Paul Orando is a rising star on the futbol pitch and in the classroom.
This 13 year old recently took the KCPE exam and is putting 100 percent of his effort into not only making his future, but also being an inspiration. Another 100 percent goes to helping his younger brothers and sisters live comfortably, and the last 100 percent is left on the pitch every time he steps on it.
Paul, along with his sister Angelina, has been in our home since 2009. He has made this home his own in achieving so much with every opportunity. Paul is at the top of his class. If he does well on the KCPE, he will be able to go to a secondary school of his choosing, with, of course, support from all of us!
Motivated by all of the new construction around Meru, Paul aspires to become a civil engineer. Like any other engineer-to-be, he loves mechanics and finds the ins and outs of any product.
KINDRED SPIRITS FROM WORLDS APART
When you first meet Paul, you may have to look twice. He will be in the back of the room, observing and thinking. He’s not a dancer or a singer, but he will stand out in ways that will make you remember him forever. He is soft-spoken and gives out the warmest of vibes, which is how I got to know him so well.
The first day I met Paul, he was the only one not playing futbol. He sat on the sideline and observed the others play. I sat next to him, said two words, and the rest of the time we sat in silence, watching. He reminded me of my younger self. We truly connected in silence. Ever since then, Paul stood out to me, and we bonded.
Back in the States, I decided to sponsor him at the first opportunity I got. I have watched him grow over the past five years, and it feels incredible to have a younger brother that is not only close to me, but also close to the rest of my family. Without saying much, he shows how powerful a simple act of kindness can be. He inspires me to return to Meru year after year to not only see him, but to see all of the other kids that he calls his brothers and sisters.
We’ve gotten older and stronger, busier and taller— well, Paul has. He is no longer a kid and is now a young adult. To see him progress in his own life, with little help from me, and show his brothers and sisters how to make their lives their own is the greatest gift in the world.
Shravan Joshi is listed as Paul Orando’s mentor through Hope Children’s Fund’s mentorship program. The paperwork states that Paul, who was born in 2003, came to the home in October of 2009. It fails to state that Paul and Shravan have been kindred spirits from their first encounter, when Shravan was a high school student traveling to Kenya with the Manns as his in loco parentis. Shravan and Paul share a love of futbol and a deep commitment to caring for others. They bonded so closely during that trip that the departure day was traumatic for them both. Only one knew that the goodbye was really until we meet again.
Shravan and his family made sure that Paul became a part of the family. He later returned to Kenya on his own. Shravan’s mother, Nisha, traveled to the home to meet the boy who had made such a huge impact on her son. While there, Nisha Joshi introduced the children to Chit Yoga and even sponsored a futbol (soccer) club.
Paul and his mentor, Shravan Joshi, first met when Shravan was on a high school trip to the orphange. continue his efforts with Technology Partnerships, a non-profit that gives technological assistance and resources to orphanages.
What started as a chance meeting while on a high school mission trip has blossomed into a lifelong relationship between kindred spirits. Both Paul and Shravan feel blessed by the friendship. These are the types of relationships that we seek to foster.
Paul and Shravan have many exciting chapters of their lives ahead. While young in years himself, Shravan has wisdom, compassion, and knowledge well beyond his chronological years. What started as a chance meeting one day in Meru will be a lifelong story unfolding, as time does, over many, many years to come.
By Shravan Joshi