Jan Term afforded students and faculty an opportunity to travel to Kenya to work with the Mully Children’s Family. The Mully Children’s Family is a non-profit organization rescuing, restoring and launching high-risk children in need from the Nairobi slums. From humble beginnings in 1989, the Mully Children’s Family has rescued over 18,000 and currently cares for about 3,500 children on a daily basis.
A group of 17 Samford students were accompanied by Joe Hopkins and Larry Thompson to lead art, music, and theatre classes and learn about the Mully mission. Their trip included an eye-opening visit to the Kibera slums in Nairobi which is home to most of the Mully students. The group then spent about a week at the main campus working with children. The group also enjoyed a safari at the end of their trip.
According to Joe Hopkins, “We were privileged to be part of one of the most powerful examples of Christian ministry today. We were able to live in that community and be inspired by them. Our students did a tremendous job helping these talented children learn the technical language and structure of the arts that they already were creating. By the time we left, they were reading and writing music. We were able to share Christ with them and them with us. Building these relationships was very powerful for all of us and we hope to continue to support their work in the future.”
Students felt the impact of many aspects of the trip. Graphic design junior Abby Weeks said, “The time went by way too quickly. We worked with close to 87 kids from ages 4 to 11 doing art projects. One of the biggest impacts was how self-sustaining and aware the community was. They did not waste anything. They cannot afford to not pay attention. We, on the other hand, do not think about the consequences of what we use every day. At the final dinner, our faculty chaperone Larry Thompson impressed upon us how important it would be to take ‘this perspective home.’ I think we all felt that and then to hear him articulate it was very powerful.”
Theatre for Youth major Amy Ethington said that she felt called to participate in this trip. She assisted with the theatre camp and noted that it was a great opportunity to practice what she had been learning at Samford. She said, “I learned that there's so much more out there than just my tiny corner of the world and that anyone, even me, can make a change for good just by saying yes to God.”
The School of the Arts hopes to continue to work with the Mully Children’s Family to support their programs and get more Samford students connected with the work that they are doing.