Survival

A Mother’s Perspective by Patricia – Today, once again, we were greeted at the project with beautiful singing and dancing. We went to a Child Survival Program where mothers and babies have the opportunity to receive care in order to ensure the child can thrive. The mothers have the opportunity to learn life skills that will improve their living conditions and allow them to better care for their children. What fun to watch my girls engage with children, dance, blow bubbles for toddlers and listen to the stories of hunger, sickness and survival. They are hearing testimonies of hope and witnessing a culture that sings and dances through despair. We went to a home today inside the slums of a mother trying to survive. Trying to improve her situation for her 5 children. Trying to raise her sister’s child because her sister had died of AIDS. She carries a burden I cannot understand. This woman proudly demonstrated her resourcefulness to my family. She makes jewelry to sell at the market and is growing a garden. This mother is working hard to survive. She seemed joyful and proud of her accomplishments. But something still disturbs me about her situation. Its something I keep hearing over and over again and I am noticing the Compassion Staff have a very serious tone as they discuss what is going on. You see, there is a global food crisis. It is affecting these communities that we have been visiting. Food prices have doubled, and the drought isn’t helping. Even with the help of Compassion, these families are struggling. This woman, who works so hard to put food on the table has to compensate for the increasing cost of food. Her rent just went from $10 to $25 a month. The family income is only $75 a month. Jimmy, her youngest is in the Child Survival Program. He is doing well. What about her other children in the family? My children are hearing these stories. They can see the babies in their dirty, torn clothes. They are seeing the toys that the children are playing with made out of items we would throw away. They see it but they don’t have to live it. As a family how will this change us? What will we do differently? My family likes their stuff. We like clothes, iPods, music and Wii. What are we suppose to do when others are starving? Do we pretend it doesn’t exist? Well the Jones’ are seeing it first hand and it’s hard to ignore. I certainly don’t have all the answers but I have to ask these questions. I just want to let you know that people are hungry over here and maybe we should pay attention.

A Daughter’s Perspective by Julia – I heard the most amazing testimony today about a woman and her child. You see today we went to a CSP or child survival program. Her story was about her sister. The woman told us that her sister died soon after having a child. The child’s brother came to the woman and told her about how the father was abusing the child and that he nearly threw the child into a pit latrine (toilet). The woman adopted the child knowing that that is what her sister would have wanted. The woman’s husband threatened to leave her and the 6 children of her own. The woman explained to her husband that if she were to die would he not expect the same of her sister. So he did not leave her. When she took the boy to the hospital they found he had rickets, and that he needed expensive food supplements.  She had heard of the CSP project and what they did for mothers and children, so she took the boy to the project. They helped her to buy the food supplements for the boy and he is now healthy. The woman came to know the Lord and she has learned skills so that she can earn money for her family.

We also went to a home in a slum, a slum if you can imagine is like the bottom of your trash can, there is no running water, no flushing toilets, (meaning no toilet paper), and not even a decent shelter. We visited a 32-month-old boy named Jimmy. The house was about as big as two parking spots, constructed out of a wood skeleton and thin metal sheets as walls. The mother had just moved to that house a week ago because the government is tearing down her home as well as many others to construct a highway. The rent for the house was nearly 3 times as much as the old house and the same size. The woman was so proud of her little boy and how he seldom got sick because of the skills she learned at the CSP center. She learned how to breast-feed, and now her boy is healthier than her other children because of it. She showed us how she treated diarrhea so that her children could live to the morning so she could get them to the hospital (the nearest hospital is 6 kilometers away and they have to walk). The whole experience was overwhelming. Even getting out of the car was hard because we had to lock everything up we had to take off our jewelry, and hide our cameras.  But to hear this woman’s story was amazing, when she told us about her adopted child she told it to us with a matter of fact tone about how her sister died of HIV/AIDS and she took her child for her, I couldn’t help but shed a tear. I kept asking myself how this woman could be so happy and I realized that finding the Lord through these project workers had changed her forever.  Today I realized that poverty in the USA is (nothing like this) not poverty at all. Today was a wonderful day. Thank you all for your prayers.

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6 Comments on “Survival

  1. Hey you guys – appreciate reading your updates – continuing to pray that you’ll have a terrific time together – please give my love to Susan and the Kenya country staff. Blessings, Rich

  2. hey julia! YOUR TRIP LOOKS SO AMAZING!!!! it’s so amazing what you guys are doing! and all while we’re stuck here doing math homework! 😛 we’re missing you at lunch….considering putting your head on a popsicle stick to have your presence (a picture of your head, that is.) oh oh oh AND i gotta tell you, YOU HAVE TO SIGN UP FOR CYT CLASSES WHILE YOU’RE THERE!! cause APPARENTLY they start the tuesday after spring break, and the auditions are that friday! I AM FREAKING OUT!! but yeah, so you oughta do that….i hope you continue to have a super amazing, life-changing trip!….code blue!

  3. So many emotions here as well. It encourages our hearts to know people are connecting with what we are experiencing. We love you Michelle. -Steve

  4. We will definitely have a slide show for church, maybe even a little video. Thanks for reading, it is so encouraging to know people are following along.

  5. I am really enjoying reading about your trip.Julia, grace and Isabelle….thanks for sharing from your perspective. Its so interesting to hear your experiences.My heart aches thinking of the suffering that so many go through. I think your trip is preparing my heart for our trip to the phillipines.Patricia, you and Steven have taken some phenomenal pictures that I hope you will put together into a slide show for us at church!!!
    Have a great time and know that our prayers are with you!!

  6. OK – I just read the first paragrah then scrolled down to glimpe a picture of the girls blowing bubbles and had to click “close” and proceed to cry. I think they are tears of PMS and Shame (3% PMS 97% Shame) We have nothing to complain about ever do we? I’ll go read the rest and see if I can make ith through w/o a complete breakdown – but I wanted to say thanks for going and caring and sharing.

    Can’t wait to talk more love to all – M

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