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Thanksgiving in Kenya was great despite the fact that I had to work part of the day. A large group of my colleagues went to Rev. Phyllis house (our site coordinator) and had a huge lunch with turkey, sweet potatoes, veggies and three different kinds of cake. Needless to say I was completely full when I left. It was a great time to get together with my Kenyan family and remember all that we have to be thankful for.
I have been working with my colleague Will on a Peace Bench Campaign for the OAIC. The purpose is to get youth in Kenya to come together to create a bench to serve as a visible symbol of peace. Last week met with 10 youth from Nairobi informal settlements to start the process. The bench is made of plastic bottles and bags along with some cement. We are working together with the youth and local businesses to gather the recycled material. While constructing the benches we will have discussions with the youth about barriers that prevent us from having peace and what we can do to break down those barriers. The youth are to come back on Dec. 5th to begin the construction process and I look forward to getting to know them.
See OAIC website for more information if you wish on the Peace Bench (oaic.org)
Above is an image of the peace bench created in Nakuru about an hour outside of Nairobi.
I have recently had a hard time dealing with something that I face on a daily basis. Just about every day while walking home or to the grocery I am asked for money or food. At first I felt compassionate and would sometimes give bread that I had in my grocery bag but as it happened more and more I began to get frustrated. I cannot really explain why exactly I got frustrated at the situation. I think it might have to do with the fact that they only ask white people for money and food. Some even sit and wait for us to walk by. I have thought about what one is supposed to do in this situation and have realized that me giving them food does not really help them at all. It gives into the stereotype of skin color and it encourages them to continue to beg. It is definitely hard to ignore these people that come up to you, but honestly on a missionary salary cannot afford to give to all that ask. It is hard to know what to do in these situations, I guess all I can do is pray for them.
Tomorrow I am supposed to be on a Family TV show which discusses the meaning of Christmas. I am supposed to discuss how Christmas is celebrated at home. I will definitely mention the beautiful decorations, the smiles and singing Silent Night by candle light on Christmas Eve at my home church. I think the music is also something that creates comfort inside me. You cannot listen to Holly Jolly Christmas without feeling jolly! I do however think that we have been sucked into materialism and it seems to get worse and worse each year. I think we get consumed in the gifts rather than the blessings we have right in front of us. I think it takes stepping back to be with family and friends to make memories that will last, rather than a shirt you will grow out of. That is something I am choosing to work on this year.