Kenya Flashback Series 4 of 6

More insight into my journey from last summer . . .

August 3rd, 2012

Blowdryer
Makeup
Wardrobe
Mirror

What do all of these things have in common?

I don’t have any of them in Kenya.  OK.  Slight exaggeration.  There is a tiny mirror in our bathroom.  I don’t think it counts though as the lighting is poor and the mirror is often foggy.  My clothing options are limited to a suitcase.  My outfits are pathetic compared to my American standards.  I would be on the “Worst Dressed” page in US Weekly without a doubt.  I’ve worn no makeup.  My hair is always tied back.  Most days I feel like a sloppy America (a lot of the women wear colorful skirts in some of the most beautiful patterns I’ve ever seen).  The kids wear uniforms most of the time but also have a decent amount of play clothes.  Some are torn.  Some are missing buttons.  Some have dirt stains.  But don’t be fooled.  These kids are very well taken care of due to the dedication of the ELI staff and the sponsorship program.  I believe the condition of their clothes has more to do with the fact that they work hard and play hard and spend the majority of their day outdoors.  All the kids have shaved heads (even the girls) and brown eyes and are hard to differentiate.

Until. . .

you get to know them.

After spending only a short time with them, their spirit, their hopes, their dreams, their stories and the gifts God uniquely created for each and every one of them is revealed.  Take away the clothes, take away the hair, take away the mirrors, take away the gadgets, take away the stuff.

Getting to know a person for who they really are and not who they are pretending to be is so much easier when you don’t have to break through so many external layers.

The lessons I have to learn from this place are never-ending.

Monday started a new project in a slum in Turbo (an area about 15 minutes from Kipkaren where I reside at the children’s home).  This place makes the Children’s Home look like Beverly Hills.  We (ELI) are doing a public health survey on sanitation, malaria, alcoholism, and women’s health.  The people here are very poor and are living in awful conditions (hence the word slum).  I’ve bounced from bubble to bubble in my life (St. Louis to Boston College to San Diego).  The slums are unfamiliar and at times shocking territory for me.

View of homes in Turbo slums

Turbo slums survey

My head has come up with a few different reactions:

1.      Drop some shillings at each house to help feed them for one day.

2.      Break into tears.

3.      Feel overwhelmed.  Give up.  Go home.  Forget this poverty exists.

4.      Envision how big God is and how much Hope there is for change.

Maybe one day the Beverly Hills like setting at the Children’s Home in Kipkaren can become a reality in Turbo.

Which would you pick?  I’ll be praying for #4.  Feel free to join in that endeavor.

9 months later and a booked flight to Kenya (yes I booked yesterday!!!), I have days where #3 pops in and rears its ugly head.  I think “What have I gotten myself into???”  And then I go back to #4 to be reminded that this has nothing to do with me and everything to do with God and Hope.  September 4th, 2013, I will leave San Diego for Kenya.  I don’t know much, but I do know how to show up, even if I don’t feel like it, even if I’m scared.

Always Hopeful,

Colleen

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Comments

  1. amy forman says

    love you colleen!

  2. After all the yearning, dreaming, planning now it is real!!!

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