Our team followed Evelyn to her home to meet Gordon. Upon arrival Gordon enthusiastically greeted us. Still, his sickness was evident. It seemed to take all of his strength to talk. As Gordon spoke, we understood where Evelyn got her loving smile and gentle spirit. In a few short hours, we shared beautiful moments of both laughter and tears with Gordon. Even now, we cannot forget his words, "This precious daughter is the reason I fight to stay alive."
On October 23, 2007, Gordon died, and Evelyn became a total orphan.
"When Evelyn Akinyi locked her eyes with mine, I remembered. I remembered years ago when I had first met Evelyn. She was only 4-years-old then. She was quiet, yet passion for life exuded from her bright eyes and smiles. An outstanding student, our team had chosen Evelyn as one of about 2 dozen pupils to participate in the Africa Dream Project Art Program in 2004.
Three years later, I'm sitting before Evelyn as the principal, Bromwell, briefly explains her current situation. Today Evelyn is quiet. Today she speaks powerfully through her eyes; she is saying, "I'm still full of passion for life. I'm still fighting for life." Our team listens and learns that Evelyn's father, Gordon, is very ill.
About 2 months ago Evelyn came to school saddened after her dad said he would die very soon. The school's social worker, Rose, quickly went to Evelyn's home where she found Gordon. He was laying on the concrete slab where his 10 foot by 10 foot home sits. Gordon was near death. His 30-year-old body was battling a TB infection. What's more, Gordon was HIV+. Rose was able to get TB meds for Gordon. At that time, all could only hope for Gordon's recovery." - Team USC 2007 member