As I boarded the plane that night to leave Nairobi, my mind was realing from all that I had scene, all that I had held, and all that I could not comprehend. Hours before, I had pried my little daughter from my arms and returned her screaming to the orphanage, kissed the baby boy one last time that had stolen my heart, and said farewell to a group of dirty, hungry students in a little tin building they called school. I had now seen the FACE of poverty. So often, poverty is this thing, this demon that seeks to kill hope and destroy lives, but for me, poverty now had a dirty face, a torn dress, bare feet, and big brown eyes.
The next few months were spent finishing paper work, securing our tickets, and packing our bags to live in Kenya for an unknown length of time. To be honest, I tried desperately to put the images, the faces, out of my mind. I was going to Kenya to get my babies! I did not want to dampen my joy with any thoughts of my responsibility to some little street kids whose problems were far too big for me to solve.
We arrived in Kenya at the end of July and spent August adjusting to our new culture. After Jeromy left in August, I realy struggled with the loneliness I imagine single mothers feel routinely. At this point, I really was so wrapped up in my struggles, that I gave little thought to anything else. Early October, our neighbors completed their adoption and left Kenya after having lived there for over one year. As I watched their excitement dampened y the agony of leaving their friends and missions in Kenya, I took a hard look into my heart. While it is understandable to struggle in the midst of a new culture, I realized that I had a unique opportunity to impact in a way that a lot of people only dream of. I mean, how many people get to live in a foreign country for a year? To touch a culture and a people where they live is something many only dream about. I realized I needed to get my eyes off of myself and start seeing the faces around me.
Naturally, this led me to reconnect with Samuel. It was then that I met his beautiful wife Pamela. He came to our apartment and we talked about the school and the kids. I asked the hard questions and found out that it had been three days since he, his family, or the kids had had anything to eat. He was ashamed to tell me, but I asked and he answered. I was so sad.
This meeting led to many others. Soon, I was volunteering at the school in a regular basis and doing all I could to raise a little money for food. In October, my sister Rebecca, her husband Tom and their friend Andy, came out to meet Damon and Sundi. With them, they brought monetary gifts to help with food and projects at the school. While there, they finished putting in the toilets on the new property, added an addition to be used as an office for the pastor, added a closet for the books and food, and an area for cooking. In addition, a gift was given through their contacts to begin the process for running the lines so that the property could have electricity. Little did I know, but a passion was born in Tom and Rebecca that would later be crucial in the birth of WE ARE KENYA.
Below are pictures from their first trip:
The additional toilet structures
the new addition
a very happy Samuel at his desk in his new office
our new soccer ball (they still have it!)
a special lunch
rice, and maize
the day ends with bananas for dessert