The Happy Valley is a region in the central part of Kenya that is the subject of innumerable books and quite a few films though its significance has been lost to many locals. The Valley was made famous by the escapades and antics of it’s by then residents. Largely British and Anglo-Irish aristocrats, their lifestyles, wild parties, drinking, and drugs attracted equal measures of loathing and admiration depending on the audience.
Overlooking the so-called Happy Valley on the hills of Engineer township is where I found myself and five other colleagues on holiday recently. I must hasten to state that the destination for our holiday did was not based on the fame of the location.
L’Arche Kenya core members have holidays from time to time. They are intended to allow them to reconnect with friends and family, travel, get out of the dreary routine of work and do something exciting. Assistants like myself of course have the welcome privilege to join in.
Many core members are clear where they want to go and I as an assistant can with reasonable certainty the trip following their ideas.
But for Jane and Allan, the issue is not straightforward. Jane’s family lives far from the community. She also has special needs requiring extended support. These factors make a holiday at her home challenging. Allan on the other hand has no close family members where he could go for a holiday.
Luckily, a former assistant invited the two core members and the accompanying assistants to join her family. And that is why we ended on the outskirts of the (in)famous Happy Valley. This was proof of how relationships formed at L’Arche Kenya can last even if people leave the organization. We had a great time and the holiday was a success for all involved.