Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 2 - Kenya Journal

This was the day that I had looked for with such an amazing, but nervous, anticipation.  I was uncertain of what the meeting with our sponsored children would be be like.  I was so scared that it would be awkward and not fun for them.  I previously did not cultivate a relationship with the children, rather I relied on our kids to write "their kids" in Katito.  Although I was nervous, I was so looking forward to meeting the kids that got us involved in Katito, especially Nikalas, who I really felt a connection towards as his picture is what hooked me into sponsoring him.  I saw his face in the pamphlet and new I was meant to sponsor him.  This was the day on which the whole trip focused, or so I thought at the time.

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Katito Journal - Monday, 7 May, 2012

Today started with breakfast at the hotel. Everyone slept well and was refreshed, except for Lluvia. After breakfast, we headed to The Lakes sub branch office in Kisumu.  This office is responsible for all of the IPA's in the area, including Katito.  Once there, We met the SB staff and had devotional and tea.  Devotional focused on Psalm 37 and we discussed how only after you know the Lord can you do good works.  We also touched on money, anger, and how God will always be their to provide for us...how we may stumble, but God will always pick us up.  We met Joseph who is the SB manager and his staff while we were there.

We then drove the to the IPA in Katito.  IPA stands for Integrated Program Area and is meant to convey that multiple programs (objectives) are likely occurring in parallel.  We met the staff upon our arrival.  Albert is the new IPA manager, and Alfred is his second.  They briefed us on the the area and the IPA.  They informed us that there are about 4,700 children registered for sponsorship, with approximately 4,200 sponsored by three different churches.  We also learned that sponsorship conveys many indirect benefits to the families of the sponsored and to the community as a whole. 

After this we were supposed to meet with a local politician.  Clearly this was to benefit the WV staff, but it was good to hear about the cooperation between the government and WV. We kissed his hiney as good as we could.  I told him that the WV staff had informed us how supportive his office was and I thanked him for that.

As we waited to go to the official's office, we met with Caroline, who is responsible for sponsorship.  She informed us about how the letter process works and how they have 60 days to reply to a letter from a sponsor.  We were all very interested in this process, as we love when we get letters from the children.  As we were about to help stuff the envelops of letters to their sponsors, we were instructed that it was time to leave.

After the visit to the government official, we returned to the IPA for lunch.  We all were excited that the moment was approaching.  We drove to another part of the IPA and had to get out of the trucks to cross a creek.  As we approached, the children, their parents and the staff started singing in Swahili.  It was a beautiful song and set the stage for our arrival.  Josh jumped right in and started introducing himself.  We all followed suit.

I saw and recognized Nikalas almost immediately.  Then I saw Sammy.  I couldn't find the girls until I recognized Dorine.  I asked her her name to verify.  Lastly, I found Eunice.  It was apparent that she was the most shy of all of the kids.  We introduced ourselves to our sponsored children and to everyone else there.  It was the most incredible experience ever.
The children were so shy and soft spoken...Kenyans appear to be a soft spoken people, and these children being in this situation just made them mute.  We walked over to a covered area and we were given seats of honor, as were the sponsored children.  The administrative staff introduced themselves and we were paired up with our kids.

As we relocated to an inside area, Dylan and I gave the kids their backpacks.  I went through the photo albums and the pictures of Angie, the kids, Higgins and my run.  I introduced Marissa's picture to Dorine and told her how much Marissa loved her.  I did the same to Eunice with Cassie's picture.  With the help of an interpreter, I think the kids really got what I was saying.  We then pumped up their soccer balls and went to play in the field.  Dylan and Sammy ran off almost immediately.  Sammy is Dylan's "child" and they have been corresponding for a long time.  I kicked with Dorine, Eunice and Nikalas.  Eunice was so timid, that I asked Josh and Tracy to help out a little.  Josh's sponsored child had not yet arrived and Tracy does not have a child in Katito.  After a while, I got Dylan and Sammy to join us and Dylan and I kicked with all four children.  It was so much fun.

Eventually, it was decided that we should play a match - Springcreek Church vs. The sponsored children.  We played running around for awhile...it was such amazing fun. Sammy is a good player...the kids scored and I taught all of them how to HIGH FIVE.  They smiled and laughed at the goofy Mzunga.  That really seem to loosen up the kids...but nothing loosened them up as me falling in the mud.  Josh threw in the ball, and I headed it...and then slipped in the mud and went down.  EVERYONE cheered at the header and then laughed at the fall.  It was so fun.  Dylan scored on my assist and we tied it up.  Sammy then scored to take it for the children.

We then went back to the chairs and I opened the kids pencils.  I sharpened one for each kid and wrote my name on a page in their tablet.  I asked them to do the same...and then I asked them to draw a picture.  I drew a giraffe (tinga) and they laughed at it.  Even the moms laughed at it.  I met Sammy's and Eunice's dads and Nikalas and Dorine's moms. The kids drew pictures and I asked if I could keep them.  I will share them with the kids at home.

At that point it was about time to say goodbye.  We took pictures and everyone sang us a beautiful song.  Two kids stood up and made statements, one was our Nikalas.  Among other things, he 'thanked Mr. Scott'.  It was awesome.  Our group then sang Jambo to everyone...and they joined in and it was magical.

I said good bye to each of the kids, told them I loved them, and thanked their parents.  As we walked out, Dorine and Nikalas came up to the car for one more good bye.  Dorine especially, stuck her hand in the car and wouldn't let go.  Frankly, I wouldn't let her go, either.  When we finally did, I cried hard.  I am already dreaming of the next time I see them.

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N.B. - Pictured from top to bottom:  1) Sweet and shy Eunice.  She didn't say much, but was so sweet.  It was hard to focus on her as Nikalas and Dorine were much more outgoing.  She drew an amazing bird as her picture. 2) Amazing Nikalas.  He was much more outgoing and his mother was a hoot, too.  I really enjoyed meeting him, and got to see him in school the next day.  3)  Sammy was very outgoing, but I did not spend a lot of time with him as Dylan and he ran off to play soccer.  He is a good ball player, and we learned that he likes to draw and play drums.  No wonder he and Dylan connected so well.  4)  Beautiful Dorine.  She was so easy to connect with and I fell instantly in love with her.  I still see her in my dreams.  I don't know if I ever cried as hard as I did when we drove off.  We both wouldn't let go of each other through the truck window.  It was a life changing experience.

2 comments:

ChefMichele said...

amazing! tears welling up and a huge smile on my face just reading your post!

Tracy Murphree said...

My Brenda was the 1st to speak. She said she had met her 2nd mother. OH MY, let the tears begin.