Today was beautiful. I worked with the children on the books we started with them yesterday, in which they are writing details of their lives that they wish to share, such as the names of their family members and their favorite colors. My favorite part was helping them claim their stories in front of the class, reading their partially completed books aloud. I love to witness them speaking up about who they are and what matters to them.
I wore a shirt today that reads, “Love one another.” In one class today, a student wrote this mantra in his book. It is a wonderful phrase to manifest the way of the culture here, where loving one another appears to come more naturally than any other place I’ve been.
I realize I didn’t check in with you yesterday as promised. I was deliriously tired at the end of our first work day---- I must have been still feeling fatigue from our 28 hours of travel 2 days prior.
Today was our 2nd day teaching at Ray of Hope in Kawangware, 8am – 4pm….a full schedule of activities! The children are beautiful, energetic and wonderfully receptive. And the staff is amazingly welcoming. Yesterday we were greeted with gifts, song and warm embraces. The outpouring of love was so overwhelming I was moved to tears.
Today we all started with our planned curriculum. I have to admit, I was so nervous! I kept thinking --- any time now these kids are going to figure out that I have NO idea what I’m doing! But they all seemed to really enjoy my projects. I was DELIGHTED (and relieved).
I have been thinking a lot about something that happened yesterday. Craig and I had to go into Nairobi city center to pick up some computer supplies. Public transportation in Nairobi is an experience, to say the least: matatus—vans in various stages of disrepair—are packed to overflowing with passengers, many of whom have barely climbed on board before the driver has zoomed back on the road, with music blaring; buses, both private and government-owned, belch dark plumes of exhaust, with onboard signs proclaiming “No preaching/No hawking”.
I was also aware of the smells around me: diesel exhaust, sweat, garbage. The bus ride was truly a multi-sensory experience as I took in the sights and smells of this city. Suddenly, my ears picked up a small voice, singing, in the background. I strained to hear better, and at first I couldn’t identify the words or the tune, but I knew it was something familiar. The small voice grew less timid, and suddenly I heard could make out the words:
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices!
Oh night divine! O night, when Christ was born!
My little friend with the soft angelic voice reminded me once more that God shows up where and when we least expect. Whether in a Bethlehem barn or a city weary of poverty and disease, God breaks in with grace, beauty and love. Thanks be to God.
|The children with their face masks|