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.