Honored and Privileged

I have a good Kenyan friend who just went to the U.S.  He has so kindly been saying thank you to myself and the other Americans here in Kenya for all the sacrifices we make living so far away from our very comfortable homes in America.

There is some truth in that for me.  I made some sacrifices.  I left some comforts . . . my family . . . my friends . . . my well-paying job . . . my condo . . . my car . . . my routine.

But lately “honored and privileged” are the words ringing through my mind.  It feels like a great honor to be here in Kenya . . . with the community . . . getting to know the kids whose school scholarships we’re advocating for . . . trying to understand the challenges they face living in poverty.  It’s a privilege to advocate for their mental health needs and understand more about their loss and trauma.  I get to be here, in Kenya, walking alongside these children as they discover their paths towards healing and wholeness through pursuit of an education and a relationship with Jesus Christ.

These first three weeks in Kenya have been busy.  I have an incredible social worker who is helping with the scholarship and counseling program.  Together we have been working to get the 19 students from our scholarship program started in school (the school year begins in January).

I got a very small taste of what it looks like to be a Kenyan struggling to get children ready for school. It is not as easy as driving up to Target, putting everything in a shopping cart, and going home.

It involves somehow getting to “town” . . . a place about an hour from the village I live in trying to get uniforms, school supplies, mattresses, blanket, boarding supplies.  And then waiting in long lines at the bank to pay school fees.  And then sweating while walking through the market in the burning hot sun trying to convince people that the price of underwear shouldn’t go up just because my skin is white.

It involves development of a tracking system for every uniform, mattress, pencil, eraser, and bar of soap given.  And then making sure all the uniforms are labeled, kids have all their books and backpacks and sports shoes and school shoes and kiwi shoe polish and Colgate and and on and on I could go.  It’s been challenging, exhausting, and frustrating at times for my oh so impatient American self who is used to having everything at her fingertips at all times.

But after a long day this week, I went to Brook of Faith to eat ugali with these sweet faces.

I get to be here?  With them?  This is my life?

What.  An.  Honor.

And another day after a long day of sweating and bargaining in town, I came back to the village to these sweet faces, decked out in their Brook of Faith “games kits”.

I get to be here?  With them?  This is my life?

What.  A.  Privilege.

Honored and Privileged.  Yes, this is my Kenyan life and it’s oh so good to be back.

With love and gratitude,

Colleen

P.S. If you are interested in ways you can support the scholarship or counseling needs of these children, please send me an email or FB message.

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