Thursday, July 1, 2010

It would be impossible for me to ignore the unsettling contrast between where we are staying and where we are working. I wouldn't be human if a twinge of guilt didn't hit me every time we strolled out of the gritty slums and into what must be one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Kenya. A mere 20-minute bus ride connects these two ends of the earth that we visit on a daily basis, which absolutely blows my mind.

Our modest lunch of beans and rice in a tin bowl on our lap is followed by a gourmet dinner (with linen napkins on our lap). We may have our laundry done anytime we wish, while many of our students' clothes have clearly not been washed in weeks. The price of the bottle of wine we buy after an exhausting day in class could purchase a new notebook for every child at the school.

How does one possibly balance these opposing realities? You may be expecting me to have some insightful answer to that, but I do not. I'm still trying to figure it out myself.

The first obvious thing that came to us, was in fact to purchase new notebooks for each child in the school. Pencils, crayons, some food. We've decided it's only fair that a portion of what we're saving by staying here is designated to various small donations. Less than $50 buys enough food to provide lunch for 100 kids for an entire week. That's right, about 10 cents per meal for all you non-math majors out there. (Not to get all Sally Struthers on you, but if you like what we're doing over here and would like to contribute, check out their website.)

I'm well aware that everything happens for a reason. It's no mistake that while Reece and I are doing the small things we can for a group of African children in need, an incredibly gracious couple is doing something very kind for a few scruffy American kids. I just hope we can pay forward half as much as we have been blessed with.

1 comment:

  1. I just posted a freakishly long-winded comment, and it error-ed. So, rather than try to remember all that I said off the cuff, I'll just sum it up.

    1) Kudos to you for taking time away from your trip to do something for the people with whom you've come into contact.

    2) Wendy and I have had a very similar experience during our trip to Armenia with a charity/humanitarian/ministry organization last month. While likely different in so many ways; it did share the juxtaposition of our opposing realities. We'll have to get together next year and share stories.

    3) My guess is these few weeks are going to be among the most favored and memorable of your entire trip.

    4) I hope that God blesses your time there. Tell all your little friends that some crazy Americans have heard about them and send their best wishes!

    5) Is there a way to send you things directly, and if so, what would you want/need?

    See what I mean? That's the ABBREVIATED comment. Can you imagine all the words that I lost the first time? :-P