unwilling to unlatch. We provided great entertainment for our Kenyan friends who were quickly guiding us through this mud wearing proper shoes to visit the children in our program.
For two days we struggled through the mud, sometimes walking miles in between each home just to see the children you and I agreed to sponsor. Ashamed to walk into
the village homes with our muddy shoes, we stood in what little grass we could find to try and remove the mud. The guardians didn’t mind one bit for they had been awaiting our arrival. To have a guest in their home was an honor,
especially a guest who came to offer hope for the next generation of their family. These homes, no matter how small, were kept so neat. Even with dirt floors, trash was not found. Lace material covered mud walls and old furniture. The children were clean, unlike those you see on television with flies around their faces and bellies popping out for lack of nourishment. It was like the guardians had oiled their children’s faces so we wouldn’t notice they had been fasting.
We entered each home mentioning nothing of the sponsorship, for at this time not even half of our children had been sponsored. We only told them we had come to partner with the guardians to see that each student would be encouraged throughout their years of school. Though we moved to many homes, we took time to ask questions about each child. It was important to really know the living conditions of our children.
While I will not tell you about every child in our program, there is one child who stood out amongst the rest. When we entered his home, he appeared to be so shy. He didn’t even want to show his face at first. His mother, very feeble, made sure to greet us and answer questions about her son. In addition to telling us about her son, she shared her own story of being HIV+. As she spoke about the hardships she has suffered, I saw her son begin to cry. She told us that the father already passed from this condition and her older son has not been around to help. This middle son in our program has the weight on his shoulders. He loves the mother so much and doesn’t want to leave her side. He is aware his mother may not live long and it scares him for he doesn’t really have anyone left. I fought back tears trying to remain strong.
My muddy birthday shoes were no longer an issue. Here I was staring at a strong Christian woman who may
not even have a chance to have a new pair of shoes or even see her next birthday. I was staring at a son young enough to belong to me, crying because he knows his mother may not even see his next birthday. In the midst of my devastation I had hope. I reached in my bag and pulled out the navy blue folder this young boy’s sponsor had sent to him. Only two of our children had letters from their sponsors and I was grateful he was able to receive a letter in such a devastating period of life. I saw him grin from ear to ear as he pulled out the large family photo of his sponsor and looked at the envelope holding his personal letter. Tears filled my eyes once more, only these were tears of joy and hope. This child may not have his mother come next year, but he will have his sponsor to give him hope.
It must be said that after leaving this mother’s home, her son escorted us to many other homes. He laughed and cut up with us. Seeing him each week, he is the entertainment of the group. He brings smiles to the faces of those around. He is a light to darkness.
Walking in the mud for two days was challenging but the celebrations erased the challenge. We were able to visit thirty-five of our fifty children in their homes. We did not bring them to a meeting place sheltered from us getting dirty. We went to them in their territories of comfort to be invited into their lives.
The rains came.
The wind blew.
The mud thickened trying
to capture us like quick sand.
We prevailed because it
was the chief who gave us the opportunity to enter those gates!