Reagan High School in Austin, TX, is in a tough part of town. The state brought up the possibility of closing it down due to academic struggles. So these students, many of them coming from difficult lives and homes, would now have to travel farther to school and learn a new school setup, new classes, and new friends. In the midst of this, a young chemistry teacher named Candice Kaiser took a trip to Kenya. While there she filmed many of the young people of that country sending messages to their US counterparts. The most memorable person was a young Kenyan named Daniel. His message was simple, “We love you. Come visit us.”
She brought the video back to share with her students, hoping it would open their eyes to a society even tougher than their own. But the students didn’t respond the way she expected. They responded with, “Let’s go.” They had been invited and wanted to go. So these students worked during the year raising money for the trip, and with some outside support, this summer a group of youth from Reagan High School went to Kenya. They met the students who had invited them. They saw their homes. They listened to their stories. And they shared their own.
The strongest personality among the Americans was a young man Nijalon; his friend call him, Ni-D. When Ni-D landed in Kenya, he set out to find Daniel. The two connected in ways most unexpected. They each lived without their parents: Daniel, an orphan, Ni-D, who never knew his dad and whose mom was in prison. They understood each other’s stories. And they both loved music. They wrote a song together. Crazily enough, there was a studio nearby. Daniel kept pursuing the American group, asking them to help get the song recorded. Finally, that’s exactly what happened.
Now, I know this story because when the Reagan students planned their trip, they wanted to document it. So one of my good friends, Lee Rothenflue, went along on the trip to film. Once the song was recorded, Daniel and Ni-D turned their focus to Lee, asking to make a music video. There were many reasons not to: it takes too much time, too much effort, they don’t have the right equipment. But in the end, that’s exactly what they did.
Now there is a connection between two poor neighborhoods on opposite sides of the world. The Texas students are trying to raise $50,000 to build a school for the kids they visited in Kenya. You can donate at www.mannaworldwide.com (include the project number 76137. 100% of your gift goes to build this school. Manna is not taking anything out of it for administration). The lives of these students were changed more than anyone planned. For they did not just see with their eyes, but loved with their hearts.
See for yourself. It’s a four minute video that tells a much greater story. A story of God loving the orphans, reaching out to two complete strangers, and creating a bond through life and music stronger than anyone expected for two young men who have learned to expect nothing.
Take a few minutes and watch. Then share it with your friends. “JC”
12 thoughts on “ATX to Kibera: The story, The song, The video”
I LOVE this story! Thanks for sharing this, and for letting us know about the need.
Thank yu for sharing this with many people we enjoyed being there and would love to go back but first we are focusing on helping rebuild a new school for the ones who really deserve better please help us and im talking to the world
I had the honor of being a part of the first visit to Kibera with Candice and some of her Texas cohorts. I, as a middle aged somewhat “settled” Colorado suburbanite, continue to be in awe of the vibrancy and work that is being done via Candice, her friends Lindsey, Sarena, and the folks at Manna Worldwide.. Humbled and Happy knowing that a generation of champions is being raised up.
Leaving for Kibera we really didn’t know how our kids would react. We tried to prepare them for the plane ride – talking them down from their fear. We tried to prepare them for the lack of technology – encouraging them to limit their use of iPods on the bus rides.
But nothing…nothing can prepare one for Kibera. And walking up that path to New Hope with these students was seriously one of the most mind-boggling and life-changing experiences of my 28 years. The first time I heard Ni’d & Daniel’s song I knew God was doing something far beyond any of us ever anticipated or prepared for – and isn’t that the nature of our God? His grace and provision and perfect timing continually amazes – drawing us closer to His embrace.
Thank you for sharing this story, Todd. What’s most exciting is that what we thought would be a simple trip has turned into a burning ember in the hearts of the Reagan kids. They’ve seen poverty at its deepest and most corrupt level – and they know now they are responsible to do everything they can to change it. What’s most beautiful: ask anyone of them and they will say it has nothing to do with them and everything to do with Christ. Raising the money for New Hope is a calling they take seriously – I can’t wait to see what God does through them in their pursuit of His heart.
Thank you so much for sharing this. I can’t wait to share it with others and pray for the $50,000 to come quickly. Our God is so big.
Thanks for sharing. God’s fingerprints are all over this. Very moving. And I really love the song. Great job Daniel and Ni-D! Blessings to all involved.
Todd, Just came across your music and your blogs. Loved “Does My Soul Look Fat In These Pants” AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME. Thoroughly blessed by both your music and blogs. THANK YOU FOR YOUR WORK IN FURTHERING THE KINGDOM!! God Bless!!
WOWWWWWW. . . I don’t think I can muster anything else. I’m speechless. . . . Yeah, just wow.
Awesome…I would like to go on the next trip, too.
As a former long time teacher at Reagan and now teaching at UT, I am totally awed and inspired by both groups of kids and their sponsors. What an awesome endeavor. Shalom to all of you!
That’s really cool Todd! My kid’s are in Compassion, but you can’t go wrong giving to kids. The Lord bless this project, on the Afric end and the USTex. Good Stuff Nide-D!
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