Kenya, on the outside, is just another big city with tall buildings,shopping malls and some nice places to live. Traffic jams are common and made more complicated by many large and small vehicles on the road, people walking and selling things and cars trying to squeeze into any empty spot just to keep moving. Six inches between cars, in Africa is like a country mile elsewhere
Our trip took us to the inside of Kenya, deep into the slum areas where millions of people survive from day to day, living on little but hope. We walked their streets and visited their one room homes with a single mattress taking up half the living space and offers the only bed for the 6 or more residents. We listened to their stories and heard how they had come from less than nothing, many times abandon, and were now so thankful to have this meager home and a little income. Pastor Brenda had shown them love and given them hope.
Our friend and host, Brenda, visits these places every day and with her dedicated staff, they are able to make a difference in the lives of many who never have a chance to see “outside” Nairobi.
We truly came to love these ones who work very hard to help others, all day, everyday. They are nurses, social workers, administrators, drivers and teachers. Brenda and her team offer jobs and training for many women who are trying to provide food and education for their children.
These are the women who have been given jobs sewing beautiful hand made articles for Jacaranda Creations. We sat in on one of their discipleship classes and afterward we heard their stories and they sang for us.
Take a look at a few of the Jacaranda items that we brought home. Colorful and beautiful they would make a lovely, cultural addition to any home.
At the school, Dick and I had some play time with the younger children while Mark and Ranee met with some of the teachers. They were all patiently waiting while I am digging the playdough out of the can.
Later I taught an English as a second language class. We had fun putting together a verse on separate pieces of paper and singing “He’s got the whole world in his hands” as a song to include our vocabulary of family words.
In most of the schools the kids are packed in tight and have to sit still for a lot of the day. They are always willing to stand and sing a welcome song when visitors arrive. The kids are dressed warmly because it is winter time just below the equator. The cooler mornings and evenings and warm afternoons felt wonderful to us, it was chilly for them, being more used to the hot weather.
Jacaranda has presence in nine different slum areas, help with schools in many of them and have their own schools in a few. Brenda and her crew are stretched to the limit but continue to reach out and help as many as they can. Their compassion for the needs of the people run deep and they are tireless in their efforts.
Now, look closely. There will be a second set of WanRichGal Travel Cards offered to the first one who comments and names the song we are singing with these children.
Brenda is seldom seen without a child in her arms, unless she has her arms around a mother for whom she is offering love and hope to. She shares the love of Christ with all she meets, and they all love her. She was a marvel to observe as she moved in about the people she loves. I can only hope we learned well from her actions and pray we did not leave Africa the same people we were when we came.