My message to my friends, family and supporters,
I thankful for your support. You guys had made me keep going despite challenges that I face in my life. I have a message to everyone reading this article. My message is, “Don’t give up, and don’t listen to people who say, you can’t do it” Those kind of individuals are full of negative energies and they want to see you falling. I spend most of time with people who want to see me growing. I’m blessed to have those kind of people in my life.
I am strong than I ever been before. I’m doing well with my classes, my friendship with Wesleyan students is growing everyday. I have not forgotten my community in Kibera slums. I always tell them, that they can make it. If black Kennedy Odede can make it to the Unites States to study, then anyone can make it. I know the system is against the poor. But we have to keep on moving, no giving up. My good news is that when a poor man makes it, it become a celebration and a big thing to the whole world. I always tell people who have NGO’s that poverty will only be solved when the grass-root poor people are involved. They can solve their own problem and I know degrees are just papers and papers can’t solve the problems of the poor people. We need more than papers, we need more than awards. To be recognized by media does not mean someone can solve the poor man problems.
I do receive many awards here in America for my work. But there is only one award that makes me happy in my heart. That award is what I received on the ground when walking on the streets of Kibera. I see little girls, telling me with a smile ” Thanks Kennedy for helping me from rape, hunger and offering me education and a safe place.” I always reply, ” Thank you girl for doing it yourselves and you can be whom you want to be.” Those kind of awards are more important than any other awards that I might receive in this world. I like when poor people speaks, they can speak through a smile as women that I work with in the slums always do. Those kind of smiles are my special awards and often they don’t appear on media. Lets look behind the normal eye, there are people who do great things that don’t get recognition. Sometimes, I think of a poor woman who was helping a her neighbor in Haiti during the earthquake. The poor woman did her best, she had not eaten anything that day and she don’t know what was expected to come. Despite all those challenges and her helping hand to her neighbors was not recoginzed. Instead the other powerful NGO’s got the recognition for their work. The celebrities got recoginzation for their work. What about those people who were there before the outsiders came to offer help? Their names will never appear anywhere in the history books, but it will always remain intact in the heart of the poor neighbors that they helped.
My grandma passed down a lot of stories to me about poor people who helped her when she was hungry. She told me those people’s names and we keep them in our hearts for helping my grandma even though it does not appear in the top ten list of people who are changing the world.
My friends, I’ll keep on posting more positive thoughts. Thanks for being with me all the time.