Photo by Tony Cece

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tuesday 7/24

Hello Bloggers! I must apologize for the delay of this blog. As with any trip, challenges occur in all forms. On Tuesday  we had an amazing day and just as I had finished waxing eloquently on and on about the adventures of our mission...poof! A big spark and the computer crashed. Much time and energy was spent trying to recover the words I had already written , to no avail. So, as I sit here and write this blog I have been contemplating exactly what the Lord would have you, our supporters know. 

I am awestruck by the amazing way in which the Lord used our team Tuesday. With some trepidation as to what the day would bring in light of the heavily weighted emotionality of the previous day; (Monday) our team once again split into four teams,  prayerfully released the grip of our own plans and expectations and adopted the plans of the Lord as we headed to our four separate destinations.
Aided by two interpreters, Team #1 headed to an Internally Displaced Person's Camp (IDP) where they continued to minister to those suffering from extreme poverty, hunger, sickness and rampant sexual abuse. In huts built from bamboo and most not bigger than a king sized mattress, the team split into two groups and met with many families in hopes to better understand their plight and pray with them. Together the teams met with approximately fifteen families delivering about 7-8 hours of intensive therapy. Story upon story of rampant sexual abuse, incest and trauma were uncovered. One man, clearly suffering from Post Traumatic Stress described  how his home was burned to the ground and neighbor murdered before him.  In another case, a young wife and mother painstakingly described to us the horror of watching her own four year be savagely raped and how she herself had been raped. She went on to describe the constant fear she experiences as she sees her rapist everyday. The end of the day was bittersweet as we met with a husband and wife who had been married for forty years! They described in great detail the difficulties and challenges of married life in the camp and expressed joy at having each other to depend on during these last 15 years of deprivation at the most extreme level. This couple's story was even more amazing as we learned that their daughter had passed away 6 years ago after the birth of her daughter; leaving this elderly couple to raise their granddaughter beginning at just one month old. All of these people lack the basic needs for survival. FOOD. WATER. CLOTHING. SHELTER.
Team #2 set out into the community surrounding IAA (Into Abba's Arms) for the first time. There they spoke with several farmers, mostly women as the men were all working hard in the fields or trying to sell their meager earnings. Many of the women were widowed and were learning to farm the fields on their own all the while caring for children and often; grandchildren. In spite of their hardships we found that these people were so extremely grateful for all that they do have. The struggles faced by these women include, isolation, desperation and domestic violence.  
Team #3 headed to St. Christopher's, a local Catholic High School to talk with teachers, administrators, and students about Self Esteem. The team presented  to approximately 150 students and the team reported a cross cultural experience as teens discussed their struggles with self esteem and learning to negotiate the influx of emotions that accompany adolescence. The discussions with the children yielded reports of long term domestic violence and sexual trauma. Several children reported being repeatedly beaten to the point of having welts and verbalized great fear at the possibility of returning home on break. During the second half of the day the team presented on Post Traumatic Stress, the effects of trauma and how trauma effects children in the classroom. In addition the team presented methods to identify these children and overcome the detrimental effects of said trauma.The team was able to discuss the similarities and differences between Kenyan schools and American schools and found that problems with self esteem, domestic violence and trauma most assuredly cross cultural bounds. The information given was so well received that the Head School Counselor requested that the team return next year for a week long seminar to exchange successes and further ways identify and assist students suffering from trauma. The information was new to them, yet they were eager to receive and clearly saw ways to apply the methodologies being taught by the team. 
So as I close this blog, for the second time, I take note of the frustrations I felt as the power strip blew and I was left without my computer...the frustration I felt compares little to the daily "basic needs" struggle the people here face moment by moment. One of the leaders of our trip always says, "Its not enough to just be flexible, you have to be fluid, because when you are fluid, you bend and move." Our team is learning to be fluid, bending and moving with the daily challenges of being on "Kenya time," power outages, and new experiences...praising the Lord all the way!

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