But the highlight of her trip was what she brought home. “The biggest thing I took away was an impression of the people of Kenya — their spirit, their hospitality. They are such hard workers.” The school presentations, with the children’s exuberant singing and fun-loving behaviour, brought tears to her eyes.
It’s not the first international travel Roth has done. She lived in Haiti for six months, and has taken missions trips to other countries; but this one stood out. “I thought I was prepared for the culture. But these people are so vastly different. The Maasai culture is so different, even how they become warriors; but they are candid and honest, and let us into their lives.”
In some countries, the culture is presented in singing and dancing, explained Roth; but it’s easy to see the influence of the West. “I did not see that in Maasai culture. They have not traveled and picked up other influences.”
She wasn’t prepared for the emotional impact of saying goodbye.
Coming home and processing the trip, Roth couldn’t help compare it with similar excursions she has made. “After some past trips, I felt hopeless, helpless and discouraged. But going with Free the Children made me feel empowered. I really felt I could make a change.”
Roth added that Free the Children holds ‘We’ days in B.C.’s Okanagan region — and she has been inspired by them. “They say they are trying to put themselves out of business. That’s the best mindset for a non-governmental organization to have. If we can get the world to a place where everyone has basic necessities, you have really done your job,” Roth concluded.
Recently a Maasai village bordering the Maasai Mara game reserve, where 411 elementary school kids live, received funding — partially through Club Penguin — to build eight new classrooms, refurbish the school library and office, install a clean water source and train 40 students leaders over three years to improve community health.