I thought rather than ME telling you what happened I would let Nashawn tell you a little bit about his everyday life in the slums. Hope you enjoy :)
We go to school and are very lucky. sometimes we don’t go to school because mommy has us go to the city to beg for money. Mommy doesnt go because she cant walk like i couldnt walk. she is nice but not when she drinks changaa. i do not like changaa. it makes people angry. sometimes when we go to the city we get lost. last time we didnt get any money and it was night time so mommy would be angry and we got lost. we got very scared because the people were fighting. and mercy got sick. i think the chicken she found was not very good. i feel bad because i had the bread. Christopher is my brother that is 6 and he cried all night. he wanted to find the school because the school is safe. I remember a man picked us up and looked in our pockets. i told him that we didnt have any. when i grow up i am going to be a pilot and i will move to america and make money to get my family out of Mathare.
money is hard to make here because there are no jobs. every 3 months we have to pay for school. it is hard. on 1 january we had to pay for school but we didnt have any shillings so they said we couldnt come back until we paid. that night mercy went missing and mommy was very worried. me and my brother jesse went looking but couldnt find her. the next day she came home with the money and we went to school! i asked her how she got the money and she cried. she crys a lot because of the money. mommy calls her a slut but i dont know what that means. i am going to learn the drum so i can make more money. i remember i saw a person playing the drum and he made lots of money. but you have to ride the matatu down town. i have never rided it but i will when i learn. the end.
Unfortunately Nashawn and his family are fictional characters, but inspired by very real living conditions in Mathare and Kibera. During our short stay in Mathare the 3 of us stumbled upon a field with hundreds of school children playing and singing, so we walked into the school building to ask the principal if we could play with the children. There the principal told us stories of the children living in Mathare, which is what inspired Tender Foot. While listening to her speak about these childrens living conditions my heart melted. I am not sure what I struggled with more, the fact that these little children wander the slums by themselves, often times getting lost, or that they find their way out to the city as young as 6 years old to beg for money, or GIRLS, little girls, not even teenagers, selling their bodies just so they can eat and go to school, or Single moms living in 10' x 10' tin shacks with holes in the roof, 6 kids and no father, or the majority of adults being drunk on Changaa (literally meaning 'kill me quick' which is a homemade liquor that is often made with battery acid or jet fuel to give it more kick, which often times gives drinkers blindness or death due to methanol poisoning), or the fact that sewage was less than a foot away from the doors of homes, or the stacks upon stacks of rotting garbage. OR if what I was struggling with was the fact that I have complained about how much money I make back home, or complained about still living with mom and dad, or have complained about eating spaghetti.. again. At that moment I wanted to slap myself in the face for being so ungrateful for what I have and taking so much for granted.
To our surprise the principal ended up letting us teach grade 8 which consisted of roughly 100 13-15 year old kids for TWO HOURS!!
After a short time to gather our thoughts we entered the classroom with a wonderful greeting by all of the children standing up and reciting a friendly welcoming phrase, then they quickly sat down in complete silence, every one of them giving us their complete attention. I had never seen a classroom of 30, much less 100 kids be so polite and attentive. We began with a game of charades, and then taught them heads up 7 up :) Jared, Nashawn (lol I liked his name so much I decided to use it for Tender Foot) and I then each took about 15 minutes to tell them stories about what Jesus has done in our lives. I started off by having them all keep a beat clapping their hands while I did a short drum solo on their desks. Within seconds every one of them were drumming on their desks and dancing in their seats. Smiles and laughter flooded the room. I continued on to tell them my testimony and how I found relationship with Jesus through playing the drums at the church. And how before I knew Jesus I thought God and prayer was very boring. I could barely contain my excitement speaking to that class. Something changed in my heart at that moment. I felt so passionate about the hope and safety these kids could find in Jesus. The lives that could be changed and the miracles that could happen through desperate people desperately in need of a touch from God. I too want to be Desperate for God.
After our dust storm settled from another short stomp and clap session we opened the class up for questions. I was expecting them to blurt out questions if anyone even had any and we would answer them as we went. But instead they silently raised their hands and handed us their written questions. lol. It was such a blessing answering these children's questions about God and America and government (they love Obama because he is from Kenya). In 5 minutes we probably had 50 questions we were sorting through answering the ones we felt most important.
These children are so hungry for Jesus, and so open and raw about their faith. It was truly inspiring, it was such an incredible opportunity to share with them. We are going to the school again this friday so I am sure I will be coming back with many more stories as well as many more pictures.
I was planning on talking about the giraffes and orphanage, or the guitar lessons I have been giving Bernard and Jesse, and even the greenhouse more in this blog, but it just doesn't seem to compare. So I guess this is the end.