The “Wonderful Olando Family” is what Every Child Valued Executive Director, Nicole Cody, calls Blessed, Favourlynn, Trufosa, and Angima and their parents, Samuel and Sophie. The family lives at Eggerts Crossing Village and all of the students are long-time attendees of Every Child Valued.
Perhaps the reason the title, “Wonderful Olando Family,” is so fitting is that the family has made education and giving to others a way of life.
"ECV has made us better citizens at Eggerts Crossing Village -- and Lawrence at Large. For the last eleven years, our four girls have been tutored to be better students and children in our community."
In 2018, Samuel and Sophie took their young daughters on an eight-month “Mission” from their home at Eggert’s Crossing Village to their father’s birthplace in Usula, Kenya. The purpose of the mission was to share their experiences in Lawrence with the people of Usula, meet their extended family, learn about their parents’ experiences as young people, and help teach sustainable farming techniques and marketing.
They also visited schools. Angima remembered, “we gave pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, pens, and reading books to all the students in the school.” Her father pointed out, “during all the years I went to school there, no one ever gave me anything – not even a pencil.” These were important symbols of the act of giving. Equally significant, the supplies are tools for learning. Education is highly prized in the Olando family as well as among the children in Usula. Favourlynn reflected, “the students in Usula are dedicated students but they don’t get the best education. They don’t get the help they need, and they don’t get many opportunities even if they work hard.”
They also learned from the students in Usula. They agreed, "in some ways the culture in Usula made their lives richer. They don’t have electronics, so all of the kids hang out together and talk. Here, most kids stay home with their electronics. When we were Usula, we made a vegetable farm and a lot of the children got to work on it. We paid them for the farming. Then we set up a market and showed the kids how they could make a business selling vegetables.”
Now that they have had some time to reflect on their experiences, they've reflected on their own goals ...
“I want to start a business like my parents did. I like business, finance, and fashion.”
“I want to study law and criminal psychology. I want to help people in difficult and challenging environments.”
“My goal is to get a good education. I want to have good people around me. I love building design — both interior and exterior — like architecture.”
“My goal is to have good grades in school. Someday I want to work in law enforcement.”
Read more about the Olando family’s Mission to Kenya in the Lawrence Gazette.