Saturday we visited the Musoko School for Handicapped Children in Muchakos approximately 30 minutes southeast of where we’re staying at Tim Bannister’s. We went there with the plan to simply show up and help get a couple hundred handicapped kids on buses by which they would be taken to Nairobi for a fun day. We have developed a simply acronym since arriving here to explain away the unexpected, TIA – this is Africa. So we had a TIA moment when we arrived on time and the buses weren’t there. What we thought at first was merely a delay became a three hour long opportunity to interact with some of the most beautiful children on the planet. At first we were just amazed at their smiles and playfulness, begging us to take pictures of them and then show us on the viewer how they looked on camera. Groups of them surrounded us and we engaged them asking their names, giving our own, etc.
Being an introvert, I started looking for the small groups, the loners and tried to engage them in conversation. I met a young man, who had a huge flashy belt buckle that said Akon all over it. He was SO excited to talk favourite bands with me and quickly told me how much he loves Kanye and Akon and asked if I liked them too. I couldn’t say no to him, so we talked about bands for a bit. While we spoke, a young girl standing nearby listening to our conversation would help me understand him when his english was a little foggy for me. A little while later I bumped into her again elsewhere and came to know the sweetest 14-year old girl (besides my own daughter!). Her name is Rhoda. When she was 7, her right leg was “sick” and it was removed. She helped me work out the kinks on a song we were learning with the kids and taught me the second verse. Her patience, sweetness and smile were breathtaking amidst the conditions I observed and the many disabilities all around us. Later on, when the buses did come, I told her I would help her on the bus and her laughter surprised me. I followed her around to the bus entrance and she was up those stairs with a hop, skip and a jump before I could offer my arm to her. I was able to help her wheel-chair bound friend into the seat next to her and their smiles were all the thanks I needed.
Seeing Rhoda and these kids has begun to change my thinking from a posture of we really have no place here as white people, to maybe we can help in small ways. We can’t fix all the problems that plague people here but God is here, that is clear.
Thanks everyone for your support. What we’re seeing and experiencing here is changing our lives. May God bless you.