Inspiration from our friend, Chebet

I want to introduce you to a very special person.  Her name is Chebet, the sister to bestie yangu (my BFF).

She’s smart, a teacher in fact.  She’s a fashionista, rockin’ a plaid blazer like Kenya’s next top model.  She’s a baker, made four cakes for our BEAM Christmas celebration.

Her positive outlook on life despite some serious hardships has me curious.  She has lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue.

You wouldn’t know it by her smile but if you watch her, you can gather signs.  Movement is difficult.  She struggles to get out of a chair by herself.  At dinner a few days ago, we all just jumped out of our seats and headed to the car, taking our ability to stand up for granted.  Chebet wasn’t offended or angry, she just made a joke about how we could have gone all the way home before we noticed she wasn’t in the car.

She is unable to lift her hands over her shoulder and is challenged by other basic movements.  But she’s fighting.  And she’s killin’ it in physical therapy with the skillz from our friends at Living Room International.

When she bakes, she needs help reaching the cabinets, lifting the bowls, and opening the fridge.  Yet, I have never ever once heard her complain.  Or get frustrated.  Or talk about how unfair her life is.

And then there’s me . . . perfectly healthy, running, biking, free as a bird.  But you can catch me saying my life is unfair.  You’ll see me my stanky face when things don’t go my way.  You’ll feel my impatience as I wait and wait and wait for Kenyan friends who don’t wear watches or don’t obsess about time like me or I dunno.

I try to tell her how much she inspires me.  I try to tell her how much her infectious spirit has quelled my anxiety on some of my hardest days. I try to tell her how much her life has impacted mine.  I hope she hears. I hope she knows.

Chebet, my fellow writer, sister, baker, and friend . . . if your’re reading . . . please know this . . . you are an inspiration and your life is impacting so many people.  Your grace, your courage, your laughter, your joy, and your presence renew our spirits daily.  We love having you as part of the BEAM team and would be cake-less without you!

Friends, family and supporters of BEAM Kenya, we are so incredibly grateful for how you have stood by us this past year.  We wish your year ahead is filled with the same infectious spirit of our dear friend, Chebet, and that 2018 is filled with deep gratitude and rich joy.

Happy New Year!

Colleen and the BEAM Kenya crew

*Please consider a monthly or one time donation to support the BEAM Kenya mission to advocate for the emotional, spiritual, and education needs of impoverished children in Kenya*



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