Feasting in Kenya

IMG_1094.JPGOne of the most striking things about our time in Kenya was the widespread need for basic sustenance — a need we do not experience in America. The lack of food was real and visible. In Eburru, we played with children that were literally “shrunk.” They were years too small for their age. A seven year-old looked like a four year-old, and eleven year-old seemed to be no more than seven. We quickly learned to guess an age and add three or four years.

To combat this too common problem, one of the first things Pastor Steve and his wife, Mary, did in the village of Eburru was create a feeding program for local children. We could see the difference between the children who as infants and toddlers were able to receive Mary’s vitamin-infused porridge and those who were not so blessed. In the slums of Kibera, the problems were the same. There were a few of the tell-tale distended bellies, but mostly there were simply children who were too small, too skinny.

One of the joys of our experience was to feed these children. In Eburru, we paid for (and helped cook) a feast for Pastor Steve’s church of about 100 adults and 200 children. The children sat on the ground, and we walked by with buckets of water (for washing hands), mashed chickpeas, rice, and lamb and carrot soup. The children ate, looked up with bits of rice stuck to their faces, smiled, shoved close to the pots, and asked for more. It was a true, profound delight to fill their bellies.

We were blessed to be able to do the same for a school of about 300 students in Kibera. There the children stood in an orderly line, holding plastic lids and bowls or tin cups that we filled with rice and a lamb soup. We filled their vessels dense and high with food and gave out vitamins as dessert. Some of these children only receive meat twice a year. It is serves as a serious reality-check to know that 2009 will be a feast year because they will have meat three times…

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