Saturday, August 16, 2014

Progress takes time

Dignified young gentleman (left), stands overseeing the family corn.  Having completed the first grade this year, he's well begun.  We first met when he was much smaller (right).

He was three years old back then; a nice fellow from a good-hearted family.  He'd lost his dad in a traffic accident that crippled his mom.  Living in a small family group of sisters and cousins and brother on the edge of the city, they'd been evicted a couple of times as the wealthy expanded their influence into the area.  An extraordinarily difficult circumstance for all; Kenya has lost much of its tourist business (and available work) following terrorist events in Nairobi and Mombasa.  With 80% unemployment, there's no assurance of survival; life is precarious.  This young man and his family are among those who made it this far.

After years of drought, we've had a good rainy season and hope for more.  Local crops broaden the access folks have to feed their children.  The country's mortality rate, particularly for children continues to be 10+ times higher than the developed world.  In the poorer areas like here where our friends live, it's even higher, of course.

We were fortunate to make contact that first afternoon.  Now some years down the road, we're comfortably connected as friends, and we get to help out along the way.  At last count, three kids in primary and secondary school and one in college.  Health is an issue; malaria persists, grandma is aging, and a balanced diet is rare ... rebuilding their homes, doing a little kiosk business ...

The cornfield photo (top, left) arrived with others yesterday along with a note from his big brother.  We're sort of like family now.