Ann Clemens works at the CFCA-Kansas office in Child Services. Last month, she participated in the mission awareness trip to Kenya and met her sponsored child, Ezekiel. Here are a few of her reflections from the trip.
Going to Kenya was a great opportunity and a wonderful experience. Days were filled with beautiful faces, big smiles, lots of giggles, exotic landscapes, great food and huge celebrations! Getting accustomed to the time difference was a challenge, made greater when I would wake up in the middle of the night and my mind would become deluged with flashes of images and sounds Iíd witnessed that day.
Every project we visited had stories about ìthe crisisî (referring to last December 2007 through February 2008, after the presidential election there and the chaos and destruction that followed). One project referenced the panic and grief which involved hiding family members of one tribe from another tribe, and where neighbors and friends were pitted against each other. Some spoke about how they had coped, the great generosities of helping one another, and the tribes working together to move the healing process forward. The people have much pride in their individual cultural tribes, but noted that they are Kenyans first.
There is no greater example of this ongoing healing process than with the huge celebration of the Nairobi project and its subprojects. Although there were many groups of all ages represented, the newly formed mothers groups exemplified how theyíre all working together. The various tribes from the area wore traditional dress as they performed for everyone with singing and dancing.
They also cooked and served the food together for our lunch, which was a huge feast, serving around 1,500 children and adults. Peter Ndungo, Nairobi Project Director, said it was all to instill and represent the healing process. It was very symbolic because feeding and serving others is an expression of love with the nourishment we need to sustain us, to help our minds and bodies grow and heal.
They are committed to helping each other and to continue on their path toward healing as their intentions are to create even stronger communities. The message from them is to ìtell everyone that Kenya is a very safe place,î to not only visit but to live as well.