Two Young Girls and a Ball

Trip Start Feb 05, 2010
Trip End Feb 20, 2010

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Flag of Kenya  , Nairobi Area,
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The team took a 30-minute drive today to an area of Nairobi called Kawangware to visit a ministry called the Upako Centre.  Upako is the Swahili word for anointing and Pastor Francis Odhiambo founded the work seven years ago.  As usual he is doing a lot with a little and our visit served to encourage him and educate the team on the realities of Kenyan and African ministry.

I sat for five hours today and watched our team ministry magnificently, as you can see from the pictures I have included.  I was impressed by the line of small children who were waiting to receive their lunch. I was impressed by the children's ability to adapt and learn.  I was impressed by how hot it was (as my red face can attest tonight).  But the thing that impressed me most was a young girl of around 11 or 12 playing with a ball,

Our recreation team got a workout today as they played in the courtyard in the hot sun for hours.  We dug into our bags and pulled out some beach balls, two volleyballs and some other inflatable balls.  The children played with them for hours and would still be playing with them if they had their way.  When I was sitting with Pastor Francis, he informed me that it had been a long time since the children had played like they did today.  When I asked why, he responded "Because we have had no balls to play with!"  He has 150 children in his school, 37 of which are orphans, 7 of the orphans having AIDS, and they haven't had a ball to play with for years!  Did I mention that the 37 orphans used to sleep in the classrooms, but now they all sleep at the pastor's home! What commitment!

So I sat there getting sunburned and watched a young girl and her friend play with a large orange beach ball.  All they did was take turns dribbling and bouncing the ball. They weren't particularly coordinated and the ball often went where they did not intend it to go.  But they played with that ball for 30 minutes and I said to myself, "Every little girl should have a chance to play with a ball at some point in her life."  The fact that these girls have not had that chance made me sad.  It also made me glad that we were able to present the Upako Centre with six bags of goodies.  The pastor's wife asked if she could keep two of the duffel bags that the stuff came in and we of course agreed.  Even a duffel bag can bring joy to those who have none.

The team worked hard today.  They taught, played, took pictures (the kids absolutely love digital cameras so they can see their picture - they have no mirrors so they really don't know what they look like), held, tickled and prayed for the children. They worked alongside the teachers, who all teach as volunteers since Upako has no money to pay them. Today was a much harder day than yesterday in terms of work, heat and need.  All that can be physically and emotionally draining.

I gave the team the option of taking the day off tomorrow and they all said, "No way!"  Tomorrow they will go out to visit a community development organization called WAPIS in a village by the name of Banana. I know they will meet new challenges there, as WAPIS does not deal with orphans but rather AIDS widows and those dealing with substance abuse.

Tonight we went to another restaurant favorite of mine, called Pampa Churascas, a Brazilian steakhouse.  The waiters bring the skewers of meat to you and it is all you can eat as they carve right onto your plate.  It was another fun evening after a grueling day.  Tomorrow you will hear from some of the team as we prepare on Thursday to head to one of the coolest experiences in earth, an east African safari.
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George Lautner on

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, Who announce peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, And who says to Zion, "Your God Reigns!" (Isaiah 52:7)

Keep up the great work of our Lord, these pictures never fail to conjure fond memories of the years spent at CUBM and with the people in Kenya. God bless each of you recieve the blessing God has for you in Kenya.

Your friend in Christ,
George L.

megan eicher on

My parents are Marcia and O'dell. We are so blessed to be able to sharea small part of some of the experiences you all are having. My 3 year old boys sit wide eyed at pictures and ask to hear the children sing again and again. Thanks for sharing. Continuing to pray. Megan

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