Monday, July 13, 2009

Visiting Lakeside Orphanage

-July 13, Monday
Kisumu, Kenya-

This morning, I woke up with a verse spinning around in my head.

"The Spirit of the Soverign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor."

I thought that this was a fantastic verse, but I had no idea where it was from, and so I flipped around in my Bible until I found the verse in Isaiah 61, a chapter in which I had studied a few months earlier, but had forgotten about while studying Psalm 91 so much in preparation for this trip. Even though I had planned to talk about something completely different when I led the devotion this morning, I felt that God wanted me to simply read Isaiah 61 to our group. Now I know what professional speakers mean when they say that they are about to preach on something completely different than what they had originally planned.

Amy was feeling better, so she came down for breakfast today. Thank God for a fairly quick recovery. It could have been much worse.

It is Milton's birthday today, and so we sang Happy Birthday to him this morning. I think that it would be awesome to spend my birthday in Africa. I would totally go for that.

I may be going to leave my guitar at Lakeside Orphanage today. I was going to have it sent back to Eldoret, but Milton said that since they already have one instrument- Connor Deal's keyboard- then I should consider giving it to someplace that doesn't have any instruments at all, such as Lakeside. He has a point, and so I will do what he suggested and find somewhere else to donate my acoustic guitar. The African people are all so musical; I know that anyone would be thrilled to have my guitar. I am excited to sacrifice it to these people who are so humble, so loving, and who are in such great need for even the smallest of things.


I decided to not leave my guitar at Lakeside. I think I will leave it with John and Connie instead, and let them decide what to do with it.

We arrived at the orphanage, and eighty children rushed out to meet us, waving excitedly and chattering to each other- and us- in Swahili or Luo or both. The eager children ushered us into the assembly room and took turns performing songs and reciting poetry and Bible verses for our team. It was adorable.

We had a miniature Vacation Bible School for the nursery children and then for the older children. They all enjoyed making the crafts and singing the songs. We passed out fruit loops to make necklaces, but most of the children ate the cereal before they even finished their necklaces.

We visited the living quarters of the orphans. They were all so proud of their rooms.

We returned to the orphanage, and finished out VBS. Bekah and Olivia and I went outside to teach songs to the nursery children. It was difficult because none of the children could speak any English whatsoever. We finally ended up singing by ourselves while the children cheerfully did the hand motions with us.

One girl named Sandra clung to me like I was her sister or her mother. She played with my fingers. She examined my pale skin. She stroked my hair. She laid her head in my lap whenever I sat down. She held my hand. She refused to let go of me the entire time I visited the orphanage. Every time I caught Sandra's eye, she would beam at me, giddy that I had given her the honor of a single glance. "Mzungu Emily," she would call me, proudly showing me the contents of her school bag. Sandra was the most precious little girl. "She has no sponsor," the teacher told me sadly. I looked down at Sandra, and she giggled and reached up to stroke my face, murmuring something in Swahili. I knew then that I must find Sandra a sponsor. No matter what, my family must sponsor sweet Sandra. She is God's precious little girl, only five years old.

One three year old named Brenda was the victim of terrible teasing. The children would chant in Luo or Swahili or both, "Look at Brenda, look at Brenda!" They would dance up to her and smack her in the face... or they would throw rocks at her and run away laughing while Brenda stood, silent as stone, refusing to say a word. Olivia lifted the small girl into her arms and cradled her against her chest. It was the saddest thing. I have no idea why the children mocked Brenda like they did. I asked a teacher, but he said, "They are children. What can you expect?" I wasn't too pleased with his answer.

We sadly left the orphanage, the children chasing after our matatu. I caught one last glimpse of Sandra grinning at me, waving and shouting out words in broken English. I remember the last thing she told me. "See you tomorrow, mzungu Emily." I wish I could.

We stopped by the equator marker to take pictures. It was weird knowing that not only was I straddling two hemispheres, I was literally standing on the center point of the earth, closest to the sun. This is why Kisumu is so much hotter than Eldoret.

We went to John and Connie's house, and there was a group of several Maasai warriors who were guarding the house. They all had gaping holes in their earlobes, and they wrapped their earlobes around the tops of their ears.

The warriors performed tribal dances for us, hopping around and making wild, unearthly sounds. The dance was fascinating, both to watch and to hear.

I managed to buy one of the elder's clubs for five hundred shillings. Milton said that it may have been used to kill a lion. I now own a genuine Maasai warrior's club, which is awesome. I think I'll give it to my little brother.

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