Nyaga is our child in Kenya that we have sponsored for over 4 years now through Compassion International. He was 5 years old when we sponsored him and he just turned 10 a little over 1 week ago! He is the man. Some of you may know him as Peter (Nyaga Baithumbi) and i've written about him a lot - HERE, Here, HERE, and HERE are a few...
Crystal and i had the awesome privilege of visiting Nyaga last Fall and hanging out at his house and in his village with his family (no parents). We had A LOT of fun together.
We always receive his report card after every year of school. He actually had to repeat 1st grade and then he's always done just OK since then. i can imagine it's extremely hard without even a parent to help you out with anything. He does have an older brother that he lives with, but he has his own wife and is taking care of 5 other children.
In our letters to Nyaga we always encourage him to work hard in school and to simply do his best. Last year he finished the best in his class he ever had -->
Term 1 = 14 out of 21 students
Term 2 = 8 out of 21 students
Term 3 = 10 out of 21 students
Crystal and i were talking to the Compassion staff when we were in Nyaga's village. we have always said that we want to sponsor Nyaga all the way through the University program, so we were asking how a student is selected for it?
Obviously there are several factors like work ethic, etc... but the student MUST be at least in the top 6 or 7 in his class to even be accepted into a University in Kenya!
We talked about Nyaga's grades and the staff lady mentioned that he is working hard and improving so much. that semester that he finished 8th in his class was a great step and puts him really near the cut off.
That day Nyaga and Crystal and i talked about school a lot. We encouraged him over and over to study really hard every day, to go to the tutoring that Compassion provides on Saturdays, and to keep improving in school... because it matters for your future.
i asked Nyaga what he wanted to be when he grew up and he replied - "President of Kenya... because i want to help Kenyans."
wow. lump in my throat. talk about HOPE. and having a dream from the bottom of poverty.
We told him to go for it. to work as hard as he can to walk toward that goal. getting better and better in school was a great way to move toward that goal... or at least the goal of having more influence to help people.
we just received Nyaga's report card from this year of school that just finished... HE IS #1 IN HIS CLASS!
Term 2 = 2nd out of 40
Term 3 = 1st out of 40
THAT is what i'm talking about!
we wrote him a letter write away (+ a birthday card and a birthday gift) and told him we know how hard he must have worked and how proud we were of that!
i know he's not my own kid but i can't even tell you how proud this makes me feel. i really can't help but tear up every time i think about it. unbridled joy wells up in my heart.
i definitely am not taking any credit but i can't help but think that the visit and encouragement Crystal and i gave mattered. because that's a big jump - from middle of the class to top of the class.
at the end of his letter we just received, he wrote "When can you come visit my home again?" Soon, i hope... Soon.
i hope 1 day we can go visit and help him move into his University.
and then the last words of his letter are "I will always pray for you."
c'mon Nyaga, can't i make it through 1 letter without crying?