This is a story from Rose who recently returned from her trip to Kenya with The 410 Bridge…
In the past few days I have been thinking about how I can share my experience and the words that I can use to give any type of reflection of what this experience has been for me; however I don’t think any words can give justice to the impact this trip has had. I don’t think you can truly understand unless you experience it for yourself. However, here is a small attempt to share just a glimpse of my experience in Africa……
I think of all the things, the people of Karima amazed me the most. They completely embraced us and made us feel so welcomed. Their hearts and spirits were amazing!! They love God and one another so much and that is so apparent. They do not rush past you, but take the time to get to know you and spend time with you. That was more important for them, than getting the task done (very different from the American way). One of my favorite moments was to experience Sunday at their church. Here these people have so little (at least what we would consider to be little), yet they worship God with all of their heart and to the point that you literally see a glow. It was Amazing! That day I also got a whole new meaning of what Sacrifice means. We think we sacrifice here because we give to others, but when do we ever give to others and actually go without? I might give to others, but I don’t go without; so this is not truly a sacrifice. That afternoon we were honored by given lunch, and there was a good chance that some actually gave up their meal to feed us; their guests.
Another favorite moment was when we were hanging out in the community and schools. The kids were so beautiful and happy. They had the biggest smiles and were so appreciative of the littlest things. I remember my last day in the community, I took a moment to step back and just look. There were over 200 Kenyans and our small group of 25 Americans just laying around spending time together. You saw some talking and laughing, playing football (yep we taught them American football), jumping rope (even the 30 year olds), and using a water jug and stick to create a drum to sing and dance; and I just remember thinking this is it! This is what it is suppose to be about, and I had such a sense of peace.
There were definitely moments where my heart broke and I had to hold back the tears, but then there were also moments that you were so caught up in getting to know them and spending time with them that you forgot they had little or nothing. In fact there were even times I thought; “Man, I know we are supposed to think they have nothing, but I think they may have more than us.” They didn’t have all the distractions that we have here in the U.S. (money, TV, video games, ect….) so they are able to keep focus on what is truly important: GOD, family, relationships, the sense of community, generosity.
The people of Karima have changed my heart forever and I hope to go back to see them again. I know this is brief, but it’s just a small glimpse of my experience.
Thanks for all the support and prayers.