Monday, February 14, 2011

Seeing Kenyan homes – Sunday, February 13, 2011

On Sunday, we went to church and enjoyed the amazing Kenyan singers. The service is so much more alive here with singing and dancing. A single song could last 20 minutes for the offertory as people dance the gifts up the aisle in a shuffling, yet excited motion. This also means that the service can be 2 hours long, and with the typically Kenyan 30 minute delayed start time, the service can be quite long because us silly wazungos (Kiswahili for white people) show up at the scheduled time. Still it’s beautiful!
Cheri went to visit her sponsor child, Justa, accompanied by Shawna and some of the Chalice staff. They drove the combi as far as they could down a secluded dirt road 15 minutes from Mikinduri, and had to get out and walk the rest of the way. Justa met them and walked 5 minutes further to their house. The house was a typical Kenyan house: wooden round frame that is packed with dung and dirt for the wall. The ceiling is sheet metal and the whole house is 20 ft x 10 ft. Justa was nervous but happy to see Cheri. They met her mother who was only 25 years old, very young to have an 11 year old. She has a sister Josephine who is six. Cheri brought them food rather than brining money: rice, salt, sugar, cooking oil, biscuits, and ugali mix. The girls were given brand new backpacks, school supplies, books, stickers, and a nice brown shirt with purple flowers.  Then they gave balloons to the girls and every nearby child. By this time, the nervousness was gone and both girls were smiling. They then came with us in the combi to go to church and sat with Cheri at church. Though not an uncommon sight, Cheri has tears in her eyes recalling it. For probably the first time in their lives, they went up to give 10 shillings each in the offering (which is a big deal in Kenya as it’s in the front of the church, and is worth only 12 cents). It was a very special morning. Touching, and reiterated how important sponsorship is in this country.
After mass and breakfast, 15 of us went to see Ted’s sponsor child’s house, to see a typical Kenyan house surrounded by a myriad of crops that the boys grow themselves. This was the home of the twins that were entertaining us from the night before. The twins proudly showed off their house. Their mother has spells of insanity, and in those moments, she forgets the boys are her children, so they have been forced to build their own house on the property. As a result they have two houses in an area that most people only have one. Their sister lives with their mother and during the rainy season, the mother’s house is infiltrated by snakes.  The boys were telling me this as I crouched into the mother’s house, having to duck to enter, and taking many pictures of every wall, using my camera as a flashlight since it was so dark I didn’t want to step on a snake. Quite a sad story, and so obvious why the boys were so thrilled to stay with us for the evening. It is inspiring though, because the boys are so smart, polite, and educated for young boys, that they are so wise beyond their years. One of the boys wants to be a priest when he grows up, and would be fantastic!
Julius and Emilioh and the house they built
Adrian and Charlie went to visit their sponsor child, Elithas, a nine year old child half an hour from Mikinduri. He was so nervous at the beginning to let them in the gate, but was so happy by the end. Adrian said it was so overwhelming, and try as you might you try not to cry, it was hard. His mom served them chai tea. The place was immaculate. It was not the typical Kenyan house at all. They had chickens, a pig, and a cow and great crops.  Adrian and Charlie hope to get them a pair of goats. Part of the Chalice program includes a social network with teaching, and his mother attends every teaching clinic! Charlie said they had the biggest corn he had seen in his life, and this corn has to be 10 ½ feet high. Everything was lush and green and you’d think they had irrigation. On a sad note though, they had just diagnosed Elithas with HIV, which is what the father died from and the mother also contracted. She has 6 kids, and he’s the youngest.
Adrian and Charlie brought two baseball gloves and a baseball, assuming Elithas would know the sport. He was good at catch but put the glove on the wrong hand, so he had clearly never heard of it! His twenty year old brother was there and they showed him how to play as well since he had never seen a baseball. He tried to use the glove to throw the ball and later as a bat after it was explained that you hit the ball. It is one of the things you take for granted. They brought 10 pictures of their kids, dogs, the snow, and horses. He went through the pictures and when it was offered that he could pick his favorite, he wanted all of them! She said it was a fabulous experience. While they were there, as mentioned in Sat’s blog, a child who was very sick was able to seek treatment because they were there! It was a fabulous visit!
We spent the evening preparing for the clinics with meetings at the sites and loading the combis. It was a nice evening but the air was tense with excitement and anticipation for the next day’s clinic.
Part of the Kencan 2011 team

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