A joyful reward after a bumpy journey in Kenya

When you “Join My Journey, God transforms your life through love. In today’s featured journey, we learn about compassion, generosity, transformation, hope, and gratitude. This journey wouldn’t be possible without you, the Chalice community, and Chalice in Schools. Because of you, there is hope in our sites. 

As part of Tales from the Journey, our Program Lead, Schools, Catherine L. is preparing for the Lenten campaign with School connections for 2023. We had the chance to talk with her about her journey with Chalice in Schools. 

School Connections is one of Chalice’s core programs, pairing schools in Canada with schools in Tanzania and Kenya. The Canadian school fundraises for their sister school, and they both pray for one another and exchange videos. 

Catherine’s most memorable journey was last year as she travelled for the first time to Kenya and saw the impacts of School Connections in eight schools. In Catherine’s words “Going to see several Chalice Sites meant hours of bumpy and muddy roads that left me exhausted. I would instantly be recharged, though, as soon as our group arrived at a school. The children were always very excited to welcome us and all the schools prepared songs, poems, and dances to cheer us and express their deep gratitude. For them, I represented their Canadian friends from their Sister schools!” 

Similarly, as Canadian schools enrolled with School Connections, Catherine only saw the schools’ stories through pictures and videos, until now that she was amazed at how the funds from Canadian schools made an impact on every sponsor site she visited. 

Catherine’s journey in Kenya gave her a new perspective- “When I was there, I realized that the individual items bought, or improvements made, while very important, were not the most impactful thing. What mattered was that you cared. That children, their own age, who didn’t know them, felt that they mattered – and that they mattered so much, they were worthy of these tremendous gifts. They are so grateful for this – the hope, the encouragement, the dignity with which you have treated them. That’s why they were so excited to see me as your ambassador.” 

Every small help is a blessing. The children at Grapesyard school were grateful to receive cooking stoves through School Connections. However, because of the large number of students, some of them could not receive a meal. 

“It was wonderful to see how these stoves help provide the only meal many children receive in a day, and it was an honour to experience giving out this precious meal. The problem was that Grapesyard had about 1,500 students and when this yellow bucket runs empty (despite the small portions I was instructed to give), hundreds more students were turned back with empty bellies and I leave my post with my heart ripped.” 

The journey has its challenges, but it rewards them with lasting joy and hope in their lives. Catherine knows that every student from a Canadian school who participates in Chalice Connections campaign makes a big impact on their friend school in Africa. 

Whether you are a student, or a teacher, interested to participate in the School Connections Lenten campaign, contact Catherine at catherineludovice@chalice.ca. 

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