Saturday, April 23, 2005

More news from Nairobi

Life continues to be quite hectic here in Kenya. Last week, Florence (a BOH social worker) and I went to a two day conference on caring for orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs). The conference was sponsored by a local AIDS ministry and was for people in our region that are involved in organizations that address that needs of OVCs. It was very encouraging to meet so many Kenyans (I was the only mzungu) who are actively engaged in responding to the needs of OVCs and hearing about the different programs and ideas that the other organizations are using. It was a really good time of networking and learning more about the challenges that AIDS is creating for children.
I returned to Beacon after to the conference to sad news - Winfred, the woman I had mentioned in my last email who I visited with the support group members, had passed away just four days after our visit. Although I was sorry to hear that she had died, I was so grateful that we had been able to visit her as a sign of our love and support before she passed away.
Early the next week, I went on a home visit with one of the women in our program to Juliana's house, a woman that I have visited many times before. We had not visited her in a while because she had TB and was refusing to take the medicine. However, when we arrived at her house, we found that she had died the Friday before. I was very saddened by this news and disappointed that I hadn't been able to see her again before she passed away.
On a lighter note, we had a really fun week this past week with the sponsorship kids, There is church here called Karen Community Church that is very close to where I stay. Jane knows many people in this church and the youth pastor approached her about forming a partnership with BOH. So she intorduced him to me and we had been working together to put together an outreach opportunity. I visited their church a few times to encourage the youth (high school, college, and young adult) to volunteer to spend time helping out with our holiday program for the sponsored children.
Karen Community Church is a wealthy church - oftentimes I feel like there are two worlds in Nairobi. One is life in the slums which I encounter every day at Beacon. But there are also many, many Kenyans who are wealthy, live in nice houses, drive nice cars, have many servants, go to country clubs, and send their kids to exclusive private schools. A lot of the kids in this church have been raised in environments like this and so have been very sheltered. For many of them, this was the first time they had been to a slum area. So they led devotionals, tutoring, arts, and music for the kids but we also took them on home visits to visit houses in the slums and pray with people who have been affected by AIDS. I think it was a great experience for the youth that came and they are interested in making this a regular thing so that each holiday they will send some of their youth to interact with the kids. We are also hoping some mentorship relationships will form through these interactions.
Personally, this past month has been the most challenging for me since I've arrived in Kenya. Emotionally, work has been the most intense and I've still been dealing with the inevitable challenges of adjusting to life in another country and another culture (and of course missing all of you back home!).
But I think my biggest struggle has been relationships - Although my relationships at work are very good and I'm really enjoying the atmosphere and interactions with my coworkers, I know very few people my age outside of Beacon and live far from the few that I do know (and I also live far from my coworkers). Therefore, the emotional challenges are that much harder since I don't have many opportunities to just relax and hang out with friends. There are a few options I am considering right now to address this issue, so please pray that God will give me wisdom as I make these decisions in the upcoming weeks.

2 Comments:

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October 29, 2005 at 2:32 PM  
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October 29, 2005 at 10:23 PM  

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