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High Expectations

Posted by: | October 14, 2009 | 2 Comments |

Monday, October 12th

I have been in Kenya now for over a week; what an experience it has been! To say life out here is dramatically different is an understatement. I am continually amazed and confused at how this area of the world can be so far behind in rudimentary advancements like infrastructure, water access, indoor plumbing, and electricity. Flush toilets are a rarity. General hygiene is a nightmare. Things like this will take some getting used to.

I can’t express the beauty of this area. The strength, endurance, and hope of these people are astounding.  At times, I wonder why they haven’t lost hope and sometimes think I would be completely defeated if their fate was mine. In the morning and afternoon, the streets are lined with women and children carrying buckets of water. I wonder how far each individual has to travel to fetch their water and have come to the conclusion that any distance is too far, for everyone should have access to safe, clean drinking water.

In the midst of such desperation, there is great beauty. Tired and exhausted, most Kenyans don the biggest, brightest, smiles over the smallest things. Seemingly all the women can sing and dance (maybe I’ll pick up on it)! I’m often sung to and danced for. Though I rarely understand what is being said, the message is clear: I’m received very warmly and the groups are always grateful that I am visiting.

Visiting the various groups is draining. I believe that to whom much is given, much is expected. The expectation of big things is clear in this situation. These groups are looking to me for advice and help. If I advise them carelessly, the consequences are great. Never before has my opinion on business matters had such a great effect. I am not a farmer, nor a rancher; I’ve never sold maize in the market or kept bees. I know very little of the actual operations. However, I understand business concepts clearly and am solid in that arena. I must trust that God will direct me in the right way when guiding theses groups. I always try to get the groups to think on their own and encourage their creativity rather than declare a better, “superior” way without great consideration. – The program is not well organized and I am on my own for how I conduct the meetings and what is or is not accomplished. I have spent the last week visiting new groups everyday. Soon, I will start to provide three day long business seminars for the groups I’ve already met with.

The plant life out here is different than anything else I’ve experienced! It’s so lush and generally breathtaking. This juxtaposition of beauty and despair really gets me.

I stay just outside a small village called Kabula. About twenty minutes away is the bustling city (2 streets… but still quite large!) of Bungoma. We often drive through Bungoma to reach where I’ll be working for the day. Bungoma is also where the grocery store and internet café are. The poverty in Bungoma is heartbreaking – absolutely heartbreaking. My skin may be thickening but my heart is as raw as ever. This morning, as we were driving to the site for the day, I saw a person asleep under a dirty blanket right next to a pile of garbage. The obvious metaphor was striking. This image came after a good 5-10 minutes of one heart wrenching sight after another. I could close my eyes to my surroundings, but it would do no good. Instead, I keep my eyes open in an attempt to receive everything I can from this experience.

Adrian and I were approached by a street kid yesterday when we were waiting for the pikipiki to pick us up from the internet café. After being adequately convinced the kid would use money for eggs, we each gave him some. This afternoon, I saw the same kid. (Street children are orphans that live on the street. They have nothing. They have no family. They aren’t given the opportunity to go to school. All they have are the gang of other street children they run around with. Most of them have no shoes and are clothed in incredibly insufficient clothing.) I ran across the way to buy a bunch of bananas (three for 10 shillings… roughly 15 cents) for the child who I have since learned is named Kevin. He is a sweet kid with a good command of the English language. How is it that these children can be forgotten? How is it that they go hungry by no fault of their own?

I’m not used to blogging and will be quite impressed if anyone actually reads this entire mess of random thoughts.  Please feel free to comment. I’d really like to know who is reading this! 😉

I’ll try to do better about writing. Thanks again for all of your support!

under: Uncategorized

2 Comments

  1. By: Wendy on October 14, 2009 at 10:43 am      

    I read every word! What an experience for you. The people you are meeting probably have no idea how their conditions compare to other places. I’m sure you will be doing a great service for them.

  2. By: Aaron on October 14, 2009 at 3:14 pm      

    I’m reading!

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