Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Even just saying her name makes me smile. Betty. She reminds me of Mary Magdalene. Her story is one of God extending her much grace. When she cried out to God just a few years ago, she was dying.

God has since turned her life around. She's still living with HIV/AIDS. But she's using it as a way to serve Him by reaching out to others who are positive. Countless lives have been touched through here testimony and her unwavering faith.

Yesterday, I had the joy of going to visit Betty at her home. I went with the home-based care team.

We found Betty outside her simple home, crocheting. She was beaming when she saw us coming. "Karibu!" (Welcome!)

We all found a place to sit in their small living room. All seven of us. Plus Betty and her mom. We visited about her health, since Betty has had a difficult three months behind her. "Eh! Every time I saw people coming to visit," she said with a smile, "my heart would be so happy. People came to tell me they are praying for me..."

The conversation turned to the weather of late. To everyone's delight, the rains have started. People are starting to plow their fields and plant their maze. With the rains come flying ants.

"You know, those ants are soooo sweet*!" Betty said with a smile. "Yesterday, I found many! They have good, natural fats. You can find me by the road just eating them."

"In fact," her mother interjected in a mix of Luhya and Kiswahili, if you would catch many, you can sell them at the market in Kipkaren... You would make so much money. Eh! They are sweet!" And she proceeded to tell about something else they love to eat as Luhyas. Grubs. As in worms, yes.

Betty had a blast entertaining us with the details of eating the worms... "You find them in the compost," she explained. You have to understand that most of the guests on our team were either Nandis (a completely different tribe than the Luhya hosts) or wazungu (white people).

"After catching the worms, you remove the intestines and you clean them very well. Then you fry them. Eh! They're sweet!"

(Juli's face says it all.)

Betty's mom continued to entertain us with stories, one of which was news of her one grandson talking about dropping out of school. That's a big taboo. People work very hard to pay school fees to send their children to school. "I told him, if he drops out of school, I'm going to take off my clothes!" the grandma proclaimed. Betty explained how it is seen as the ultimate curse for older women to literally bear their breasts to their sons/grandsons, thereby saying that you realize they do not respect you as an elderly woman. (It's very different from the custom of women breastfeeding anywhere and everywhere in this culture. That is not considered offensive whatsoever.)

After a delightful time of visiting and praying together, we took a group photo and said good-bye. We'd be back, yes.

Later in the afternoon, as I stopped by to drop off something, Betty was sitting on a bench in the sun, bathing. She was still smiling. As was I. How very blessed I am to have seen God work through Betty's life to touch many, including me.

Below are some other photos taken yesterday

The ELI Home-based Care Team:
I have been taking group shots for a project I'm working on. Yesterday's visit to Betty's home was made after the photo shoot.

The girls and I. Isn't our area beautiful?

The team, walking to Betty's

Kids along the way, at a nursery school in our neighborhood

* Kenyans use the word sweet to refer to anything tasty, not only sugary.


  1. That brought tears to my eyes, the pictures at the end. The worm thing brought a frown.

    Isn't funny how if it is consirered normal where you are (growing up) its normal to you? Being from the south we drink our tea, cold w/sugar. We moved up north and when we would eat out, if we ordered tea we got hot tea. Which in the South is not drank much!

    Although the ants and the grubs migt be a little extreme, still kinda the same!