it is sunday today. instead of sleeping in like we had hoped, we were woken up several times last night…first by an intense, loud dog fight, later by some loud drunks arguing, and then around 4:30 by our daily rooster wake-up call. the noises here are so different–every day at certain times we hear loud Arabic chanting over a loudspeaker (prayer-time for the muslims). there’s also a constant background soundtrack of rhythmic african music, and people jabbering in swahili. somehow, despite all these new sounds, it is more peaceful here than at home. i think it’s the slower-paced life. i think i like the freedom from the rat-race.
yesterday afternoon, we walked around the slums. our main goal was to visit the children that amy and i are sponsoring and have found sponsors for. it is really hard to even think about putting down in words the things we saw and experienced. the conditions these people live in are horrific. we visited five families, all with tragic stories of parents dying or disappearing, leaving the children to be raised by extended family members, mostly grandmothers.
the slums are so desperate and i felt an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and exhaustion on the way back to the office. there is so much need all around us. it is very difficult to process it and not become over-burdened by all that we are seeing and experiencing. i am thankful that i had the opportunity to see where collins and his family live. i am excited to have this opportunity to be a significant part of his life in helping him receive the education and food that he needs and deserves.
this morning we went to church with one of our new friends, Dorcus. it was incredible! the church was called the revival church of kenya and we experienced the most amazing, inspirational service there. the singing was so heartfelt and passionate, and everyone was dancing and clapping with impressive enthusiasm. i could strongly sense God’s presence in the room and his closeness to these people, despite their suffering and hardships. it is clear that they rely fully on God’s protection, comfort and power to sustain them in their everyday struggling existence. the message today was about leaving a legacy. the congregation was challenged to strive to make a difference by living lives dedicated completely to God. it was a very moving message and definitely challenged me to dedicate my life fully to God. on the walk back to the office, Dorcus told us about the post-election violence in 2007-2008. she said it was so bad here in Nakuru that people were afraid to even leave their houses. there was so much tribal tension and violence–people being slaughtered on the streets, houses burned to the ground, rioting and robbery everywhere. it was a time of unspeakable unrest and turmoil that she says they still have not fully recovered from. hearing this type of information is chilling and sobering. it is also very hard to comprehend, as my life has been so sheltered and safe.