Some things you just don't forget
I remember fighting Nairobi traffic for over an hour, winding through streets that grew sketchier and dustier. We then turned down a dirty, potholed, why-in-the-world-is-there-a-speed-bump-here lane lined with ramshackle shops, street vendors, and children everywhere. The van stopped and we exited through a dark alley and entered the Mathare Teaching and Feeding Program in the heart of the Mathare slum in Kenya. On that day some 10 years ago we had to step over the open sewer running through the middle of the school to get to the small, ‘iron sheet’ classrooms that made up the school. It was the most unlikely of places for one to find hope and excitement, but that’s exactly what we found. Children were laughing and singing and showing us what they had learned. Pastor Kennedy and his wife Faustine have dedicated their lives to giving life to this little corner of hell.
Fast forward 10 years now. The traffic in Nairobi is worse, the lane is just as gritty, there seem to be more children running around than ever and the same dark alleyway has to be navigated. However, now when you emerge from that alley you arrive at the “Miracle in Mathare”. As if you were suddenly transported to Oz, you stare at a gleaming new three-story concrete building with breezy windows, electric lights and the cleanest indoor toilets in Mathare! All around the area there are still places where if you take a wrong step you could sink up to your knee in sewer water, but at the school there are tile floors and chalkboards! Children come to school early to take advantage of the electric lights. They are fed everyday and they are learning. Four children have graduated out of the school, done well in high school and gone on to university. Think about that! Four children who never had a chance before, able to go to university after growing up in the slums!
Our plan was for most of our team to work with the children while the rest worked with the teachers. The children had other ideas! They wanted to celebrate, so celebrate we did! We held the official ‘ribbon cutting’ ceremony and then they danced, sang, performed poems and skits for us. We left the craft materials and teacher training supplies for them to use another day and just enjoyed the fruits of God’s grace. Sometimes you just have to throw your plans out the window!
Some days you just don’t forget. Friday was one of those days!
Now it’s on to Kitale. Keep praying!