Today started with two firsts. It was the first day of life for this baby born in Lwala, Kenya and the first time I have had a baby named after me. I was told this woman gave birth and hour ago and I should go see her. She looks great by the way and did it all with no epidural. As we talked she asked my name and as I was leaving she said your name stays here and she named this beautiful baby Wally. Cool for me but I feel bad for that kid in case you have not noticed Wally is not the coolest name here.
We also got to take part in a ritual that is repeated many times over here in Kenya. It is walking, sometimes for miles to gather water. We literally got to walk in someone else’s shoes, OK maybe not their literal shoes, but we walked their path. The part of this that is hard to believe is you can walk for miles to get water that is still not safe to drink. Millions of kids die every year from preventable water-born illnesses. That is why the work Blood Water is doing here in Kenya is so important.
In Kenya “jack and Jill” go up the hill to fetch a pail or a bucket or anything that will hold water. Women and children will spend large amounts of there day getting water. However, if they have water tanks or wells that time can be spent on things like going to school or starting a small business selling the vegetables they grow. Over 200 households all use this one contaminated water source. I wish I was making this stuff up because it sounds to us like there is no way the could happen, not in this day and age, but it is just every day life in Africa.
I got to have a Project Runway, Make it work Moment here in Lwala as we met women in a sewing co-op. These women provide for their families by sewing things to benefit the Community and the hospital here in Lwala.
Mary taught me how to make one of the items they sew, but it turns out she did not have complete confidence in me as I found out she did not load any thread into the machine. As a PR veteran I should have seen that coming.
The people here are truly dependent on God for their very existence and their faith is beautiful. Mary, who is a working mom, and the only income for her family. She is doing every thing she can to provide for her family made me think about a part of the Lord’s prayer I have easily sped past many times before, but today it hit me like a ton of bricks. She said, “she is thankful to God that she can work for her daily bread.” That is a prayer on such a basic subsistence level that most of us don’t get because we do not struggle just to eat, but in Africa it is reality and partly the reason their faith is as big as their continent.
Well we are only 4 plane rides and about 40 hours of travel time away from being home although part of me will not be making that trip, no I did not lose a finger or anything, but part of my heart will always be with the people we have had the privilege to meet here in Kenya.