Nairobi, Kenya • July 13th, 2015
Today we drove to the Mathare Child Development Center where a local Kenyan named Jane showed us around the school and church. She was incredibly inspirational, helping almost 1,500 kids each day. It all started in 1999 when 12 boys who had been rooting through garbage for food came to help Jane clean up the church that her and her husband were starting. Jane and her husband fed the boys bread and tea. Each week, more and more children would come to help clean the church, so Jane and her husband started a feeding program with help from local sponsors and American donors.
They kept building and expanding and now they have a primary school with multiple classrooms and a kitchen in addition to a secondary school and clinic at another location. Preschoolers crowded around us during their tea break and chanted “mazungu” while they laughed and waved. We left the school and headed into the slums, escorted by Jane, Joshua, David, and a few older teenage boys who grew up in the slums. All these boys were so smart, gracious, and kind, despite having been raised in deplorable conditions. I fought back tears in the slums as we walked among trash, human waste, and still, dirty water. Kids ran around barefoot. Baby clothes hanging to dry among the houses were heartbreaking to see because they made me think about a child being raised in such an awful place.
However, the kids were still so unbelievable happy, giggling and smiling as they began to follow our group through the tiny spaces between sheet metal homes.
Jane shared with us that many of the girls in her school had been raped in the slums simply because the spaces in between the homes were so small that if a man came to rape you, you couldn’t even turn around to get away. Jane knew everyone, and they were all happy to see her and so clearly grateful for the work she is doing for their community. She went to the house of a paralyzed woman to pray for her specifically. The house was a few pieces of sheet metal propped above a dirt floor with a single mattress on it.
Seeing such largescale poverty is often disheartening, but then you meet people like Jane or Alice who are helping in such huge ways and it is inspiring.