Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An African Grandmother

My friend Lucy.  When we met in the airport in Zurich last week, I thought perhaps she was a little disoriented, confused maybe.  

Thinking I'd be a gentleman and lend a hand, I offered to escort her to her gate.  She sweetly acknowledged the offer (but she didn't really need the help).  

She's a tough African grandmother with a lifetime of being strong, facing every circumstance, and trusting her heavenly Father through it all.  We had a couple of hours, breakfast together, and frank conversation about life and what's important.  Great lady, dear sister, and a walking testimony to the power of a loving God.

I spoke with her sister this morning who told me the rest of the story.  Lucy gave her life to feed and educate her children.  She never had a new dress, she cooked from scratch, she never had a day off as best I can tell.  

She journals.  You can imagine the magnificence of that story.  She prays, and quits whining.  She says of her heavenly Father, "He heard me; He'll handle it."

What a powerful life!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kenya's rainy season

It rains April and May in the Kenyan coastal areas.  It rains off and on, sometimes a real downpour.  By the time it begins, it's desperately needed.  Villagers plant corn they'll need for corn meal; it's what many of them live on throughout the year.
Brief downpour viewed from the hotel entrance.

I arrived at the coastal hotel to discover I was the only 'tourist' in the area.  And every local vendor and beggar knew I was there.  It's a particularly difficult time for the area which depends on tourism for most work and income.  Tourists don't come to the beach in the rainy season.  My street friends tell me that getting enough food is pretty much everyone's concern this time of year.

An elementary school student collapsed in the schoolyard, a friend tells me.  Turns out, he hadn't eaten in awhile.  My friend's on the board that is working to develop education in the community and happened to be there when it happened.  They brought some tea and a small meal cake for the child and checked with the parents to discover that they just didn't have any food.  That's the reality that the poor endure.  Ever been there?  Yeah, me either.

Simple things like food.  And water ...?

Kids in the photo here carry home plastic jugs of muddy water for their families.  It's what's available.  While I sat on the household's only stool, visiting with friends, a family member scrubbed the cooking pot using a small amount of dirt in lieu of a scouring pad.  There, bent over in the front yard, scrubbing the family's cooking things.  With dirt, rinsing with muddy water.  It's what they have.

Monday, May 2, 2011

201105 Africa again, soon

With a couple of weeks at home to recover from the trip, I find I'm willing to go again should the opportunity present itself.  It did.

I'm off to Kenya mid-May and to Sao Tome & Principe late June.  There will be a few more Kenya and Djibouti trips this year, but the Sao Tome trip is the one I'm looking forward to the most.  It's not a business trip!

I've got more than a thousand photos to deliver there plus a suitcase full of stuff for various folks.

5/11 Update: countdown to Kenya... fly out Thursday (tomorrow), arrive Saturday morning.  Not fond of the flying part.  Usual turmoil prior to departure with a mountain of prep material accumulating that I won't get to beforehand.  Reading on the plane.  Passport, pills, shots, papers, international phone, cameras, chargers, plugs, contact lists, stuff for a friend's family ... I need a transporter ... beam me to Kenya, Scotty!