First off, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL OF YOU FATHERS OUT THERE and HAPPY 8TH BIRTHDAY TO MY BEAUTIFUL NIECE SAMANTHA PAIGE!! Our day actually started earlier than expected, three hours to be exact, as my wonderful father accidentally set the alarm clock for 5am instead of 8am. It sounded more like a fire alarm than anything else, hence my unsuccessful attempt to quickly get out of my mosquito net. In the pitch black he had gone over to the front door wiggling it trying to open it to see what was going on, which then put me into complete panic mode as I thought the building was on fire and now someone was trying to break in. Needless to say I was relieved when Tim explained what was actually going on haha.
When we finally woke up three hours later, it sounded as if it were raining outside, which would have been awesome news since the dam has reached low levels. Dad looked out the window but saw no rain, so he went to look out the front door (you know…because it would probably be raining on that side of the room than the other…NOT). But to his surprise he opened the door and found water flooding from the drain above. It must be raining, or so he told us, though the sounds stopped a few moments after. About five minutes later Timmy went to turn the shower on and…no water came out. After calling the front desk we realized that the rooms above us has flooded so what we heard was actually water pouring down the drainage system and they had turned it off to prevent flooding. They said it would be fixed momentarily, and it was. The shower starting working and the rain noises started up again…and so did the flooding of the lawn outside haha. When we told Dave this story all he could say was “Yup. That’s Kenya for ya.”
Next up was a breakfast to honor the best father in the world. We learned that Father’s Day was also being celebrated today in Kenya. As I reflected on how blessed I am for the incredible father God has given to me, I thought about all the times we have shared in the past 21 years. He has taught me everything from how to “ball it up” on the basketball court to how to make a difference in the lives of others. He was my hero back then and is still my hero now. As we drove to Mary Mount Catholic Church to meet the children for mass, I couldn’t help but get tears in my eyes thinking about the fact that they have never experienced this special bond. What I realized though, is they now have something so special, in thanks to people just like you who have made it possible for them to be rescued from the lives they were living.
When we arrived at the Church the children were in Sunday School so we used this time to reflect inside and save them all seats. I learned that Kenyan time is a lot like Alpha Phi time…meaning we’re pretty much always late. About twenty minutes later I heard the pitter-patter of feet running up the center aisle and before I could even turn around they had all plopped down in between us wrapping our arms around them. Another one of those times that is very difficult to put in words. Church began and one of our very special young girls, Abigail, was one of the dancers in the procession dressed in her African attire. The mass was led predominantly in Swahili with little bits of English here and there, but that did not make it any less of a beautiful mass and experience. An hour and forty minutes later the mass ended….not exactly a Father Kelly mass haha. We then met Mama Malanda who has been a huge supporter of the project and sold us the 18 passenger van that we now use to transport the kids to places that are not in walking distance. After Church, Dave and Dad drove back to the site and Timmy and I walked back with the kids where we all met up and had lunch together in the dining hall.
And then, the games were back on!! We continued with the shenanigans from yesterday and added a few to the mix. Prudence and Timmy had a contest with each other raising their eyebrows at the other to see who would laugh first. Then he made a “soup,” made of dirt, for us all to pretend we were eating…who knew that Prudence would actually start feeding it to us. Yesterday my dad played one of my Grandpa Jack’s tricks on Michael in which we grabbed his nose claiming, “I’ve got your nose!” Michael thought my dad had said, “I picked my nose,” so, in an effort to continue the tradition, he picked his nose, wiped it on my dad and said, “My nose is on your arm.” So gross…yet so funny. Dad and Timmy also taught a few of the kids how to “give me fists.”
I had loaded the pictures from yesterday on my computer so I could show them to the kids (they LOVE seeing themselves on the camera after we take a picture…like clockwork they always ask “please may I see?”).
After playing in the sun we headed inside and played with the toys in the boy’s common room. Everyone started to wind down and we needed to take care of a few things before our safari tomorrow so we said our goodbyes and headed into Nairobi.
As ecstatic as I was about the wonderful day we were already having, it was heartbreaking to see the sights I did on the way into the city. Slums lined the roads. The “houses” were one room shacks made of blankets, or whatever material these people could find, held up by wooden sticks. Little children were gathered outside, some not even old enough to walk. While we were stopped in traffic several young boys begged us to buy peanuts they had gathered and put in rolled up paper. All too often we take the smallest things for granted and these children are starving and homeless. It really makes you think about what is important and how small we are in the bigger picture. My dad’s devotional today told the story of a little girl who was playing hide and seek with her friends. After ten minutes of her hiding and no one seeking her, she found out that they had decided to stop playing without telling her. She started to cry when an old man heard her and said “You have learned a great lesson. You have learned how God feels. We were created to seek and find God but we aren’t playing the game fairly. While God waits to be found we go off and do our own thing.” We live our lives, majority of the time frivolously, and these children who really need us are suffering. God calls us to make a change in the lives of those less fortunate, and let me tell you, these people are the least fortunate.
We are now at our hotel in Nairobi and we depart for a 5 day safari in the morning. I’m not sure when I will have access to internet yet but I will keep you posted as much as I can. Enjoy this day with your fathers and remember how truly blessed we are.
For the kids,