Monday, May 24, 2010
Send Me, I'll Go...
In about two hours we arrived to Kibera. If you are not familiar with Kibera, it is Africa’s largest slum with population of 500,000 to 750,000 people whose existence the government of Kenya does not recognize. Kibera was everything that I imagined for it to be. If you watch infomercial about poverty in Africa, this was 100 times worst. The smell of sewage was so strong that until your nose adapts to it, you fill sick to your stomach. My eyes couldn’t believe that it was actually possible to live in such poor conditions. Our group stayed in a house on the outskirt of the slum. The house was small and simple with running cold water and it made me happy that I can actually wash my face. Before too long our guide (local pastor) took us on excursion around the slum.
It was hot outside and as we carefully walked through what looked like a trash dump I was in disbelief that I was walking through the land that people reside on. Little children would run up to us shouting, “How are you?” with an accent. We were told prior to the trip that was the only phrase that little children knew and loved letting others know about it. Before too long we came to a building, which turned out to be the local Bible school. As the pastor was talking to the group, his words became a blur to me and I felt that at any moment I was going to pass out. I have never felt that way before and became very scared. I grabbed my leader and told her that I had to seat down because my legs were barely holding me. The next thing I know the whole group gathered around me and started to pray as the guys took their hats off to fan me. I know that God was watching over me as Is 40:29 says, He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak”. I felt better but my leaders weren’t sure if I would be capable of walking around for another hour. One of the leaders and a group member walked me back to the house, where I rested until the rest of the group came back.
The following morning I felt much better as we prepared to go to the local school to teach kids God’s Word. As we jumped over the sewage puddles, local kids barefoot would walk through them. To them it was not a big deal since their surrounding was all they have ever known. When we arrived to school, each one of us was assigned a classroom. I had girls around 11-13 years old, who were extremely shy. As I tried to remember their names and asked questions, none of them wanted to share too much information about their families. Later on I learned that some students drop out of school in order to work to help feed the family. Most children had one parent while others were either orphans or lived with extended family members. Unlike children in Owasso, these children were reserved and held their distance. I didn’t bond with any of the girls and I wondered if they dreaded the hour that I spend with them each day. As I prepared different devotions to share with the girls, every day on our way back to the camp I couldn’t stop thinking if the girls learned anything. However, I must leave the speaking part up to the Holy Spirit and keep praying earnestly for the girls’ future.
To be continued….