Those of you who follow this blog know I am nothing if not honest and right out there. It is a week until I depart and I must say I have very mixed feelings. My body still aches all over; my knee is not fully recovered nor is my ankle. I think of the long ride across the Rift and the walking in the endless heat to see the women’s businesses and my heart sinks a bit. Will I make it this time?
I am going back with a different cargo this time. I am not bringing medications, but school supplies and panties. Monica and I agreed last time that what the children needed more than sweets once they performed is a pencil or pen. So it’s pencils, pens and panties.
Walmart and I seem to be having a problem communicating. I have ordered the 500 pairs of panties from them several times. But somehow the order never goes through. I was sure I had it the last time, but when I went to their site I see that the cart is still full. So now it’s a trip to Walmart to actually buy the panties and the pencil sharpeners. I guess I’ll do that on the weekend since I’m working a full week.
The problem is that even carrying things hurts, and climbing up all my steps to pack the bags seems somewhat insurmountable. I am reminded of what my pastor once said when a man came up to him and asked, “How do you know if you’re doing what God wants?”
Scott thought for a minute and said, “Have you ever heard what God wanted from you? “ and the man said, “Yes but that was a while ago”. So Scott said, “Until you hear different I suggest you keep doing what you’re doing.”
And I haven’t heard a word from God yet about not going, so I guess I better keep doing what I’m doing.
It’s been a while since I checked in. I wish I could say it’s more stable in Kenya, but alas, this morning’s Washington Post reports that our Ambassador has been recalled. The Nation reports there is continued terrorism in Kisi, 17 killed in churches in Garissa, and an editorial in the same paper calls for keeping its people safe from harm on the highways, in the cities, and walking the roads. But it is still my heart home.
I have made my plans to go back soon. I have mixed feelings about this. The injuries I sustained last time and the time it has taken me to recover remind me I’m 65. It’s funny how one always counts on a quick recovery and then you get to an age where it just doesn’t happen that fast. Now that I can walk with minimal pain, I notice it.
Yet our work is not done. We are fine tuning our program. We are going to welcome a new school in Sept. which is the last term of the year for school children in Kenya. We will begin our training then so that when school opens in January they will be, more or less, on equal footing with the other schools. I believe that this will be crucial to the continuation of our work and the way forward.
I will get the reports from the second term in a few weeks: I am anxious to see how they are doing. I want to get back to see Monica and the staff at KMET. I want to go to our deaf school and sign with the children. I want to finally take some time to visit Lake Naivasha. I want to go home.
I know there will come a day when I will have to stop. I know one day I will either turn over the reins or pass it on. But for now, I guess I am really looking forward to getting back.
While we filled our glasses with wine, the children were dying. While we ate our bellies full, the floods were raging. While we raised a lot of money for One Village at a time, people were drowning and the rivers and Lake Victoria continues to sweep entire villages away.
I can’t make sense of all this. Harambee this year was the best ever. And we danced and laughed and showed photos of the children we help. Our committee was all shiny and did an amazing job. The music was spectacular. But, Back in Kenya, 3 children died as they were swept down river. Livestock lost, crops are lost. Why?
Often people will ask me why there are bad people in the world, or do I believe that God created misery. Usually I can say no that is the creation of man. But the floods, God, You’re famous for this. And I wonder whether we can ever help the children and villagers out of the muck. Are You testing my resolve? Was it not enough that it shall take me 8 months to recover from last time? Of course I’m going back, but really, can you give my people a break?
How do I reconcile the life here in Boston to the misery of what is happening now in my districts in Kenya? How do I even attempt to explain to people that where I work, villagers went to bed and during the night their homes were swept away, and their children lost? It’s not like Katrina; this is something that happens every year.
I wanted to write a really upbeat article about Harambee, but I always check the Nation just to give you all an update on Kenya. And today my heart sunk as I saw the tragedy unfold in words and photos. I am so grateful for everyone who did such an awesome job, but God, it’s going to be hard to pray to You tonight. I need You to explain this one to me.