Saturday, January 07, 2006

Trouble in the City

I'm en route to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I have to spend the evening in Nairobi due to my flight to Addis being early tomorrow morning. Upon arriving in Nairobi this morning, the taxi driver informed me of a problem they've been having in downtown Nairobi this week:

Due to the severe droughts across the country, the Maasai people have been bringing their cows to downtown Nairobi in order for them to graze. Apparently, they even knocked on the president's door to ask if their cows can graze on his lawn seeing that he has such a big yard. Their request was turned down. The Maasai have since taken their cows to the suburbs, and people are complaining that the cows are ruining the gardens.

Related to this incident, the Kenyans (or the people of Nairobi, at least), are now complaining that their meteorologists are ill qualified since they had recently predicted that the first rainfall of the year will be in March, yet Nairobi recently had two days of rain.

Somehow, I'm thankful that I live in the boonies. I've found cows and goats in my (or rather, the Rogers') yard on a number of occasions. I figure they keep the grass short--and fertilized.

Speaking of the yard: I had mentioned a few days ago that some of the boys had proudly shown me their garden when I returned from home. They've been planting every single seed they can lay their hands on, and you can find them by the fence where they've done their planting almost every afternoon. Some of the younger ones still have to learn that it doesn't help to dig up the seeds to check on their progress, but then again, they'll discover that for themselves.

Hillary and his friends have been admiring the Rogers' roses and have asked me how they, too, can plant roses. Can one grow a new rose bush from cutting off a branch of an existing rose bush? Anyone?

I know I'll miss the kids a lot these three weeks that I'll be in Ethiopia. I went to greet them before leaving for the airport this morning, but as we drove off, all the children came running out and waved again. "We'll pray for you, Adele," Vincent assured me. "We'll miss you, Adele," Vitalin said with a serious look on her little face.

Kipkurui (little Calvin) came running up to me and did what he always does: He looked me in the eyes and spoke Swahili. But he doesn't just speak. The words shoot from his mouth without him taking a moment to breathe! He'd look at you and at the end of the monologue his eyes would get really big, like he's waiting for me to say "Yes!" But I don't know what he's saying. His dorm mom later told me that he came to her asking if I'll be back... Often times, after he's come to talk to me like this and realized that I still cannot understand him, he'd smile, pop his thumb into his mouth, spin around and walk off. His only four, and his English is limited to "How are you? Fine! Welcome!" and, when he's playing and wants me to acknowledge what he's doing, he'll shout, "Adele! See me!"

A year ago, when he first came to the orphanage and was a petite three years old, it took the staff months to convince him that he did not have to get up and collect water before he'd be fed breakfast. See, while living with his aunt in the slums, he and his siblings were required to fill up a water container for their aunt's brewing business before she'd give them their morning tea.

I look at little Calvin and at bigger children like Hillary and Vitalin, and I thank God that they're in a place where they're surrounded by loving parents who are teaching them who they are in Christ. And I have hope for Kenya, because although thousands of children are left orphaned by AIDS, many of them are being taken care of by people who are training them up in the ways of the LORD.

What an honor to play a small part in this work God is doing.

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