The orphanage is home to children ages, 7-15, most of whom have lost their parents to AIDS and other diseases. Each child is matched to a US sponsor and Williamson soon found a child that drew her attention and soon after, her love.
“I met the newest boy to come to the care center, his name is Valentine and he is seven,” said Williamson. “So I decided to sponsor him because his dad had died (of AIDS) two years earlier and the oldest brother followed six months later due to contracting the virus from handling his dad’s bloody bandages. With the mother, it is basically a matter of time and the 16-year-old daughter is pregnant and there is a 10-year-old son who is the man of the house.”
The house itself had no mattresses, a leaky roof, no food and only one blanket to share amongst the entire family. The Trippers decided to pool their personal money and built an addition to the house along with some food and new mattresses.
The Trippers would also take the children to the rainforest and into town to buy books, the most popular being the educational variety.
“Education is above everything,” said Williamson. “Because they know that’s what is going to help them out the most.”
The Triton clothes also made an appearance.
“They don’t have a lot of clothes, so they usually play with what they have,” said Williamson. “They all speak English really well so I explained that this was from my high school.”
Once her time was up, Williamson came home to the States but with a different perspective.
“It was really hard,” Williamson said of returning home. “You can’t quite put your finger on it but things are different. You’ve had a great experience and you come back to your life which is basically the same.”
Williamson said that she wants to go into foreign medicine now more than ever and hopes to return to Kakamega this summer.
“Everyone asks; How different was it? And the only thing I came away with is, they are exactly like us,” said Williamson. “All they want is to be loved and have affection and play. They just have different material needs but they are exactly like us as human beings.”