Had an awesome last two weeks with the Maasai tribe in Lerujet which is about 2 hours from Nairobi, far from busy streets, crowded slums, and civilization. Sleeping in houses called manyatas made of sticks, grass, mud, and cow dung. And working with the kids in the school… the school in a long process to come called Meeyu Academy (means ever flowing spring)... currently a school under a tree with only two benches to sit on. There are around 20 kids or so and they are great. They come from surrounding bomas. Most of the kids are from the age of 3 to 6, and then one at the age of 15. All in “Pre-unit” or preschool together learning. Most have never been to school, and if so, in the past they walked very far to the closest school in town… I know Elizabeth leaves at 6 for school that begins at 8:30. So maybe 2 hours to walk there. The teacher, named Jude, is only out of high school with dreams of becoming a doctor, but he was the only willing one to teach, but he is doing a great job with the small children. They are so intelligent. They already know their mother tongue or their tribe’s language, but now they are already learning Swahili and English. Its crazy. Most of them know the alphabet, and can count to ten, some to 100. Jacklyn, the 15 year old girl, I have been working with a lot. She can almost write her name by herself. Wow does this girl have a story. She was circumcised just a few years ago, and after she healed, she was able to be given away to be married at any time, but her father who is maybe 70 or 75 can hardly take care of him self, and most of his wives except maybe 1, have passed away, leaving him with many many children to take care of on his own. Jacklyn and her older sister who is married now have to take care of all the children and their father and the cattle and goats and washing and cooking and everything. But luckily she is now able to learn, and expand her knowledge, and Im so happy that God is working in her life. She has not been married off yet which makes me happy because she is so young and now she has an opportunity for an education which in that culture, it gives her a little more freedom and say so with her own life. Anyways the school is great. Syd got them some wood and her and Bonnie made a chalk board out of it, painted it, and got some chalk. It is awesome what they are able to get accomplished and learn out here with out even a school building. But they really do need one. They carry everything to school everyday, the chalk board, chairs, books, etc, which isn’t far from their homes, maybe the length of a football field for most, some walk about a mile, but still. Then sun is scorching hot, and there are always distractions all around. Tim and I have funny crazy farmer’s tans, and a little bit of sunburns. Also, many of the kids are on different levels, the little bitty one who know nothing, and the 6 year olds who know most all the answers. So it is hard to teach, they need to really be separated. Syd’s goal is to build maybe two classrooms a year so that each year the children who need to advance, can advance, and bring in more younger kids into school from the beginning, beginning with next year. She wanted to start this summer but the funds never came, and now said she notices that that was her plan and not God’s. HIS plan is that this year is about building relationships. There is me, Syd, Tim, Bonnie, and four other women that are came. The building relationships part is wonderful and fun, and her goal is to get people attached and build deep relationships together and with God, and when we all come home, we will have a heart for the needs and work together in our different towns and cities to raise for project. Which I know I have a heart for these people, but I also have a heart for Bible Baptist. But one thing that I have really learned in Maasai land is how to more intimately pray and worship. I love how they do it. They sing with all their heart, they dance, clap, jump, shout in prayer, and every time I get chill bumps… or God bumps. Its just the most awesome thing. Every time I worship with them, I just feel the Holy Spirit moving and I feel renewed. I was there last year but only for about 3 or 4 days… and Its crazy that I thought that I was coming back here to share Gods word and the Good News and be a witness, which maybe I did, but for me I feel like a gained more than I gave. But I really hope that God is working something for their school and church.
On Sunday, July 20th… I had a really happy day! We had an amazing church service, a late church service that lasted till about 3 and then we came back to the boma and they had slaughtered 2 goats for a feast. A “Welcoming celebration” for the visitors.. As I was told…! So the mommas of the boma told me that the youngest there (which was me) would be given a gift.. And at the end, the oldest would be given a gift. HA! So they told me that I was to be blessed with maasai clothing and jewelry and so they took me into a manyata, and began to dress me traditionally. Then they put this necklace on me… which I remembered seeing one like it last year that was similar, and I was told that it was a ceremony necklace… like an engagement/wedding necklace. Then it hit me. J I then knew what was coming then. After a few minutes of everyone sticking their head in the door and taking pictures, Tim came in. Then my dad was on the phone with Syd. He was put on speaker phone so he could listen to everything. Mom came in and sat down. Then pastor Peter began talking about joining two people, and something about engagement and something about marriage. And I began to tear up and I don’t remember much of what was said after that. Then I saw Tim come towards me and he put a necklace on my that symbolized that he loves me and that he chose me to be his future wife. Then he got down on one knee and proposed and asked if I would also choose him and marry him. And of course I said yes with tears going down my face. And he gave me a pretty giraffe ring to wear here. Its sweet. Then we all went outside and celebrated. There was singing and dancing and cake and goat meat and chapati and sodas. Then Tim and I took a walk and sat down to watch the sun set. Then we made a few phone calls back home and went back. It was so great. It was a wonderful day. Thank you Tim. And thank you God for bringing me such a Christian and wonderful guy that loves you so much and is a spiritual leader.
Late last night a child from a different boma ran crying and screaming to where we were staying asking us to come with the cars up the road, that there had been a wreck. So we jumped in the cars with the first aid kits and flew there. It was a big truck.. But a school truck. There was a whole 6th grade class in the back of the truck, about 40 or 50 of them, there were only two benches along the side and the rest of them were standing holding on to the rail, and the truck went of the road and flipped on the side and dumped all the kids out. When we got there all I could hear was screaming and moaning and crying. It was awful. I couldn’t help but to cry with them. I did not know what to do. I just squatted down and hugged some of the girls and cried with them and prayed over them. Syd began to pick out some of the worst ones and had some of the men carry them in to the van to take them to the hospital. There was one girl that my heart broke for. She was on her side moaning and crying, and when they began to pick her up she fell limp. I thought she was gone. I was so scared, I was crying. The young girls began smacking her face and she woke up, she had just passed out for about ten seconds. And she began to cry and scream again. We all continued to load up the worst injured. Many probably with broken arms and legs, back injuries and head injuries. Tim and I began going around with the first aid kid cleaning up blood and cuts and small wounds. Put some antibiotic ointment and bandages on them where needed. And then I went and hugged and prayed with some of the girls while Tim and another guy continued helping with injuries. It was a very long and scary night. I know when the kids did not come home on time their parents had to be so worried. And I just ask you all to pray for the kids and their families because I know many are burdened with high hospital bills and some are probable burdened with nightmares.
The day after the wreck