Monday, June 12, 2006

Christin's Kenya Update 6/12...last one!

hey everyone!

so this is my last kenya update for the rest of the trip. it's monday afternoon here, and i leave on thursday, so things are going to get interesting. i will still be checking my email though, so if you have some amazing news you just have to tell me, feel free :)

we got back last night from mombasa. we spent 3 nights there as our final recommended break from NLH. it was paradise. our hotel was amazing, the food was good (mostly), and the sun was shining. when we first arrived, we were just exhausted from everything, but now we are ready to go and go hard for the next 3 days or so.

i thought i would explain a little what most of the living conditions are like for a majority of the population. first, they live in shacks that are not much bigger than a king size bed. the walls are either made of mud/grass or tin and the roof is made of the same material then with a metal sheet above it. in the slums, they actually pay rent to live there. the floors are dirt, and they are maybe 3 windows that are smaller than one square foot in size. so it's very dark and dirty. houses are crowded together, and everyone walks through mountains of garbage. most don't wear shoes. being there, seeing that, day after day, really wears on a person's reality. i'm not even shocked anymore to see hundreds of houses like that, a 7 year old boy squatting in garbage digging for something, a lady filling water bottles out of a mud puddle. no longer do these things shock me, i hardly register them because it is so common here.

young children run around by themselves in the most dangerous parts of the city. places in the US where we would feel uncomfortable letting our 12 year old walk to school, they let 3-5 year olds out by themselves to run around and play in the garbage. it's a lifestyle that is so hard to explain, so hard to accept. where we are shocked that this is happening, they literally have no choice. it's either force your child to sit inside a dark house all day or let them run around. however, many of them have amazing faith in God and are good people.

it's hard to explain the difference in Americans vs. Kenyans. i would say that a lot of it comes down to this: americans do, while kenyans wait. for instance, americans generally do what needs to be done. if money needs to be raised, blood needs to be given, people need to be helped, they do it. kenyans wait to be told what to do. for the most part, they seem to lack the initiative and drive that americans pride themselves on. obviously, not all americans are like this, and neither are all kenyans, but it holds true in many situations. while many americans hope and pray for a miracle, they still get up every morning and go to work and look for opportunity. kenyans seem to wait for divine intervention while not putting forth the effort. it's so different, and it's something that is so hard to change.

so, moving on to things here at NLH. first, they are going great. so many of the babies are growing and improving every day. it's hard to believe how much one small human can change in 4 weeks. how they can gain strength, smile more, and be so much more happy in general. the last week has seen many of the children have adoptions finalized. one in particular, eda, has been really difficult for me. if you didn't know, eda was my absolute favorite. she had this amazing personality that was already evident in a 5 month old. it's hard to explain, but there was no way that i was not going to connect with eda. she was just too cute! she was adopted last wednesday, and i'm so thrilled. she deserves a loving home and every opportunity. at the same time, it's also so sad that i will never see her again, never see what kind of woman she becomes, never see what her strengths are, and how her laugh changes. it's hard to explain, but i'm sure many of you get my point! morgan and i know it's going to be hard leaving this babies. unlike when someone moves, here, you will never see or speak to the babies again. they will move to different homes or be adopted. their names will change, there will be no pictures of their life at NLH. it's so strange to think that these babies have been such a big part of our lives here and have made such an impact, and once we leave, there is no way that we can keep in touch with them.

well, this email is pretty depressing i think. so sorry about that. even so, i am having an amazing time here and i'm so thankful that i was presented with this opportunity to make such a huge difference. i miss all of you and i'll be home soon (friday evening!)!



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