It has been one week since I've blogged. One reason is power problems and slow internet. Another reason is not knowing how to sort out all that I have been exposed to. There are great days. There are not so great days. The not so great days are not because I don't enjoy doing what I'm doing but more because I don't know how to process what I see and learn. I feel helpless at times. Those are the times that I have to make myself focus on the One that sent me and remember that He is in control of everything. Even the not so good, emotionally hard days.
The last week I've been to Canaan, Amani, Amazima, the Pregnancy Crisis Center and several villages for visits and research. The fun part is going to the same places over and over and building relationships. The hard part is what is discovered in the process.
On the ride back into town from Nyenga, we stopped to visit a mother that is in the program. She sent her little boy (around 10 years old) to pick up her weekly food (which is about 5 miles down the road). Carolyn, the director of the Crisis Center, wanted to see why the mother did not show up. We walked up to her humble little 8 x 10 home and discovered her there with two sick children. Her name is Mafira. She has 6 children and has been abandoned. The toddler is in bed sick with malaria and another little boy is coughing so deeply that it is suspected he has TB. The 10 year old boy is taking care of all the children so that his mom can feed the baby. His name is Shariffe. In the short hour that we were there, Shariffe bathed his little brother so that he could go in to town with us to get tested for TB. He gathered the water at the creek so that his mom could boil it to make formula for the baby because she is HIV positive and cannot breast feed. He dressed his brother and then went in to gather clothes for another sibling. Shariffe started the fire in the outdoor kitchen so that lunch could be prepared. Carolyn took the family into town so that the children could be tested for malaria and TB. We asked the mother of 6 why she had not taken the children to the clinic and she simply said, "because they ask for money." She pays 10,000 shillings a month for her rent and doesn't have any money for food or medicine. That equals about $4.00 in the U.S. The average salary here is about 120,000 shillings a month which is equal to about $50.00 in the U.S. I'm most certain that this particular abandoned mom with six children doesn't make close to the monthly average income. She is strapped and feeling hopeless and on this particular day God sent her an angel to help her out named Carolyn.
This is what I kept thinking that day as I sat and listened to the LC.: I am sitting in a village surrounded by children laughing. They are eager for me to take their photograph. They are polite and bow down to greet me out of respect. One little girl went to wash her hands so that she could properly greet me. Greetings are important here. They are not in school because their parents have not paid their school fees (mostly because they choose not to). The children are creative. They can make spinning toys out of tin and batteries and they know how to make push cars out of tires and empty bottles. And as the LC continues asking if we can help his community by talking to girls about purity I begin to look around at all the beautiful little girls that have come to greet us. They are excited that muzungus are in their back yards. I can't help but wonder: what will happen to them? Are they just a few years away from being in the streets and selling their little bodies? Overwhelming sadness comes over me for this particular community. It is more evidence that the root of the problem is the family. Families need help. They need training and counseling. And there needs to be a place of safety for those children that are in harm's way and there are many children in harm's way.