Contributed by Loyce Ong’udi, founder
Celebrate the many Mwanzos (new beginnings) over the past ten years
In 2012 as I worked to register Mwanzo as a nonprofit organization to address the ravages of HIV/AIDS on my family and childhood village of Rabuor, a friend asked me, “Loyce, looking back ten years from now, what would you like to see?” Seeing the hopelessness and knowing AIDS was incurable, my quick response was “song and dance,” but that was unthinkable at the time. Rabuor was once the happiest place a child could dream being raised in.
“Mwanzo “means new beginning in Swahili. I turned to hope for new beginnings many times over these past ten years. On April 3 and April 24 at 1:00 pm we will celebrate these many “mwanzos.” Through stories and visuals, I’ll share with you now ten years later what my answers are to that question, “what would you like to see?” I invite you dear friends to join me on zoom to experience the amazing journey we have taken together in these 10 years.
I especially want to honor my father Wesley, mother Rosemell and my daughter Audrey (AJ) who were part of this journey. This work would not have happened if not for their extraordinary sacrifices. The loss of my brother Mathayo, my sister June and other close relatives to HIV/AIDS was turned to hope by my parents. They started a daycare for AIDS orphans and fed these children in their tiny home. Audrey’s sacrifice occurred during her early teenage years as I was away for many months traveling to Rabuor to build resources for a second chance at life.
I have not journeyed alone! New beginnings have happened because you have accompanied me, opened your heart and created a circle of love without boundary, and thus many “Mwanzos.” At the beginning, even smiling seemed wrong in this childhood village of mine. Now the village lives with rhythmic dance and songs of hope for our children, staff, Rabuor and her neighbors. My second home, Seattle/UCUCC has held me in the past ten years. I trust the next ten years will hold just as many surprises to ensure Hope continues to have a home in our work.
Join the celebrations on April 3 and April 24 at 1:00 pm. See weekly emails for details