Friday, February 17, 2006
"And I used to climb into that tree and tell people about Jesus"
Mama Chiri is the lady who does my laundry twice a week. By hand, 'cause that's the way it's done here. She lives across the road from ELI, in a little mud hut that didn't have electricity until today.
"I've been having all the wires in my house for almost a year and a half," she explained with a smile, "but I had to wait for the electrician to put in the meter. He came today, so I praise God for power!"
Her husband came into the living room, the smell of alcohol preceding him like a dark cloud. Not much of what he said made sense.
"I have been praying many years for my husband to be saved," Mama Chiri explained later. "I believe God will answer my prayer. You know, I praise God that Papa Chiri is not a bad man. But alcohol is keeping him from being an altogether good father and husband."
After having chai and pancake-like snacks, she showed me her shamba, the garden she works on in the afternoons. A preschool teacher by profession, she's been working from home for the last several years. She grows and sells vegetables whenever she can, and currently, she's in a training program at ELI where local ladies learn how they can use better farming methods to grow better crops.
We talked about the challenges of farming. Other than the drought, the biggest problem she has is that neighbors' cows eat her crops. Putting a simple fence around her property will solve this problem.
When Joseph stammered into the living room again and Mama Chiri left to tend to one of the kids, I asked him what he does every day. "I work in my shamba, he said." Then he continued to point out everything that belongs to him. "My house. My children. My goat. My dog. My dog has 18 calves." (puppies)
If only he really helped around the garden. Mama Chiri works 2 jobs, plus tends to her land. Her husband just drinks. Yet I did not see for one moment that she has any anger towards him! "I'm just praying that God will heal my husband! Then he can also help with the house."
After almost two hours of visiting, we prayed together. I was humbled by her faith, her joy and her tenacity.
Please pray that God will heal Joseph of his alcoholism and turn his life around!
[In case you're wondering about here name: Here, you are called by the name of your oldest child. If your firstborn is named Joe, you'd be Mama Joe and Papa Joe.]
Tomorrow morning, Mama Chiri and I will be working side by side, mopping and waxing the floor of my house. Sometime this weekend, I might actually be able to move in!