The pool stretches before me, leading almost to the Indian Ocean, but for a small strip of white sand. A waiter asks me for my opinion on Obama while telling me that Kenya’s elections are happening on March 4th. This is the 4th such conversation I’ve had here in 2 days. People are worried about the potential for renewed violence here, just like in 2007. They also worry about international policy from our own government.
We pray for peace.
I pray for the bishop who is at the Tana River Delta today, talking about peace to those who are killing each other. Peace, peace, there is no peace.
The waiter leaves.
I stare across the pool at the ocean and feel confused. How can such opulence exist when poverty is right outside the door? Today we visited a family of eight – the children malnourished with distended bellies. They tear into the food we bring, not caring what it is. Their listless, dull eyes hurt me. I am horrified to find that the child I think is no more than two years old is actually four, but suffers from stunted growth thanks to lack of food.
We don’t eat lunch today due to a busy schedule and my head hurts gently. My stomach growls. Am reminded of the hungry children of this morning. Dinner for me will come after 7:30pm but it will come. What about those children?
My flight left the airport an hour before I arrived to check in for my flight, which was supposed to leave 2.5 hours AFTER I got there. Confused? I am. The airline blames me for not knowing that my flight was going to leave three hours before the scheduled time. I remind them that I received neither a call nor email. They grudgingly put me on tomorrow’s flight, not carrying that I must hug my children NOW to help me cope with the image of the children I can’t help right now.
The airline sends me to this fantastic, opulent, run down place to rest. I am grateful. I am amazed by the juxtaposition of wealth to need. Of ample water – hot and cold – when we can’t afford the borehole which will give life to a farm, which in turn, will give life to many. I need $17k to make that borehole possible. It must happen. My head spins. I look at water. I drink water. I need $17k to give water.
Had I not seen hunger, poverty, destitution, pain, and hopelessness today, I wouldn’t feel so out of place this minute, gazing over the ocean with the tide coming in. I wouldn’t feel as restless as I do, I don’t think, if I hadn’t felt helpless earlier today.
Money doesn’t purchase happiness, I know. But money would ease so many of the hurts experienced by the little ones here. I see the difference ATMIT makes in the lives of hungry children. I hold a baby today, plump and healthy due to the medicine and nutritional support we send and the good care they receive at the clinics. I know that what we do works. I know it! I witness it today after leaving the derelict “house” the eight call home. I hand out tomatoes and spinach from our garden women who celebrate having HIV-children and I smile – a dream is becoming a reality. This program is growing veggies for their clients to eat and sell. Miraculous, really.
Now, for phase two. Dig a borehole. After seeing the children today, both the sick and the healthy, I know we must complete this next step before the next planting season. March becomes a beacon – March is when we need to have a borehole producing water.