Today's reflection is from Kenya team member Frank Batavick
I fully expected to find a developing or third world society in Kawira and was not disappointed. On almost every level--housing, educational and employment opportunities, access to clean water, electricity, hygiene and health care, dietary variety, shops and markets--there was a stark contrast between the world we enjoy each day and the life of the average Kawiran. However, the Kawirans excelled in the facets of life that deep down really matter--a strong Christian faith, love of family, a sense of community, and concern for the betterment of society through education and improved health care. This fact taught me the universality of human existence. No matter what the environment, all humans are God’s creatures and we strive for the same things.
I can think of three special moments. One was the privilege of giving the message at the Sunday Service at Christ Ambassadors Church. I used Jesus’ parable of the barren fig tree (Luke 13: 6-9) as the core of my talk since most of the people in the village are farmers. They appeared to enjoy it.
The second special moment was when we went on a prayer walk through the village on Wednesday. As we stopped at each house or cluster of houses, we’d ask the villagers what they would like us to pray for. Answers ranged from long health for some of the senior members, to helping a little store improve its business, to asking God to bless those in the grips of alcoholism- an ongoing problem in Kawira where some villagers make their own corn whiskey.
The third special moment was when I introduced some of the older boys to American football. They laughed at the shape of the ball and when I threw it to them, they tried to parry it with their knees, as in soccer. When I showed one of the taller boys how to grip the ball on the laces and cock your throwing arm behind your ear, he threw a perfect spiral pass. I smiled and was quite impressed.
What I took away from my experience in Kawira is that regardless of the miles separating us and the difference in our socio-economic status, the Kawirans and we are very similar in our physical and psychic needs and in our hopes and dreams. Where the Kawirans can teach us a lesson is in the value they place in community. Even though they may lack Facebook and Twitter, there is a connectedness to each other in that village that we would have a hard time rivalling in our communities of mostly anonymous souls.