From Geoffrey to you; When a drizzle turns to a down pour

Tuesday July 14, 2009

When a drizzle turns to a down pour

There is a young girl who comes to our church who is always beaming and has a smile from cheek to cheek, and who loves to run, play and dance with all of the other children. The pastor and I were a little disturbed when it had been brought to our attention that she was going around and asking all of the children at school for food during lunch because her family didn’t have anything to eat. We had also heard that her mother was very sick. So on Sunday night William and I paid a visit her home and see what was going on. The darkness was overwhelming when we walked up to the little mud hut and, to be completely honest, under the cover of the darkness I started to cry when we walked into this home and I understood what this family was going through. I don’t think that anything could have prepared me for what William and I found within this small hut. When we came inside they tried to light their lantern but the fuel run out really quickly. For the few moments that their lantern stayed lit you could see the mother lying lifeless on a pile of bags wheezing, coughing, and moaning, she is really sick. A few rocks and a pile of ash is where they did their cooking and in any other home right about then was when a warm fire would be blazing and supper would be just about finished for everyone to eat, but that wasn’t the case here; it had been a few days since this family had eaten and they didn’t have any much hope for getting anything to eat. In the time of the evening when families come together to unravel the events of their day and smiles should be gleaming, you could only see these people sitting in a deafening silence with pervasive destitution suffocating them.

This drought has caused fathers to lose their jobs, has robbed farmers of their harvest, stolen the school fees of the children causing rent to go unpaid, work no where to be found and “struggling” the situation of many households. Like so many others, the father was let go from his job a few months ago, which meant that the steady income and form of support for this family was lost. After coming to the realization that he wouldn’t find any work here in Masii, the father ventured off to find a job and was to send support for the family. It has been a few months since he left and apparently he met another woman, a better living situation and a way to free himself from the black hole of despair overwhelming his family so he and this new woman got married. The daughter went to find out what happened to the father and when she found him he chased her away and told her to never come back because he was done with this family. This situation is bad, this family has no land and no home, so for the past few months that have been staying with an old neighbor of theirs. The mother of the family is believed to suffer from epilepsy and falls into seizures randomly and is very sick which makes the oldest daughter the main provider for the family. The oldest daughter left school around the second grade and has two children of her own to care for, but without any formal training or the completion of her education she can only do small side jobs around town which aren’t enough to meet the needs of her mother, sister and children. To make matters worse the landlords have given them three days to move out; but without money, without a job and with the mother being so sick it seems as though they are between a hard place and a rock.

When most Americans think of Kenya or Africa the things that come to mind are starving orphans, children warriors, AIDS and malaria. I think that our view of Africa is a little askew, but this view is the one that we see the most. The commercials, documentaries, and posters all paint a picture that everyone in this place is dressed in the same rags everyday, goes days without food, that everyone is an orphan, and that everyone is starving to death… this isn’t true. There are many people who are starving, many people are dressed in rags, many children aren’t able to go to school, many children don’t have shoes… but many people get to eat as much as we do, many people have good paying jobs and are dressed very nicely and have great suits, if you go to Nairobi I am sure you are going to see people driving cars nicer than yours, many children are able to go to school. There is a lot of suffering but that isn’t the situation for everyone here but that is what we are led to believe. Not everyone is in the situation that this mother and her children are in, but I look at this families situation and I understand why people pick the most dramatic and heart wrenching stories to share on the commercials and that is because they desperately want people to help. Even though not everyone here is starving, a lot of people aren’t able to get as much food as they should e and are suffering a great deal, and when I look at how much this family is suffering and how little it would cost us to help I see why people go to the extreme and try to paint a picture that everyone is starving… because they want to get help.

When I tell you this story I’m not over exaggerating or trying to paint a dramatic picture I am just telling it to you as I see it. This family has gone a few days without eating… I don’t know if we can understand exactly what that means because that isn’t very typical in the U.S. To completely go without food, imagine how tired your body gets, how much your stomach hurts, imagine how angry or depressed you might get… to not go without food means that this case is extremely bad. With this father running out on the family I can’t even imagine what type of wound that has left for the children and wife, I would imagine that they feel inadequate or unlovable, the wife may be feeling ugly or like a failure. To have to stay with someone else for a few months must be pretty difficult as well, to think that you can’t even provide your family or yourself with the most basic of necessities. To be so poor as to not even have a bed…. I’m sure their pains are more than just physical.

I look at this as a great opportunity to be used to answer someone’s prayers. Words are cheap and a lot of times they are unnecessary. If I am in a bad situation I don’t want to hear about how God loves me I want someone to show me that he loves me and that he cares about me… when someone is going through a bad situation it is one of the greatest opportunities to put your faith into action… which is where it should be in action not stagnate.

I bought just over a hundred pounds of corn and beans for this family, which should be enough food for a few months. The pastor is giving them a bed frame and a mattress to get them off of the ground. We are going to try to find a place for them to live in Masii. I am asking if any of you would be interested in helping out, we can get a place for about $6 a month or so and can get some utensils and cooking things pretty inexpensively as well and it would be great to get them covered for a few months of rent and well supplied. William and I have both been fasting for this family and are putting the money that we would have been spending on ourselves on them instead. We are going to make sure that this family will be provided for and that they are going to receive the help they need.

With that being said I have something for you guys to give a try. For one day fast, just one day. With the money that you would have spent for yourself go to the market or look in your cupboard and put together a bag of food or maybe some hygiene products. On your way to work when you are exiting the freeway, roll down your window and give the bag to the homeless guy standing there and ask his name, not too difficult to do right? For the day each time that you get hungry or your stomach hurts toss up a prayer for that person. You will probably never see that person again but that is okay. How incredible would it be if for one day everyone did that? If for one day we completely put someone else before ourselves… let me know if you are willing to give it a try, I really hope you do.



Oh I attached two pictures of the grandchildren.

There is a young man and a young woman that have been sponsored by Tumaini and have completed high school and are going to be coming to California for schooling in August. They have never been here before and will only know different people that have come here for mission trips or who are working with Tumaini. I am all too familiar with culture shock after this trip and know that it may be a little scary or intimidating for them to be so far from home and in a completely different culture. I wish I was home to welcome them, take them out to dinner and to the movies… but I’m not coming home until September. Let me know if any of you guys would be willing to go meet them or take them to the beach. They are incredibly nice and after being shown such extreme hospitality I really want to make sure that they feel as welcomed and cared for as I have

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 9:16 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>