15 April 2010

Julie's Final Blog From Kenya

Wednesday 7th April - I awoke early worrying about the little boy, Felix, whom I’d met the previous evening. Why hadn't I taken some biscuits in my rucksack, why didn't I give him more bread when I had the chance?

I signed on to the internet. It was only 5:49 French time and I saw that Thomas was on line. Quickly I emailed him to say that Skype was out of the question - if I heard his voice, I would just cry even more. I was so full of despair for this poor little boy. I couldn't bear the thought of him going hungry until tomorrow evening and our next fellowship at Katchok, when he would possibly turn up.

In sharp contrast, we were due to take the girls out to the Impala Park and then for a fish meal afterwards. I managed to cheer myself up a bit with thoughts of seeing 'my' girls again - Ruth and her sisters, Violet , Maccy and Winny.

I spent most of my time with the youngest siblings of Ruth - 2 year old Elizabeth and 3 year old Christine. They were so happy to play with the balloons whilst the older girls touched my skin and played with my hair. Once they got bored of the few things I had in my makeup bag and trying on my lipstick, they investigated my iTouch and then played football and 'catch' like the boys.

It was a happy afternoon which continued with fish at Car Wash and party bags for the youngest amongst them with a promise of a present for each of the older girls, the following day.

In the evening, we took Moses and his wife, Tatu, out for a Thai meal. I so wanted to ask, even beg him to take little Felix into the program but knew that I had to bide my time and let things unfold in the correct manner.

Thursday 8th April - I had a rendezvous with Florence as I wanted to do some shopping for the girls and hear about the (Felix) home visit that she and John had scheduled for earlier this morning.

Having spent a fortune in Kenyan terms at the Bata shoe shop, Florence and I sat having Iced coffee with a plate of masala chips whilst she began to tell me Felix's grim story.

He was almost 10 years old but was only 2 when his mother died from brain damage having been beaten up by her husband. Felix recalled that he had also had a younger sister who had also died. His father, now 70, and known by other villagers to be mentally sick, was never prosecuted.

Currently, Felix lives with his 70 year old grandmother who barely makes a living by ploughing the fields of neighbouring farms. His aunt and uncle and their 5 children live next door however they refuse to include him in their family life so Felix is rarely fed and is often beaten. In order to provide for himself, he has found work at the construction site digging up sand in order to pay for his meagre upkeep and school fees.

I wept as I leant of his sad life. I felt so strongly that God had pointed me in his direction.

John, who had accompanied Florence on the home visit , reported back that he knew of the boy, saying that on a couple of occasions he had run to (the other) John's house in Manyatta after he had been beaten. This journey (barefoot) would have taken him one and a half hours. Surely this boy fitted the profile perfectly for being brought into the Isaiah Trust programme?

That afternoon, I was due to be at Kibos with Moses to teach the boys some French. In actual fact, the time was spent with Moses giving him the background on Felix. Will he think I am over reacting and too emotional? What do I know of the situation? There are loads of boys probably with the same issues. But in my heart of hearts I knew that I was meant to bring little Felix to Moses's attention.

Moses said that in a situation like this, the ideal is to bring the boy into a family situation until his self esteem is strong enough for him to maybe attend a boarding school. However, I knew that the house was full as it was.

We ended the conversation with the agreement that if he was at Kachock that evening, then we would both go for a home visit the following morning. Thereafter, I tried to distance myself from Moses in an effort not to influence his decision making process.

Friday 9th April – this morning we went to Nakumat to buy provisions to take to Felix's home. What would we find?

His grandmother's house was in a rural area which in part appeared quite affluent. I asked Moses about this? It looked great he said, but being on the flood plain, it is rife with Cholera and Typhoid - so much for fertile plains, I thought!

Eventually, we arrived there. The house itself was two simple rooms - an upturned wheelbarrow held a bowl for washing. Felix was alone and Moses questioned him closely. Before we left, I held Felix close and promised him that he would be leaving this place whatever - when I asked him if he wanted to be taken care of, away from this situation, he gave me his first word – ‘yes’.

On the way back to the car, as Felix walked ahead with John and Tom, my steps were slow and laboured, my heart was heavy with the despair I was feeling for Felix's situation. Then Moses joined me and said, ‘On Sunday Felix will come to church with Pamela (the mother of Michael of the glasses fame) and he will stay at the house at Kibos. He will be taken into the programme’.

My hands covered my eyes, I was overcome with emotion but I didn't cry, I just sobbed into Moses's shoulder such was my relief at finding this little 'lost' boy. That's Felix at the top of this posting.

Later that afternoon, I had such an overwhelming feeling that God had brought me to this point in my life whereby all my skills in my working life, all my skills as a mother, every ounce of experience I had ever had - all had been honed to this point. This was where I was meant to be.

My delight at attending the children's fellowship meeting the evening before and my high with the news of Felix's acceptance into the programme, was tempered by learning that John's 7 months old son had been taken into hospital during the night with Malaria.

Kisumu is a rollercoaster of emotions, joy and despair, hope then hopelessness.

Saturday 10th April - All too soon it was time to leave to return to my other family with a simple promise to come back soon ,God willing, with Guy and Kitty. I left with letters full of greetings to their white brother and sister in France.

The flights back to Nice were not uneventful with a late departure from Nairobi, the dash to make the connecting flight in Paris and my case disappearing for 24 hours. All the sorts of things which would normally stress you out, but compared to what I had experienced during the previous 2 weeks, a walk in the park!

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