OK. So I'm assuming you have seen the previous posts about my trip to Africa. If not, go HERE and HERE to get all caught up to what is going on.
Now I apologize for making you wait so long to see what happened next, but things have been a wee bit nuts around here. No matter how many hours I want to spend blogging, I still have four kids. Who are crazy. But that's another post for another day.
So when I last left you, we had toured the Kibera slum and the Saviour King's Academy. It was incredible. Knowing that we wanted to do all we could to help these kids while we were there, we did something super simple that rocked their world.
How do you teach children that there is life outside of the slum if they have never been outside of the slum?
You take them on their first (for many of them) ever field trip!
This was the view as we drove up to the spot we were going to meet the kids.
They were so stinking excited they couldn't hardly stand it!
We waited in a little grassy area next to the gas station for our bus to arrive. And we had a blast. The kids are so entranced with having their picture taken, then they all want to see themselves in the back of the camera.
I knew, going into this trip, that I take a lot of things for granted. I knew this trip would open my eyes to the incredible blessings we as Americans have. I assumed I would learn more about the incredible blessing that is clean water, and healthy food, and electricity.
But there were some things that I didn't even think about that I take for granted every day. Like this next picture.
ever seen grass.
It's humbling, isn't it?
We played with them till the bus came. We were on Africa time, which runs a little later than American time. It was over an hour that we hung out with these kids in the small area next to the gas station, but these kids had the time of their lives. I don't think they even cared that we had something bigger and better planned, all they cared about was that someone from far away cared about them enough to come for a visit and play...
(A rare photo of me. I don't think I show up much on this blog, do I? I'll have to work on that.)
loved seeing themselves in the camera.
Then, the bus arrived. I counted the seats on the bus, there were 36. However, the rules in Africa are a little different than in America. There are no booster seats or seat belt laws. You just do what you have to do to get where you are going. So on this 36 seat bus, we put all 12 of the adults on our team inside, and then added 130 children, squished up on our laps, on their laps, in the aisles, anywhere they could fit, we packed bodies. This is the best picture I could get, as I was squished up against the window with four kids on my lap.
They started singing. They sang praises to Jesus, at the tops of their lungs with all they joy they could muster. it was absolutely incredible, I had a hard time keeping it together. People on the streets stopped and stared as we drove by. We were our own parade in Kenya.
We finally got to where we were going and got set up. The bus went back for the other load of kids, and we got underway.
We had taken the kids to a park. It's such a small thing by our standards, but to these kids, it meant to world. They live in a slum of one million people in ten square miles. There is no space to run. Their streets are filled with rotting garbage and a river of human waste. Before this day, many of these kids had never seen wide open spaces or grass.
How do you teach kids that there is a world out there to be lived in if they have never seen it? How do you break the cycle of poverty and slum life if these kids have never seen firsthand that there is a world outside of the slum?
We played Awana games all. day. long.
The kids were such good sports. They cheered and cheered when they won, and didn't get upset if they didn't.
He could dance, let me tell you. The kids adored him, and he loved them as well.
Toys For God's Kids. A huge thank you for donating 1,000 cars, we spread them all over Kenya and Tanzania!
We were sitting in the late afternoon with the little kids, singing and teaching them songs when suddenly, they all took off screaming. Chants of "Monkey! Monkey! Monkey!" echoed through the park, and they all gave chase.
We didn't see the sign that said, "please don't feed the monkeys" till we were leaving. In this case, ignorance is bliss.
Who knew that something so simple as taking kids to a park would have such an impact? But really, how do you tell kids that slum life isn't all there is unless you show them that there is something else out there?
I really wish we could have done more. It is hard to be there for such a short time and try to make a difference in a child's life, much less make a difference in 270 children's lives. We did what we could, and we did it led by God, and that's enough for now.
I want to go back. I want to see these amazing children again, and hug their necks and tell them I love them. I plan to return someday, I don't know when but I want to make it happen.
Anyone want to go to Kenya? :D
(Coming up next: the family that had the biggest impact on the majority of our team. The will and determination of some of these people just to live is amazing.)