Karibuni is Swahili for “welcome everyone.” Often written on signs in Kenya, or expressed in greeting to guests at one’s home, it conveys genuine hospitality, acceptance and honor. Culturally, the different people groups of East Africa are very communal, and value relationships. Often times friends and acquaintances drop by other’s homes unannounced and are welcomed with tea, conversation and friendship. With surprising similarity, complete strangers can approach a foreign door and expect to receive the same type of hospitality that they would from a close friend or relative.
The concept of this center, a place where each person can come and feel welcomed and accepted, grew out of my own experience growing up in Kenya and Uganda, where I was exposed to this kind of hospitality. Once welcomed, one can expect to receive their hosts’ undivided attention. In these situations guests are the priority, and it is an honor to sit with them and converse for hours.