I have arrived in africa safe and sound. And i hope this venture encourages a blessing in my heart and soul, of which it already has.
It is difficult to explain the poverty, because no american has such an understanding not really, not unless you have gone and been in the camps of the homeless, and even then, my stint in homelessness is nothing compared to this.
It is exhausting to try and describe the extent of the layer upon layer of impoverishment. How a school is settled amongst the slums, trash everywhere, the stale meandering smell of feces from toiletry issues and city plumbing issues, and the mixture of laughter, and education wrapped up in rough hewn surfaces of metal, concrete, stone and grass.
The earth is rich with iron, a purple red, and the children, some with shoes, and some without, wearing torn uniforms, tattered and kinked from attempts of less refined presentation.
I sat and watched these children, eager and hungry, dance, sing worship songs, speaking swahili, and other derivatives of the native language mixed with english. But the mood is excitement, despite what they have, Americans wouldn’t even fathom it. They grasped my hands and flooded my personal space, of which for them, i have none. Girls and boys hugging me, walking together arm around arm, community, but more so family and immediate integration into the environment. Such a welcome i can not explain, except to describe how when presented with a scarf, i tucked down to her 9 year old body, and squirmed my way into it, resulting in a laugh, my goal completed, and then she just stood next to me, arm at my hip, and we swayed to the singing of her peers.
Friendship. Unadulterated, simple, hand holding friendship.
A girl came up to me immediately and took me to see the different classrooms, dirt floors and corrugated steel walls, rough hewn table/desks, in a space the size of a master bedroom.
I sat there and felt the death of my previous relationships in that one moment, finite and time ended, the selfishness of those who put themselves before the needs of others, who treated me crazy for wanting to do something like this all my life. I don’t dare to be a missionary in the style of scripture, i dare to just be, and be love, as much as i can.
As the children flitted around and posed for pictures, the intimidation of the world and the streets just outside, right at the doorstep of the school, i see how tempting and how easy these kids could go back to their norm of desperation and unease, and yet, they stay, some orphaned, living in bunk beds and shared quarters, and i wonder, will i ever be able to enjoy my creature comforts again, without guilt or desire to share it with them.
In honor of my son i chose not to have, partially due to the selfishness of the partner i had, and my own at the time. I realize how happy i would have been, and its the only thing i regret in my life.
Maybe i am supposed to sponsor a child here, maybe i’m meant to teach, all i know i am amazed at the strength and courage of the people here, who traveled from iceland to start this school, people from africa, women castrated and ran here to find another non-traditional life.
This is just the beginning.