I had the huge honor while at KE214, of meeting two girls who are sponsored by friends of mine through Our Compassion, a website similar to Facebook set up for anyone who sponsors a child through Compassion International.
I had no time to prearrange a meeting with these girls as I only found out I was headed for their particular project a few weeks in advance. All I had was the girl's name and ID number along with their sponsor's name and number written in the notebook that I carried with me everywhere. Risper Murugi and Doreen Wawira, ages 15 and 5. I really did not think the staff at KE214 would go out of their way to track these girls down. And I was wrong.
Shortly after our team arrived at the project, I chased down an important looking staff member of KE214 and showed her my notebook. She looked at the names and said she would return with the children.
Really? Return with the children?
She went for them herself. Risper was "down the road" attending the local high school, and during my stay in Kenya I learned how to translate "down the road" and "not too far". Believe me.....it's far. Doreen was closer but was in the opposite direction attending her school.
So now I was officially nervous knowing that the kids were being taken out of school and rushed to my side. I wasn't prepared for this and you know my obsession with being prepared!! I had no gifts for them, no questions scribbled in my trusty notebook to ask them and no idea how a 15 year old and a 5 year old would respond to this incredibly white, white woman.
She was a beautiful girl with a stunning smile and she was about as nervous as I was. We attempted to communicate, and while we both spoke English, her accent and my accent made most of our words a mystery to each other. We did a lot of smiling and nodding until one of the male staff came along with little Doreen in tow. He told me that Risper was one of their brightest students and that her grades and performance were excellent. She ducked her head at his praise and concentrated heavily on her tea.
I learned that her mother had died and while in Kenya, whenever I asked how a particular death occured, the answer was always, "They took sick and died." Maybe sometimes there is no way to determine how someone dies in these areas of poverty. In America, we do autopsy's or have a diagnosis of some sort to detail exactly why our loved one died. In Africa, they simply take sick and die.
I was saddened to imagine this young girl without her mother, but they explained that she was very close to her 17 year old sister and they comforted and supported each other.
Doreen was led to a chair beside me and was handed a plate of boiled potatoes, bread, sweet potatoes and a cup of steaming hot tea. It seemed like a lot of food for one little girl. A project worker warned her in Kiswahili to be careful and wait for it to cool.
She was so precious, sitting there beside me with her legs swinging back and forth as she ate away at her plate of food. She ate a lot, but not too quickly, and I suppose this was her one substantial meal for the day. They rarely eat breakfast, and supper is unheard of as well. I wanted to stuff her dress pockets with my remaining potatoes, but she did look healthy and she thoroughly enjoyed the granola bar I offered her from my bag.
Aaaaand, notice anything different about Doreen in this picture?
My friend Gina, another amazing sponsor on Our Compassion, hand sews dresses by the hundreds to send with people traveling to areas of poverty. These dresses are very simple in design which makes them easier to fit on a multitude of sizes and shapes. But they are also adorned with the sweetest accents of ribbon, buttons, dainty pockets and frilly hems.
Thank you Gina, for sewing your heart out and for using your time so unselfishly in order to bless and enrich those in need!
This is my final report on KE214. As you can see, the total monies raised for the little library has steadily been growing! Risper and Doreen will be some of the children to use the books you have purchased. Can't you just picture it? I am so grateful to all of you for pitching in and sharing with them from your own pockets. Martin has promised to take pictures for me whenever the library has all the books in place. You know I will share them with you when they come in!