I did not know what to title the post so raffiki means friend in swahili. well my time here has been totally different than i expected. I can honestly say at times I am ready to go home. Not because I am super homesick or I am miserable here, but because I have seen so much need and potential and crazy stuff that I am trying to process what I am supposed to do as a follower of Christ. Not as an American, not as a "I hate America" person, not as a young idealists, but through the mind of Christ.
It is so much. I wish I could express it all in words. Life here is so different. I continually find myself trying to shead my "Americanism" and then realizing that part of that is so taken for granted. Imagine life where no one asks you about your hopes and dreams or pushes you to be your best. There is a cultural tribalism here that I would really love to study in depth. Somehow so much of this cultural seems to go back to this group mentality of their tribe. I do not know what to say what is good/bad or right/wrong yet, it is just very interesting. It seems like so much is kept from them. Has no one told them that you wash your hands and drink water seperate from the water for the sewage? Has no one told them that learning is more than just memorization? Has no one told them that they have the potential to value life and have a purpose?
I just got to the point yesterday where I was overwhelmed by it all. This boy had a big bruise and open scab on the side of his mouth and was just moping around and crying. The other kids tried to comfort him, but I just finally picked him up. He just wanted someone to hold him. Then I saw other kids falling or being pushed and crying about nothing. I was just overwhelmed because all these kids want is love and attention. Not from the other kids and not in a conceited way, but just love from someone. There is a this group mentality here that so contricts everything I grew up around. Individuality is so important in America. I find myself in tension with these two cultures because I see value in both. Then I step back and ask myself how Christ would view all of this.
Well that is where I am left at the moment. Although the trip definately has been rough at times, rougher than I expected, it has also been so rewarding and fun. I have been working in the kitchen some lately at the center and it is fun to be there with the two cooks. I have also enjoyed being with the kids and spending time with the sewing girls. Tomorrow we leave for the safari which is much needed for all of us. After we get back, we will still spend time at the center/orphanage, but the Lord has also opened up some new opportunities. We will go to the school at the Korogocho slum one day and then an AIDS home for infants another day. God has tugged all our hearts to a certain place at the korogocho school so we are excited about that. I am going to spend some time with the girls in the hair/beauty school and let them do my hair. We continue to meet so many other missionary types here who are such an encouragement to us. We watched a movie in a lady's room last night who is here on a break from sudan. we met a photojournalist tonight who has traveled around sudan and east africa and has amazing photography. so despite to the hard things we are trying to swallow, the Lord has provided encouragement for us.
one other observation that keeps coming to me is that I cannot help but think that I am experiencing the aftermath of western christianity coming to africa and then leaving it to perish. The city life is definately in Nairobi, but these people still live savage lives. Also, after talking to people about Christianity here, alot of it is confused with tribalism and things. I feel like discipleship and relationship got left out of the picture. But God is still at work here. We have met so many people who continue to encourage and inspire us with the work they do here and I am really excited about the rest of the trip. I guess where I am left now is that I feel like with the amount of time I have, there is no room for me to really invest somewhere. With Africa, when you say "just go love the people/children", I am starting to see that means years of work. That is just who they are, and who they are is so amazing and unique. So despite all the un-American things I have seen, my prayer now is to sift through what it looks like to follow Christ in Africa.
So I do not know if what I just said makes any sense, but please know that I am well and so excited about the rest of the trip (and excited about coming home). I will most likely write again when we get back from the safari.
peace and love.