Thursday, October 15, 2009

a few journal notes....

Over the next few days I will try to share parts of my journal from our trip to give you all a snapshot of my experience there. It is wonderful to be home and to see my children. How amazing was my husband while I was gone?! He's the cutest!! So proud

Our luggage didn't make it home yet so I will post pics as soon as I can. I know you all are waiting:)


Okay, this is crazy, I woke up in Africa. The breakfast was great. The place we are staying is pretty nice and has running water for showers. I got a surprise letter of encouragement from a friend and it felt so nice to know that people were praying for me. After a 4 hour church service of worship that would blow the speakers out at WRCC, the social workers of the Hope Center and the CHE trainers gave us tours in small groups of the slum where we would be working. Our social worker assigned to my group is Mary and she is in charge of 180 children. She knows where they live, home dynamics, school attendance, reason missed and does counseling. She is amazing. The Kenyan workers blew me away.

The Mathare Slum was like nothing I've ever seen before. It was sensory overload. It smelled of livestock and sewage. That kind of smell that is so intense you feel like you can taste it. There is dirt everywhere. On everything. By the end of the day it lined my nostrils and ear canals. Trash piles of old tires, plastic bags, human and animal excrement, maggots and human and animal hair all lay on the streets made of uneven dirt and large rocks. The water for the community runs through it all. The water they drink, wash clothes in, play in and animals walk doesn't stop. The sheer size of this slum is completely overwhelming. There are 800,000 people in the Mathare slum alone living in these conditions and it sickens me to my soul.

What I saw today will haunt me. Children with flies on their snotty faces. Children with a very worn soiled sweater and nothing else, five boys under the age of 7 trying to light a fire and a four year old girl carrying her two year old sister on her back while the youngest one toddled alongside. Men next to the river brewing illegal alcohol to take the pain away. Babies helping babies. Women doing their laundry in the river that is almost dry and filled with sludge.

At church there was a little boy dancing with a winter hat on his head, a tattered sweater, and pajama pants. For four hours he was there. I never saw a parent and he was maybe 3.... Another image I will not forget is one of a mother barely 5 feet tall carrying her special needs son on her back. He was probably ten and she carried him in a sling on her back walking tall and proud. A glimpse of love and sacrifice unrivaled. At church Pastor Dan helped with the baby dedication. One of the infants was the newborn of a couple he helped marry last year on his visit. How cool is our God?!

We visited several homes on our tour and one was a great great grandman living with a family of seven in a room that was very drak and about 8x10 in size. She has lived there in those conditions ''uncomfortably since 1963." I cannot imagine the hopelessness that must yield. She was gracious and a blessing. It was a hard day--a devastating heartbreaking day. So hard to process and wrap my brain around it all. Mary and Wallace Kumaw started this all. It is amazing to see what one person can do to change the world. CMF and Hpe Partnership have truly brought hope to the darkest places int he world. It is an honor to be serving God here.

As I fall asleep, I can't help what God must feel when He looks down and sees His precious people suffering like this. It is my instinct to wonder where He is and how He could allow this to happen. But I know that He is looking at me, at us and wondering where we are and how we let this happen. We are His plan. We have to step up.

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