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Precious Kids Center in Kitale, Kenya

 

By Easton Kawawaki

Sammy Hammork visited Kenya for the first time when she was sixteen. Over the following years, she returned to serve children with disabilities during her summer breaks from college. Originally from Southern California, Sammy eventually moved to Kitale, Kenya in order to care for abused and neglected children. In 2012 she opened Precious Kids Center (PKC), a home for children with disabilities. Today PKC provides community, education, medical needs, and a loving family to over fifty kids.

For two weeks I had the privilege of witnessing Sammy’s incredible heart. Her attention never strayed from the kids as she poured out every part of herself to extend the love and care they deserve. Children who were ostracized, mistreated, and abandoned have found a home with Sammy. I remember thinking to myself, This is unconditional, unselfish love—this is how Jesus loves. The love I saw at PKC breaks apart barriers and heals deep wounds. Past the compound gates differences are dissolved and kids are welcomed with radical acceptance.

Each kid at PKC bursts with personality—within seconds they all stole my heart. Their joy is contagious, infecting everyone around them. The photos here give just a glimpse into the love that radiates through this home.

Junior, a boy with hydrocephalus (far left), is shown with Malé, Bramwel, Dorcas, and Linah.

Allan has cerebral palsy but the brightest smile in all of Kenya.

Linah is a sweet, sassy girl. People with albinism suffer persecution and even ritual killings in this region, but PKC offers Linah a safe haven.

The school building where a number of PKC children attend classes.

Sammy jumps with Allan on the trampoline.

On the day she purchased the trampoline, the kids lined up for hours to take turns. Joy was never lacking in this home and the things we may think are insignificant were magnified through the kids’ hearts.

Gideon takes hesitant steps as he learns to walk using the walker.

Junior peeks through the door and flashes me a goofy face.

On Sundays Mama ZP makes chapati—a flatbread—for the children. The House Mamas at PKC are superwomen: four live at the house full-time and two work part-time. They cook, clean, give medicine, and care for the children day and night.

A photo of Japheth and me at the PKC compound.

This black and white portrait shows the children playing soccer in the shadows.

I call them shadow dancers; despite the abuse and neglect they’ve endured, the children can find and emanate light in the darkness. Their differences make them radiant, and the light follows them wherever they go.


You can read each child’s story as well as Sammy’s story at
www.PreciousKids.center

 

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  • Easton Kawawaki

    Easton is a Northwest-born photographer currently living in Southern California but willing to take her sleeping pad anywhere the wind blows her. She values the way photography can tell stories and and uses it as a tool to meet people, experience different places, and find and spread light wherever she goes. Visit Easton's Site