We have made it home from our trip to Kenya and though we miss all the wonderful relationships we have established among our Kenyan family we are happy to be back with our state side loved ones.
We had some amazing experiences which we will tell you about over the next several days and weeks. This story is stuck in my mind though:
We took some school supplies to the teachers in the Grace Community School which is located in Africa’s largest slum, just on the outskirts of Nairobi. This slum is literally hell on earth, but several years ago we found a school which now teaches grades 1-8 and accommodates 396 of Kabira’s thousands of school age children. This school, a temporary structure ( like all the buildings in Kabira) is down hill from the garbage dump and the latrine. It was raining when we arrived along with all that implies.
The school children were smiling to us from their dark classrooms which were separated from other classrooms by burlap and plastic sacks. We could tell right away the children were focused on something important as they were sitting attentively at their makeshift desks, two and three sharing. They stood when we entered and sang to us in welcome.
The principal suggested we take some of the pencils we brought along and give, along with a single piece of hard candy, a pencil to each student. We felt like such misers as we issued one of each to all 396. The gifts were gratefully received – staggering.
When we convened later with the principal and teachers I found myself apologizing for the meager gifts. The principal looked at me so kindly and said, “you don’t understand, nation wide exams are coming up next week and many of our children were going to be unable to sit for the exam because each student must bring their own pencil. ” How can this be? An education halted for a pencil!
We came away determined to continue our small work with all our hearts.