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Hope is the Spark that Changes Lives

The day starts like all the other work days.  6:00am – my eyes pop open with the rising of the sun, but I shut them for another 30 minutes of laying around, knowing I really don’t have much to do until breakfast time.  A cold shower wakes me up completely, along with the smell of sautéing vegetables.  For the first time since arriving in Kenya, I smell something spicy cooking and I know we are in for another treat.  I put on my jeans and t-shirt and make it downstairs in time for Eric to hand me a cup of coffee, fresh from his little French press. This cup is followed by a bowl of fruit salad, homemade donuts called mandazi, and two deliciously spicy (ginger, chili, onion, peppers) samosas made with ground beef.  AHHH!!  Delicious!

We break out into teams, with Eric, Fred, Kevin and Cody heading out to the rear of the property where they are building a granary.  It is hard, hot work, but they are joined by a team of 5 Kenyan men and they all make the work look much easier than it is.  I hear laughter and conversation when I visit the site and it is so neat to see the walls getting taller each day.  Today, they are creating wood forms in order to pour a beam around the periphery of the building and they all meet their match in the terribly hard wood they are given.  They saw, they chisel, they hammer, and they sweat.  The wood almost wins, but by the end of the afternoon, the guys win and a form is set and ready for the cement to be poured.

kids helping tanya sawWhile they are busy in the back, Michelle, Katy, Momo, and I work on a playground.  The ground is just as hard as the wood with which the guys struggle, and it takes some help from a local guy (also a Kevin) so that we can make some progress.  Before you know it, we have 6 tires set in the ground and two little picnic tables built out of old wooden benches.  I saw and saw and saw a pole so we can make a stepping game for the kids.  Nine children perch on my log, helping it stay still and with feet braced against it, I keep sawing until another project calls me away. I am replaced by Michelle and Morgan, who cut through the log to much cheering. A sand box is built and is filled with sand and our morning ends with a feeling of accomplishment.

Sharon and Cheryl meet with the 9th grade teacher to plan what they will be teaching during their health class with the kids.  They walk away impressed with the teacher, knowing that he has a love for the kids and for teaching that is so important for what he does.

A hearty lunch and lots of water follows our walk back to the guesthouse, where we all sit like tired puppies, regaining our strength and getting ready for the afternoon.

katy reading to kidsAfter lunch, Michelle, Katy, and Morgan are reading to preschoolers, teaching them English words while making stories come alive. The two nurses are conducting assessments on the children in the school and give out toothbrushes and toothpaste, showing them how they should be used.  This is practical work, with the community health workers watching and participating in the assessments, with some hearing a heartbeat through a stethoscope for the first time.  Their eyes widen in disbelief and slow smiles emerge as they wonder at the beat.

I go from project to project this afternoon, making mental notes regarding AFCA’s future involvement in this area. Now that we have two years of work with this partner under our belt, the time for assessment has arrived and this summer will provide me with plenty of information to decide what our relationship will be. Will it grow? Will it cease? Will it stagnate until some things are taken care of?  Every year, these decisions must be made so that we use our donors’ funds wisely and we can do the best we can for the children we serve.  I pray for wisdom, mercy, kindness, and humility in order to make good decisions that affect so many.

 

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