Saturday night. I’m writing by candlelight. We had barely started the movie this afternoon when the power went out. We’ve been having several blackouts recently, and the power stays off for long periods. A lot of Kenya’s power is hydro-electricity. During a severe drought like the one we’re facing right now, the drought is affecting the power supplies around the country. What blows my mind is that the city government turns off all power without prior notice. It’s just one of those things. Everyone takes it in stride. The kids were disappointed that we had to quit right as they got into the movie, but I didn’t hear anyone grumble. It’s just a part of life. (Note: The power only came back on almost 24 hours later, sometime on Sunday.)
We have two staff members here from Tanzania. They had traveled overnight, taking one public transportation after another as well as walking long distances. They arrived finally after almost a day’s travel. Joelle (who cooks for visitors) prepared a wonderful beef stew, ugali and spinach-like vegetables. Some of our staff shared the meal with our Tanzanian friends by the light of a paraffin lantern. Then I headed out to go and read to two rooms.
What I love about reading them bedtime stories is that I get to visit with the kids in a very quiet environment. They always sit around their big table while I read, and I’m able to see every kid’s face. It’s fun to see even 11-year-old boys giggling at a cute illustration and getting all excited about me reading them from All aboard the good-night train!
I usually make a point of explaining ideas where necessary. One story tonight, for example, was about a monkey who goes and spends the night with his grandparents. The story is called “Jungle Lullaby,” and when I explained what a lullaby was, the girls taught me a Swahili lullaby. It starts with, “Lala, mtoto, lala…” (Sleep, child, sleep…)
By the time they were done singing, I just about was ready to sleep. Sara Ekale, one of the littlest ones in the Rotich household did in fact fall asleep, and the girls giggled when I picked her up and gently tucked her into bed. They’re just not used to that. As I left their room, the girls were saying, “Adéle, we rrrreally love you. We pray for you, Adéle. God will bless you SOOOO much.”
In “Jungle Lullaby,” the monkey wants to be brave, but he’s a little afraid to spend his first night away from home. We talked about their first night at the orphanage, and both the boys and the girls admitted that the first few nights were tough. “Some even cried,” Vitaline told me. “But me, I did not cry.” And so we talked about crying, about the fact that God gave us tears and it’s OK to cry sometimes.
“I have big shoulders,” I told the kids. “You can always come and cry on my shoulders. But I have to warn you: I might cry with you.” And they know I will, because that’s what happened when one boy cried at the news that his sponsor has cancer…
Tomorrow (Sunday) I’ll be going to Kipkaren with the Rogers family as well as our Tanzanian staff. I’m looking forward to church somewhere away from the base. Starting next week, I’ll probably be visiting English-speaking churches in Eldoret. Though I will always want to be contributing toward the spiritual growth of our staff, I believe it’ll be healthy for me to get involved in a church away from here, for the sake of getting to know other people and having fellowship with others. Please pray that I will find a church where I can serve as well as be challenged to grow.