"You cannot meet the needs of people you've never met."

My wife and me followed our hearts when we decided to travel to Kenya because we have seen and heard enough through TV, radio, newspapers and social media about life in Kenya and other African countries. Now we wanted to see with our own eyes, according to the motto "You cannot meet the needs of people you have never met".

So we travelled to Kenya with a team from SERV International consisting of ten Americans and us two Swiss. In our luggage we carried, of course, our instruments alphorn and panflute.

After visiting the baby orphanage "His Cherished Ones" in Nakuru, we visited the headquarters of SERV International in Nairobi, where tons of rice and lentils, enriched with dried vegetables, salt and vitamins are packed by hand every day in a small room and then transported on large trucks to the poorest regions of East Africa and the slums of Nairobi.
We accompanied such a food transport to the Kawangare slum of Nairobi and helped distribute the food tot he poorest. In a stuffy church room made of corrugated iron and wood and smelling of sweat and urine, countless children with a plastic bowl in their hands stood patiently in a long queue to get a spoonful of rice. The queue was too long, the pot of rice not big enough ....... many children were left with hope to be luckier the next day.

Music connects people
After two incredibly emotional and impressive days full of contrasts in Nakuru and Nairobi, the journey continued to the desert region of Turkana in northwestern Kenya.
At the villages of Kaakiring, Nabuskaal and Namornyang we, the "Mzungus", as strangers or whites are called there, were welcomed with joyful music, dances and prayers. We provided the people with clean water and food packages. Some families walked for hours to be present at the food distribution!
Meeting these people, feeling their gratitude and cordiality impressed us deeply. With "Amazing Grace" played with alphorn and panflute we thanked them for the insight they gave us into their life marked by the daily struggle of survival.

Visit at "House of Hope" in Lodwar
One main part of our mission trip was visiting the orphanage "House of Hope" in Lodwar. We spent a lot of valuable time with the 67 orphans, who all come from the surrounding villages and have found a new home there. They get clean water, enough food, education, medical care and - as the most important thing - lots of love!

I was impressed how much these kids love music. Music is an international language that everybody can understand. Therefore I felt very connected to some kids of "House of Hope" who are passionate guitar players, singers and dancers. As a musician it is a great gift for me and I feel very honored to be a sponsor of one of these kids now!

My wife and me even prepared a surprise for the children and the staff of "House of Hope": We unpacked our instruments in front of the sparkling eyes of the children. It was very quiet in the classroom as we played the well-known "Hallelujah" with alphorn and panflute. Afterwards, the children were allowed to try themselves producing sounds on the long Swiss style horn and play melodies on the bamboo tubes of the panflute.

This incredibly impressive journey opened our eyes and made us different people. We have learned to be grateful for the small and seemingly self-evident things in life, for the life we can live in our wonderful country of Switzerland, for the great opportunity to share love with others and to help those people who need it most!

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