Unsinkable.

hello

 

The whole school has turned out to see us, kicking up dust as they dance and wave us in. We climb from the car into a river of children with smiles bleached white in the three o’clock sun.

It’s Wednesday, and Todd and I have tagged along with our friend Mark to open a solar-powered computer center at a school smack dab in what Kenyans call The Interior–undeveloped land, mile upon mile of scrub brush and dirt and sheep.

I’ve never known a warmer welcome, pressed in by kids half silly, half shy, all clamoring for a handshake. After several minutes of greetings and paperwork, we arrive at my favorite part–unboxing ten donated laptops and settling them into a steel classroom planted in a sun-parched square of the Great Rift Valley.

 

interior

warm

 

But let me back up a bit. This story began long before us with a fellow named Steve:

Once upon a time, in the wake of enormous personal loss, Steve moved his family to Africa to live and work at RVA for a year. As these stories often go, they fell in love with Kenya and her people, and one year swelled into fourteen. Early on he saw kids in a nearby school laid flat by hunger, so he started a simple lunch program: maize and beans boiled plump for every student, every day.

Kids started doing something new: they started showing up at school, armed with plastic bowls, not about to miss that sure-thing meal. And then they started learning.

 

shadows

githeri

 

Fast forward fourteen years and this lunch program feeds about twenty thousand students in our area’s poorest national schools. On top of that, Steve began a computer program with donated laptops and converted shipping container classrooms, because now that kids are eating and growing and graduating, we hope they just might need to type up a resume.

One might ask–in a setting too remote for power lines, why bother with computers? There are so many reasons, some lofty, some pragmatic, and they all whittle down to one thing: possibility. Many of these children hail from families fierce in their determination for them to grow beyond this dry boned existence, to someday secure employment in a town or city.

 

classroom

girls

 

As one grade seven student told Mark, “I have never touched a computer before.” But now she will; she’ll master keyboarding and the basics of Word, Excel, Power Point. She’ll be able to construct a business proposal, chart sales, maybe draft a medical report. And I have so much hope for her, that she can show up capable and competitive in this increasingly digital world; that she’ll know she’s a force to be reckoned with.

The smallish students seem more energized by an up-close encounter with us pale folk than the computer center itself, but then there’s class seven and eight. And the teachers and parents–their faces light with the laptop screens, reflecting back everything bold they dream for these kids.

 

 

It’s quite an afternoon: singing and pictures and children patient with my limping Swahili. Then tea with the school board and teachers. A prayer spoken still and warm, and the head teacher scraping back his chair to speak. First he references the lunch program: “I am so glad for the food so the children do not have the feeling of hunger in their stomachs. So even when they go home and maybe they do not eat, they can persevere until the next day.”

And then the chairman adds his part, his arms circling wide as he heaps blessings over all of us and especially you who give with joy and openness and care. I make a close study of my tea, blinking hard until my vision clears.

 

treasured

 

By the time we pack up it’s skimming early evening and the school stands empty, save for dust clouds blooming in the hot wind. And all I can think is thank You, God. I have little to do with the good that happened here, but thank You for a chance to bear witness to one simple, sturdy way to share this sweet life together. For allowing me this afternoon, the lively company of these kids. For the chance to plug into something bright and wild with possibility.

The valley slips into a bath of buttery light and we head home, caked in sweat and dirt and so much unsinkable hope.

16. January 2014 by nic
Categories: Uncategorized | 10 comments

Comments (10)

  1. I always get excited when I see a blog post of yours in my email box. It’s so exciting to hear how big our God is.

  2. As always, I am brought to tears (of joy) while reading your latest post. Your words and photos are beyond amazing! May God continue to bless you and the families that you are serving! Miss you all!

  3. Thank you for being the real deal. It’s God, but you allow Him to work through you and tell through you, and I’m thankful.

  4. Wow what a blessing you having given to those who read your post. Thank you. P.S. Can’t believe how big Lauren has gotten. Miss seeing all of you

  5. Those kids are so very beautiful.

  6. What a beautifully written post and beautiful pictures. It was so heartwarming to see my son, Mark, shaking hands with the children. It makes having him so far away hurt a little less. The picture of the computer room in a shipping crate reminds me of when he said he had to go help move the computer room. I had no idea it meant physically moving the room! Kenya Kids Can is a great ministry. Thanks for your part in it.

  7. Oh I love it!! Thank you Nic for reminding us of the beautiful Spirit empowered things that are happening there. So happy that you were part of this. Lots of love and prayers.

  8. Todd and Nikki-My husband and I so love your updates and blessings through Africa. Loving the faces of those children!!! Know that we pray daily for all of you!!!!

  9. I am sitting here thinking what my life would look like if I freed myself from all of this first world stuff and allowed God to take me to these places and open my eyes. I can not even fathom.

    I am so wrapped up in admiration for you and Mr. T and the littles and the big God who orchestrated it all. I’ve had your littlest one on my heart lately and wondered if he’s settled back into his africa, even if it isn’t his part. I sure hope so.

    You do my heart good. And I miss you.

    xxoo

  10. dear, nic. so much goodness. i adore your heart and vision, the way you soak up and share what you are seeing. love, love that shot of the girls singing and clapping. happy for what you bore witness to, for what you are apart of, for what He is allowing you, todd, your children even to pour back into these people–Him. sounds like these people across the atlantic are blessing you sweetly, too! love.