“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Today we visited Kibera, the world’s second largest slum, in a heartbreaking and difficult day to process. For those of us who have never experienced such poverty, we were speechless, and for those who had been in Kibera before, it was a reminder of the mixture of both extreme despair and hope that represents the alleys of Kibera. We dodged trains and jumped over floods of water from the week’s rain accompanied by two armed guards for our safety. We could not go to some of the places we went last year since violence has increased a lot in the past year. We visited a small business and took turns walking through to the back where a family of 6 lived in a room the size of the average American bathroom. But despite the extreme poverty and trash that littered the sides of the street, and the horrors that we knew women and children face each and every night there, the people were so full of hope. As Bekah held a small child, the mother smiled and said, “Can you see how God loves us?” in response to our comment on all of the beautiful children around us. They have nothing and in that moment, God becomes their everything. Kibera is not an easy place to see, but it is a part of Kenya that must be seen, and it is filled with some of the most prayerful people we have ever met. Kibera is one of the most materially poor places on earth. But then again, there is a saying that goes some people are so poor; all they have is money. I think we all took something powerful away from today.
“I think it would be easier for me to go to heaven than to go to Texas!” -William
Today we were reunited with one of the most incredible men of God we have ever met. William is a good friend of ours who we have been emailing over the past year since we met him last May. It was so wonderful for especially Christian to see him. She was overjoyed to have him spend the day with us. He is one of the most caring, patient, passionate people and loves his mother so much. He showered us with gifts even though he barely has money for himself. He walked us through Kibera slums and spent the day at City Harvest with us, and then joined us for dinner as he told us stories of Africa.
At City Harvest we visited their HIV clinic and distributed shoes to every woman there thanks to our donations from Buckner! The women were so grateful for their new pair of shoes and listened to every word we said as we presented our leadership topics. The women at City Harvest are a part of the Kianga project, a non-profit fair trade company started by Baylor students. They make jewelry and various other gifts and souvenirs. After we presented, Dr. Van Gray and Dr. Blaine McCormick, two business professors at Baylor, spoke about business and gave the women a lot of practical business tips.
After a very long day, we hit a roadblock with our project to provide shoes to every child at St. Kizito’s. The discount shoe factory that we went to after receiving the wrong order from Buckner did not have the right number of shoes needed, and they would not be ready in time. After months of trying to coordinate this shoe project, we realized that we will not be able to personally place the shoes and socks onto the children of St. Kizito’s. However, we are still so amazed at God’s gracious gift of providing shoes to adults and the children we had intended on giving shoes to. The children will receive their shoes after we leave, and we had the opportunity to give the women of City Harvest Church new pairs of shoes as well.
We have run into so many minor problems and conflicts since we have been here, but we are still so faithful and trusting in God that His plan is immeasurably better than ours. It’s a difficult lesson to learn, but we trust that He knows what He is doing and that it will be done. We are simply thankful that every child at St. Kizito’s will eventually have shoes and that God has used us to provide so much in ways we did not expect.
~Written by Hayley