Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm a mzungu.

-July 6, Monday
Eldoret, Kenya-

Two nights ago, our server was trying to convince me to take a second portion of the rice he was serving, and he said, "You need to eat more so that you will be plump, like this girl," and he pointed at Bekah. It was both terrible and hysterical at the same time.

Today Barbie and I separated from the group and went to the bush to interview sponsored children and those who needed desperately to be sponsored. These children lived in devastating conditions. Single room mud huts, no clean water, little food... we would ask questions and take pictures for the Christian Relief Fund sponsorship program.

One family had absolutely nothing but the clothes on their backs and a decrepit mud hut with holes in the walls. This family proudly gave Barbie and me a fancy tribal gourd as a gift. They had nothing in the literal sense of the word, and they were giving us gifts.

One family consisted of a woman named Helen with ten children. I met four of the ten- Erick, Shadrach, a little girl whose name I do not remember, and a baby who did not have a name yet. Helen asked Barbie and me to name her baby son for her. We named him David, since King David was also the youngest of many siblings. I feel very special because I was able to take part in naming a child, and David is going to carry his name for the rest of his life... a name that I helped give him.

Since Helen is a widow, she has been forced into prostitution to be able to feed her family. They have no money for fertilizer and cannot grow crops. They have no money to raise animals, so they do not have meat. They literally have nothing to eat.

While Barbie and I traveled around the bush, meeting face after face, there was one very old woman who stood out to me. She was very wrinkled and elegant. I knew that she had seen many days of suffering. I pulled one of the beaded bracelets off of my arm and gave it to her. Instead of putting it on her wrist, the woman threaded the huge bracelet through the gaping hole in her earlobe and posed regally for my camera. After I took the photo, she laughed and laughed. She was the sweetest old woman.

When we were way out into the rural area, a group of several children was following us around, never coming closer than ten or fifteen yards. I turned around to greet them, but they ran away, screaming with terror. Apparently their parents had told them that if they ever saw a white person, a mzungu, then the mzungu would steal them away and eat them. I was incredulous.

Another group of children asked my new friend, James, if I was a person or a kind of animal. An animal! I gave all of the children candy, and that made them like me more.

My driver told me that some children had asked him what I was wearing- what kind of paint or cloth- and he had to explain to them that it was actually my skin.

We went to two different schools to check up on certain children and give one a gift bag from his sponsor. The children were all so shy and sweet and precious.

We stopped for lunch at a tiny, tiny 'hotel' and restaurant called the Sunshine Hotel. We had chapati and Coca-Cola for around fifty cents a person. It cost less than fifteen cents for a coke.

On the way outside, we were confronted by a crowd of street children who were high on glue and dressed in filthy rags. They held out their hands and said, "Thank you? Thank you?" It made me feel a great sadness to see those little boys.

Africa is giving me such feelings of both sorrow and hope. It is almost impossible to describe the emotions that are constantly passing through my heart.

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