Ronesa goes to Kiisi

Jambo Everyone,

Well, I am back in Nairobi at George's home in Dongoretti Slums, waiting to return to Ronesa tomorrow. It's nice having light/plumbing/water, but I'm anxious to return to "my home." Obviously it is a testament to the value of people that make a place your home. I just spent an amazing 3 days in a town just a few hours outside of Lake Victoria. I went there to vista Brian @ Arrive in Kenya. Check out his website to learn more about what he is doing! He is a good friend of my nephew, Michael Wafer, and was his college roommate at CU Boulder. I heard about the work he was doing with Street Kids there and I just had to see it for myself. To say he is doing something incredible is a gross understatement. This is a 24 year old young man who is fluent in Swahili, lives here in Kiisi, and together with "Pastor and Madam," they have created a home for the street boys of Kiisi. He has done all of this in just one year! "The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give it away." D. Viscott. Brian has most definitely found his gift and he is using it to quite literally save lives.

I asked Brian to take me into Kiisi to see first hand the good, bad, and the ugly. I am used to the poverty here in Kenya, but what I witnessed with the Street Boys has forever left a stamp on my heart. We took Picky-Pickys (fun motorbikes) into Kiisi and walked into the heart of the town.....and there they were! As soon as they saw Brian they came running! They knew they would be fed, but more importantly they knew they would receive something even more valuable...a taste of love. The boys carry plastic bottles in both hands: one hand is sniffing glue, the other jet fuel, all in an attempt to stave off the feeling of hunger and hopelessness. Brian quickly rallied the woman around to feed the boys and even had to fight on their behalf to be sure they got their fair share of rice and beans! We fed all the boys for what would be the equivalent of 10 cents each! It is too graphic to put into words what these boys have to do in order to eat, but suffice it to say, they have lived a thousand hellish lives. NO human being should ever have to dream such a nightmare, let alone live it like these boys do! I had to keep my emotions in check as I've learned to do here, but the tears came later that night as I was privilege to lay my head down on my soft, fluffy pillow that night.

Brian then took me to the hospital to visit one of the street boys named Douglas. He is 7 years old! On top of the what he has endured already in his young life, he recently fell asleep on the side of the road and rolled over into oncoming traffic. He was run over and fractured his pelvis in two different places. While he is, "lucky," to be alive, he has a long road ahead. With no surgery to fix the breaks, it is uncertain how he will heal, let alone ever walk again. We brought a Beanie Baby lion, a fanta, and a loaf of bread to take to Douglas. The scene at the hospital was right out of the movies. It was overwhelming, crowded, and full of people just hoping to be seen. We were given immediate access (one of many privileges of being a Mzungu-white faced person) into the long-term ward. Before we even got to Douglas we saw a hand frantically waving in fear that we would walk right by him. There he was, laying on his side with the bed propped up on bricks, completely naked, completely alone. He smiled as he held tightly to the stuffed animal I gave him, and spoke to it as if it were his long lost friend. There I witnessed a child who has endured more than anyone I've ever know...and he is 7. He told Brian that he never wanted to leave the hospital. I can certainly understand his sentiment given what life is like for him on the streets. The hope is that if he recovers that he can join Brian's Home for the Street Boys.

O.k. on to less heavy things....TIA (this is Africa!) The following are pictures of me teaching in the school that the rescued kids go to. It was a lot of fun and I'm thankful for my years of teaching here in Africa which has taught me to improvise! These kids happily attend school from 6a.m. til 5p.m. Can you imagine our kids in America doing that?! It's all relative I know, but these kids don't underestimate the value of education. I also tried my hand at preparing a few meals. The girls at the home are teaching me how to make "chips." They laughed a lot at my expense I am sure, but they do appreciate our efforts to help, although it never measures up to what they can do. I was able to give them several bracelets that my students back home at Shaffer made for the kids in Kenya. They love them and wear them proudly!!

Besides Brian, there are several other young men here from CU Boulder that are friends of my nephew. It is amazing what they have done already to help better the lives of the street boys. Here they are building steps and a walk-way leading to the Boys Home.

They have also built a really cool fire pit in which we have a blast making S'Mores with the kids. I only had a few days to get to know them, but I was in awe of how they are choosing to live their lives. All anyone has to do is watch these guys, and you'll have a sense of peace that our future is in VERY good hands! They demonstrate love in small and big ways. The kids here love them like they do Brian....absolutely priceless! I'm also very impressed with my nephew for choosing such Awesome Friends!

I will close for now as I don't want to test the strength of the internet here. Thank you so much for reading about what is happening on the other side of the world. I know most of us will never experience Africa. But all of us should care about our Global Community! When we give of our resources we learn and grow our capacity to love. When we dare to allow ourselves to be a little uncomfortable, we learn what we are made of and just perhaps give ourselves a purpose we might not have known before.

"Not all of us an do great things. But we can do small things with great love."-Mother Teresa

Until next time......

Julie