Compassion

Stories from Kenya: Five Months On

Five months ago, I was three days away from travelling to Kenya with Compassion to see the work they are doing in this beautiful country, and to meet my sponsored child.

Five months later, and I still don’t really have any words to describe my trip.

It’s not that I can’t remember anything. I think I have the opposite problem – I can’t not remember. There are so many things I want to say and so many stories that I need to share but once I start talking (or writing) about it, I don’t think I’ll be able to stop. Part of me wants to board a plane tomorrow and go back. Part of me thinks if I never go back, it’ll be too soon. When I think about my time in Kenya, all I want to do is smile. And then all I want to do is cry.

Poverty is such a paradox. These people have so little in terms of material possessions, but they have so much joy. And it’s so contagious. I don’t have to flick through my photo album for too long before my eyes land upon photo after photo of smiling faces. I can still hear the belly laughs of the children in one of the projects when we gave them balloons, or the joyful singing as the children in another project sang and danced for us.

P1020047I so desperately want to have the words, but I just don’t think I would give these stories the justice they so deserve. And the more time that passes, the more I worry I’m beginning to forget everything I experienced in Kenya. But the truth is this – God won’t allow me to forget. When I came back from India last March, I was so worried about signing up to travel to Kenya because I didn’t want poverty to become normal. I didn’t want to go and not be moved by what I saw because of the ‘been there, done that’ mentality. But every day, especially over the last couple of weeks, God has been breaking my heart, again and again.

It breaks my heart that we live in a world where poverty is normal, even made glamorous at times. I don’t want to turn away when I hear these stories and see the way these people live. Seeing and hearing is only ever helpful if it brings action, and I worry that because I haven’t told these stories, that I’m too late. But even though Kenya was nearly a whole half a year ago, it’s never too late to tell these stories, because I can’t believe that it’s too late for these children.

I’m so thankful that I serve a God who commands that we “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14). For that very reason, I know I’m never going to be too late. The words might not be eloquent and the stories might not be from Hollywood, but they still need to be told. So that’s what I will do.

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2 thoughts on “Stories from Kenya: Five Months On

  1. Beautifully said. I know the struggle of expressing my experiences on a trip in a few posts or testimonies. And I agree that in the midst of poverty there can be such joy and hope in God. I think we in the wealthier worlds can lose that in the midst of consumerism and all the business of life.

    1. I think in some ways, talking about it is harder than actually being there. When you’re there, your words don’t matter in the same way – you’re there and you’re willing to serve. That doesn’t mean the same here in the west.

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