This is the last blog in our #GoBeyondHope Series, featuring on-the-ground updates from Annette and Nathan as they visit our ministry locations in Kenya and Uganda.
Hard to believe but our 3 weeks in Africa have come to an end. It has been a trip full of surprises and blessings. There has been laughter, but I have also shed tears and held hands with those I have encountered that have been suffering. I have been both moved and touched by so many people. Here are some highlights of the trip that I will take home with me.
Devotional time with our office staff in Kenya and singing hymns together with them. What beautiful voices they have!
Meeting the 10 new families that received goats. They were so excited to have this new opportunity to support themselves. One girl stood off in the distance with one of her goats, and with the rope secured around the goat's neck, she was able to turn the other end and jump rope!! It was too cute.
Going to the dentist office and witnessing the bravery of that little girl getting her tooth pulled.
On a personal level: getting the the opportunity to drive in Kenya out in the Bush - right hand drive!
Meeting the wonderful sponsorship success stories... one lady named Janet, who studied business and went to work in an office, all the while putting money aside so she could one-day fulfill her dream of owning a small poultry business. She was so happy! Another sponsored guy was getting ready to enter university and showed me where he kept all the letters from his sponsor.
Seeing the tears in a young teen girl's eyes as she retold the story about the night her father came to their house and proceeded to set it on fire. We talked together in our van, but on several occasions she looked over her shoulder out the back window and told me she saw something or someone... She was very afraid her father was going to show up. After visiting with me for a bit, she and her mother returned to their new location (they had moved in with some friends about an hour away).
Seeing all the beautiful animals in Kenya (especially the birds)!
Watching a little boy crouching low near a dirty stream and cupping his hands to take a drink. Just up the stream from him, a small herd of sheep were also drinking from this same water. So sad.
Meeting the Kalenjin tribe in Kisserian and having the ladies cover me in a beaded necklace and headdress. I was particularly close to the older ladies and asked my translator to tell them that I no longer had a grandma and wondered if any of them would be my grandma. The all exclaimed that they wanted to be my "Gogo" (grandma)!
Meeting the single mother on Ssese Island that, through the generosity of our donors, we were able to bless with a Critical Care Pak.
Having a little 6 year old girl tap me on the shoulder, crank open her mouth and point to the gap in her teeth. She proceeded to tell me (in an adorable lisp) that she had lost her tooth. "I lost my tooth but I got money." she said. "Really?" I asked. "Who brought you the money?" "The rat" she answered. Apparently in Uganda, it is rat that brings the money, not a tooth fairy. I couldn't help picturing a rat in a sparkly, pink tutu swiping the tooth and slipping a couple coins under her pillow before scampering off in a hail of pixie dust.
We were in a hut in Uganda and I saw a razor blade on the dirt floor. I mentioned to our office staff that we should probably pick it up before one of the kids got hurt. She laughed and said, "This is Africa! The kids use the razor blade to trim their fingernails! They never get hurt." Then a little 8 year old girl showed me how she carefully trimmed her nails. Amazing.
Stopping to meet an old friend of mine on Ssese Island in Uganda, and discovering her son was now in one of our choir tours! I had her record a little video message on my phone for her son. I can't wait to send it to him!
Nathan asked me last night what I was looking forward to when I got back to the US. I think it will be having easy access to the internet and technology in general - that has been very challenging here! That... and maybe eating a fresh, crisp salad without fear!
Thanks to everyone who joined me on this adventure. It has been truly amazing!