart lady. She was looking at me boldly signifying how ready she was for this candid interview. Her head was covered with a cascading ash brown braids. She donned a relaxed urban trendy wear comprising of crop earrings, cameo necklace on her neck and a printed flounce Georgette blouse. Just before I brought out my notebook containing the classified questions I was to ask her, she reminded me that we had hijacked a fun day she had organized with the children at Zion and that immediately we were done with the interview, we would join the children in their fun activities. I loved the idea because it had been forever since I swung with little kids. After a few jokes here and there, I pulled straight away to my questions. I had to develop a hawk eye to show the seriousness of this event.
Please note that the Questions are in bold while the answers are in the normal font. Enjoy your read.
1) TO BEGIN, CAN YOU GIVE US A BRIEF INTRODUCTION ABOUT YOURSELF?
My name is Myra Kessy Robert. I am 19 years old. I was born and grew up in Umoja estate of Nairobi, though we later relocated to Ruai Estate also in Nairobi. I started my education at Freedom Junior School and later on joined Silver Gate School from where I sat my KCPE in 2015. I was subsequently admitted to St. George’s Girls High School in Nairobi for my high school education in 2016. While in Form 3, I transferred to Edellvalle High School still within Nairobi and it is here where I sat my KCSE in 2019.
2) I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A LOT OF CHARITY ACTIVITIES. CAN YOU GIVE US MORE INSIGHT ABOUT THIS?
During my final year of high school, I was saddened by the high number of students who lacked a few basic necessities. It was however surprising that in the similar environment, there were other students with extremely too much for themselves alone. It was this particular societal gap in my school that motivated me to start charity work. So I remember going round the school requesting the well to do students to donate some of the excess materials they had to me. It is these donations that I would later distribute to my other school mates who were lacking. From that particular point, I realized that I had a deep passion for charity. While still at school, we ended up collecting so much that even after distributing to other students, we had so much remaining. So it was then that I thought extending my area of charity to even cover children’s homes around Nairobi. So we would collect stuff, distribute in school then the extras would be taken to the children’s homes. After graduating from high school, I felt like this is a course I was determined to continue with. So I shared the information to close friends who were ready to support and together we started Badili Maisha Foundation. Badili Maisha Foundation is a nonprofit charity organization and we carry out visits to different children’s homes taking with us essential goodies and we also organize fun days like the one we are having here today at Zion Children’s Home, Kasarani. During these fun days, we entertain the kids through music and as you can see we have even brought artists along with us. We also cook for the kids and it is important to note that we bake cakes for them. We do this because most of these kids do not know their birthdays and never celebrate them at all and by giving them cakes, we signify that particular aspect of birthday parties, Apart from that, I am committed at ensuring my fellow young people dedicate their free time into community service. At the moment, this is all that we engage in. However with time, we are looking to expand our areas of charity. Of course all these require more funds and it is my sincere hope that we will be able to raise enough funds to achieve the intended expansion.
3) HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH CHARITY BEEN SO FAR? WE DIVIDE THE EXPERIENCES INTO THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY IN THAT ORDER.
To start with the good,
I have gotten to learn so much about life. I have learnt to appreciate the life that I am living every other time that I see people out there really going through much struggle, since I realized that, I no longer take anything for granted. I have also gained so much motivation from the satisfaction that I receive whenever I stand out there for a charitable course.
To the bad experiences;
There are times I actually lack finances to fund the activities because everything we are doing is not for profit and all the founders are unemployed at the moment and we still have to cater everything from our scarce finances.
To the ugly ones;
There is a day we had an event in the streets for the street families. So while we were just preparing everything ready to start the event, a group of people unknown to us attacked us and stole every stuff that we had brought. This really frightened my team.
4) WHAT MADE YOU VENTURE INO CHARITY AS A FULL TIME ACTIVITY?
While in Form one, I had a friend called Sumayyah Ruguru whom we together found a common interest and passion in charity. More than once, we tried helping fellow classmates with the necessary essentials that they did friends who were not able to afford. It is the satisfaction that I drove from that point that has propelled me and had me tie myself down to charity work.
5) WHAT IS THIS ONE PARTICULAR CHARITY ACTIVITY THAT YOU FEEL IS THE MOST SUCCESFUL SINCE YOU STARTED ALL THESE CHARITY WORK.
I will interpret this to mean the most satisfying thing I have done so far. Well, so at the moment I have a child here at Zion Children’s home who I cater everything on his behalf. I had never thought at any point of my life if I could have achieved that at my age.
6) WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO YOUR FELLOW YOUNG PEOPLE?
You have whatever it takes to achieve your God given dream. You do not have to have everything it takes to achieve the dream at the moment but just start pushing it.
7) FUTURE AMBITIONS?
I am really anticipating when Badili Maisha Foundation will be a big organization that can reach so many people out there and have a huge human resource. I am also very positive that I will carry out this particular charity work as my career. Of my greatest interest is to work at The United Nations through its very many humanitarian courses. I am also exuberant about the possibility of running and occupying a political office so that I can be in a vantage position to effect positive change.
8) HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR FREE TIME?
Reviewing new restaurants, trying out new restaurants and cuisines, trying out new food, sleeping and listening to music.
9) FAVOURITE DISH?
Any meal that is being served with fried potatoes. Damn, I love fried potatoes.
10) BIGGEST FEAR?
I fear rats. I also fear poverty. It is actually very bad if you really desire something but then you realize you cannot afford because of poverty.
11) I KNOW A LOT OF MY MALE READERS WILL DISTURB ME ABOUT YPIR STATUS, SO TO AVOID THAT DISTURBANCE, COULD YOU DECLARE WHERE YOU STAND (LAUGHS)
I am currently single.
12) BIGGEST CELEBRITY CRASH
Nviiri the Storyteller
13) DREAM DESTINATION?
14) LAST WORDS?
Everyone out there should dream big. I know it is a cliché but then it is a reality many people have refused to live by.
15) WHAT ARE THE CONTACTS TO YOUR FOUNDATION?
Anyone can find us on Instagram with the handle @ badili -maisha