The Rufty Homes family is committed to giving back to the community here in the Triangle and around the world. Our CFO Kelly Nicholson is a shining example of this commitment, and we enjoy turning the spotlight on her philanthropic journeys.
Each of the past three years, Kelly has traveled with Truth For Today Medical Missions (TFTMM) to provide medical and vision services to those in need. This year, Kelly and her husband Jamie traveled to Kenya with TFTMM founder Dr. Greg Waller and his wife Linda to partner with local missionaries and native churches to serve their local communities.
After a 20+ hour plane trip from Raleigh to Nairobi, with layovers in Atlanta and Paris, Kelly and the 19 other Americans serving with TFTMM boarded vans for the six-hour ride to the town of Kilgoris, Kenya.
Kilgoris has a population of about 4,500 people and is primarily inhabited by the Maasai tribe who raise cattle and goats, and farm corn, tea as well as sugar cane.
"As we entered town we saw herders with their cattle and goats in the middle and along the side of the roads," said Kelly. "The Maasai live in a communal system and share responsibilities among families, working together."
Kelly noted that they live in mud homes built with wood frames and covered in several layers of mud or cow dung. "Most homes in the area do not have electricity or running water," she added.
Upon arrival in Kilgoris, the team of missionaries were joined by 12 Kenyans from Nakuru to help provide services and another 10 Kilgori residents to help with interpreting, registering patients, cooking and other tasks.
It's not surprising that in this communal region most of their food is grown and raised locally.
"Meals typically include a combination of rice, beans, corn, beef, chicken, fish, cabbage, carrots and potatoes," said Kelly. "Ugali is another staple, which is a cornmeal-based dish that's similar to polenta."
As she had on past missions, Kelly primarily worked in the vision clinic with a team of TFTMM volunteers helping fit glasses on more than 1,000 patients. The glasses were donated by the Lions Club who sent more than 190 pounds of prescription glasses, readers and sunglasses for this trip. While Kelly was fitting glasses, other team members served more than 2,000 locals with medical services.
"It was an amazing journey. We were so blessed to be able to serve more than 3,000 Kenyans, and to help provide for both their physical and spiritual needs," said Kelly.
"It was especially fulfilling because we shared the gospel with so many who accepted our message," she said. "Vision and health only last part of our lifetime and at some point they fail as we age. But, our spirit never fades and lasts for eternity."
On the last day of the trip the missionaries were able to go on a safari through Maasai Mara National Reserve, along the Tanzanian border.
Kelly shared, "We were blessed with an up-close and personal look at lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras, hippos and wildebeest. It was exciting to find them in their natural environment."
It's also very exciting to support and encourage Kelly in her journeys. In fact, everyone here at Rufty Homes has opportunities each year to give back to the communities we serve in the Triangle and beyond.
We enjoy sharing stories of inspiration since they nourish our team and help us lead fulfilling lives.