The ramblings of a madman, or just some dullard? You decide.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Day 4 - Kenya Journal
Although we saw tremendous suffering and need, the real takeaway from this day was the message of hope and healing. The CIC group was one of the best examples of amazing adults investing in the future of children. The health clinic was a real example of partnership. It was amazing to see the teaching about things that we just seem to take for granted, like the health benefits of basic sanitation. Visiting Mary and her family, and being invited into her home, was a life-changing experience. Her hope, and the determination of "Adult" was awe inspiring, and I knew at the moment that Adult asked us to sponsor Mary's family why I was there. Ouma Grace, Mary's youngest child, was registered in the system at our request and the process for us to sponsor her is moving forward. Although it is easy to say that we will change their lives through sponsoring Grace, what is immediately evident to me is that our lives have also been changed by meeting her.
We started our day with worship and devotional at the Katito IPA office. We learned Momba Sowa Sowa (Things Are Getting Better) and it was so fun. A visiting pastor took us through Acts 27:21-26 and 2 Kings 4:1-7. The common thread is that God is not restricted by man's limitations. In both cases, He provided extraordinarily for those who had faith.
We then went to another primary school to see the work of the Children In Christ (CIC) group. We joined the kids in singing and dancing and playing games. We played simon says, learned a bible verse and danced. My partners were two little girls from the school. It was so much fun. The staff of the CIC was so awesome teaching the kids and I was really moved by the fact that the kids are learning about God and Jesus. In the school, I noted their motto: Together We Succeed! That very much sums up how I feel about this trip...the people in the field here...World Vision...and the resources that it takes...together, we can do God's work.
Next we went to a mobile health clinic for those who live too far away from the actual clinic building. We saw younger children (0-4 years) get weighed, measured, examined, etc. Additionally, we saw the mother's get educated on sanitation, nutrition, etc. Afterwards, we watched the villagers go through an exercise to help them come to awareness of the problem of OD (open defication). They mapped their village on the ground and showed the staff where they use the bathroom. The next step was for them to see the effects of not using a latrine and to understand the adverse health effects. The conversation was very graphic, but the key is that the villagers need to come to the understanding that it is a health issue on their own.
Our next stop was a community greenhouse. About 20 villagers, mostly older women, came together and built a 270 square foot greenhouse. The materials were obtained by them, except for anything that could not be supplied locally...the UVA plastic sheets and the screens. These were supplied by WV, as were the seeds. The women bought a rain catch cistern and hired the labor to put up the structure. Additionally, the government supplied the required training. A month ago they plated tomato seeds. In about a month, they will start to reap tomatoes and for 9 months, because of the green house, they will have tomatoes. What was so wonderful about these women, in addition to their hospitality, was that they donate much of their crop to OVCs and other needed areas. These women are the real Hands of God. I fact, I have been continually amazed by the generosity of those who appear to have so little.
We then returned to the the IPA for lunch. We have eaten very well on this trip.
We then visited Mary, a mostly single mother of four who is living with AIDS. We visited her in her home, which was a wonderful 2-room mud dwelling with a steel roof. She seemed to have suffered a stroke, as well. She and her caretaker Mary (aka: "Adult") shared her story of Mary becoming quiet ill and bedridden, and her husband leaving her because of that. We learned that world vision convinced her of her need to go to the hospital, where she learned that both her and her husband were HIV+. After learning of her infection, World Vision assigned caretakers to her who helped her get better. Two years later, she is doing better. Her beautiful four children are HIV negative, as well. Adult thanked us for her visit, but begged us to sponsor her children. I was very moved by this and realized that God was presenting me with an opportunity. I told Adult that we wouldn't forget about her, that she was in our hearts forever. I then asked Tracy Thurmond if there was anything we could do...Tracy inquired about her children's status and we discovered that they are not registered. However, with the help of the WV staff, one will be registered tomorrow, and will be immediately sponsored by Angie and I. I'm not even gone yet, but I cannot wait to return to see all of our sponsored children again.
From there, we left to go to an orphans and widows support group. We met about 15 widows (and two widowers) and 7 orphans. Additionally, we met a 17 year old boy (man) who was a head of household taking care of his younger brother and sister. This group, like so many others we've met were so wonderful. Having so little, their primary thought is for others. We were so amazed by their faith, their joy and their generosity. We heard how WV supports them as part of our visit. And, like our stop at the greenhouse, we were offered cokes to drink...I've had a lot of coke this trip, but I've also called in love with a strong ginger ale they have called Stoney Tanzaninga. We handed out lollipops to the children, and said our goodbyes.
We returned to the IPA for a late tea and then departed to the hotel, where we had even a later dinner. Simon led us in devotional and we discussed our concerns. The group is clearly concerned about how we can continue what we are doing and feeling when we return home...that we all want to live in the joy of faithfulness and love of God the way that the people that we've met here do,
NB - when I asked Angie if we could sponsor another child, she said of course. After I told her the story of Mary, she immediately replied with, "what about the other three?". That is why I love Angie...her heart for others is so amazing. However, WV rules stipulate that only one child per home can be sponsored...this is for several reasons, but I've learned this week that sponsorship has direct benefits for the entire family, as well as indirect and direct benefits for the entire community.