My daughter, Sara, and I were fortunate to be members of this year’s Mission Hope team. I have had a deep desire to go to Kenya since I was ten years old, and I was so excited to learn that it was a possibility with Seeds of Change. Knowing I could bring my daughter once she was 15 meant that this was our year. Sara was excited to go and meet her peers in Kenya; I was excited to share the experience of seeing a country I had long dreamed about and serve its beautiful people with my daughter.
So what did a typical day in Tawa look like? On one particular morning Sara and I woke up, tied up the mosquito nets that shrouded our beds, and got ready for the day. The team went for a walk to town, which consisted of a series of three or four shacks housing businesses. The red dirt road we traveled was well worn and about the width of a single lane here at home. We passed mothers on their way to fetch water, farmers taking their goats and cattle out to graze, children walking to school, and professionals riding bodas (motorbikes) to work. The landscape was meticulously tended though no gardener was ever seen, and yet garbage littered the streets. This was a land of extremes.
We returned to breakfast with lots of fresh pineapple, watermelon, bananas, mango and papaya. Once our bellies were full, it was time to work! We slathered on the sunscreen and headed off to Kakuswi Special School for the Deaf. Much of the day was spent helping with the construction of the new dining hall — plastering, scraping, white washing and priming. After morning tea Sara and I went to a standard 7 (grade 7) math class to observe. The students were eager to take a break and learn about us. Finding out that Sara was their age changed everything! They primarily wanted to know about Sara’s family and what school was like back in America, as family and education are very high-priority in Kenya. Their bond was immediate and strong; smiles and camaraderie abounded.
After lunch back at Sarah Kikuvi’s house, we returned to the school. On this day Sara and I led devotions, focusing on the way God cares about each of us and our lives. Then it was off to a classroom to work on a craft with the children and their teachers: simple coffee filters and clothespins transformed by creative hands into colorful butterflies. We wrapped up at Kakuswi with a game of tug-of-war that was a highlight of the day for everyone. As day faded into night it was time to head back to Sarah’s for tea, prepare for the next day, and enjoy a wonderful supper that included ugali and spinach (the Kenyan equivalent of grits and greens).
Once our full day was done, it was time to take a bucket shower under the stars and appreciate the Southern Cross in the night sky. Quiet conversations with team members made for a terrific end to a great day.