We had spent the past few days preparing our big surprise for the girls.

Measurements were taken from waists to shoe sizes. Hours were spent at the dress maker. The dress maker’s store was an 8 x 6 foot tin shack that was full from floor to ceiling with uniforms. The uniforms consisted of socks, dresses for the girls, shorts and shirts for the boys, including ties, and sweaters for all. These women worked very hard to get our order of 25 uniforms completed. It took two days, but it was done.

We were told that this dress maker’s shop was in a small slum area. It was an amazing sight. I would say that over 100 of these small tin shacks were in this particular area. Our book bags were bought there too. The stores were right next to each other in long rows. I can only describe it as a miniature outdoor mini-mall. But instead of walls there were boards to separate them. The roofs were made form long pieces of tin, and the ground was covered in trash. Trash is another post altogether.

The shoes were purchased in downtown Nairobi. Bata shoes are some of the highest quality shoes in Nairobi, and all of our girls received them. After receiving all the uniforms, shoes, bookbags and rulers, Juli and I went to work. It took hours and hours of sorting, dividing and separating to complete all 25 book bags, with a name bag attached that was covered in stickers.

We set the finished book bags up in our room, on Juli’s bed, behind a curtain. Auntie Lizi, the head mother in charge, had told us that there was a buzz around the girls. They knew something was up.

We asked all of the girls to come inside and sit down. Juli made a speech about how wonderful and special they were and how much we loved them all. We opened the curtain and all the girls began cheering and clapping. We passed them out, but asked them not to open them until we gave them the signal.

They opened their bags and they all began to screem.

They wee so excited to receive their uniforms. It got progressively louder as they dug deeper into the bag. Once they got to the bottom to their new shoes, they were ecstatic. The soon tried everything on and I was so happy to see the smiles on their faces.

They were asked to speak if they wanted anything said to us. And a few of them did. But there was one that stood out for me. It was Dama, the oldest girl.

She told us that we were their mothers and that they are our daughters. She said that she was so grateful for all of th gifts that she had received, and that she would be praying for us when we went home.

It was a magical morning. They just couldn’t stop smiling. They rushed to their school closet and place all of their things in their new book bags. I can’t wait until Monday morning. They will look so beautiful in their new uniforms, shoes and book bags. They will stand up with pride and a new sense of respect for themselves. And it’s all because of the new uniforms.

Thank you, Terry, for donating the funds to make this possible. You have enriched the lives of 25 amazing girls.