I was only 22 years old when I first travelled to Africa. I had a job offer and I wanted a short holiday before embarking on my career as a Tax Accountant. I went to visit my elder brother, Francis, who is now a priest, who lived in a remote village in Turkana, a semi desert region in the north-east of Kenya. During my time there, I met some nurses from the Claraeulalias Community and witnessed how they served the marginalised and needy by attending to their basic medical needs. For the first time in my life, I realised that life was extremely difficult for others. There is a much bigger place outside my worldview, and this realisation left a deep impact on my life.
Gabriel with Solomon Dulu and Kingston Bisiko from Kenya, while on an educational trip in 2018
For the next five years, I worked hard as an accountant in Singapore. But there were also many questions in my mind and heart. As such, I made trips back to Kenya and Bolivia despite my busy work schedule. These questions were the reason why I was spurred to resign from my job, as I needed to properly discern about my life and vocation. I sold my car to then Archbishop Gregory Yong, donated my furniture to the Good Shepherd sisters, withdrew my life savings and departed to Kenya in search of the answers. I chose Kenya because it was the place that kickstarted all these questions.
I realise that I was not the main hero in the story. God is.
Unfortunately, my world came crashing down soon after. I thought I had good intentions, that I was doing philanthropy, making personal sacrifices, changing lives, and bringing solutions to other. But it revealed nothing. Within a year, the euphoria ended. I felt so empty, like I was in a desert.
It was a humbling experience when I realise that I was not the main hero in the story. God is.
Now, I can testify that the time being stuck in a desert was life-changing and life giving. It strengthened my faith tremendously and taught me to rely less on myself and more on God. My faith drives me to serve the Kenyans.