Dreams and doubts

I had a dream the other night that my teeth were falling out.  It started with one – my bottom front tooth.  It just fell out.  I was horrified but looked in the mirror and decided it wasn’t that noticeable.  And then a few days later another tooth.  It just spontaneously ejected from my mouth.  Then a few minutes later a third one.

Panic overtook me and I was flooded with questions . . .

Do I even know a dentist in Kenya?  If all my teeth fall out are dentures available here?  What sort of crazy disease did I pick up?  Am I lacking calcium even though I drink 5 cups of chai a day?

I woke up in a panic, felt for my teeth, and then let out a huge sigh of relief . . . no need for dentures . . . yet.

Lately I have been plagued by doubts . . . about being in Kenya longer-ish term.  I miss my friends.  I miss my family.  And I’ve been feeling selfish . . . wondering why I “gave up” so much.  I’ve been thinking about whether I could run the BEAM Kenya program from the U.S.  To be honest, it is very possible.  My mind tells me I’m not needed here all the time and maybe I should change plans.  And maybe I will.  I don’t know.

Yesterday I met with the spunkiest girl in our scholarship program.  She is usually full of so much life and joy. But yesterday she was down.  I asked her what was wrong and she said “nothing”.  Her eyes spoke volumes telling me so much more than “nothing”.  I pried, encouraging her to share more.

The floodgates opened.  She asked me about her mom and if I’d seen her and if she had gotten sober yet. She wept as she shared about the alcoholism in the slum and her fears around losing her mom, “I want to do well in school so I can change my family, Auntie Colleen.”

I listened, told her “pole” (sorry).  I tried to avoid fluffy cliches and honor her pain.  I encouraged her to cry because tears lead to healing.  I commended her ability to express difficult emotions so well at the tender age of 10.  We prayed.  I thanked her for reminding me how faithfully we need to pray for the families of all of our BEAM Kenya children.  The parents and guardians are just as much a part of the story as the kids.

We are opening an office in Turbo on “Black Street”, a place known for prostitution, gambling, and street kids.  I have been praying and dreaming about this for a long time.

The office is just down the road from this young girl’s house in the slum.  I have great hope that trauma counseling, healing prayer, addiction support, and psychosocial education can spread beyond our BEAM Kenya students and begin to impact more people in the slums.

So perhaps I am here for a reason and maybe for now I’ll just stay put.  And maybe just maybe I’ll be able to find a good Kenyan dentist if by chance my teeth start spontaneously ejecting from my mouth.

With love, gratitude, and a hint of sarcasm,


The picture below is from 2012 when I first visited the slums.  We visited many people struggling with addiction to “chang’aa”, an illicit brew in Kenya that often contains substances like jet fuel, embalming fluid, or battery acid. 

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  1. Colleen
    I have had this dream as well. Looked it up in a dream doctor and it said that it signifies loss of confirmed in yourself and worrying you may not be living up to others expectations

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