We celebrated our associate pastor Frank's, 50th birthday last Saturday.  It was quite a big deal, he had tents rented for everyone to sit under, live music, lots of good food, and we even had a church service.  He never misses an opportunity. When we arrived, the women, who had all spent the night there and had been preparing the food since early morning, were still putting it all together, cooking the last of it.  So I wandered over in the back of the house, under some palm fronds that sheltered them from the sun, and asked if I could help.  There were big pots (sofarias)  cooking with beans and potatoes, cabbage shredded and ready to cook, chapatis warming and chicken being hand roasted on little hibachis they call geekos.  

I have no idea what is in this pot, I was sent to shred carrots.  As the token mzungu, I was allowed to help with something simple.  I did appreciate it.

Sarah, Franks wife worked the entire morning cooking.  Everyone was hot, sweaty and tired.  Yet when the party started, she had bathed, dressed up and looked like someone else had done the cooking.  All I did was shred carrots, but I was sweaty, wrinkled and looked like I had been cooking.

Before we ate, the choir sang, some people talked and then the young boy's dance team performed.  The boys have been working hard to get their routines down and have done really good, but Juma, our youngest boy, stole the show.
Juma was discovered 3 years ago when we had a jigger/medical mission.  His feet and hands were almost deformed from the jiggers, he couldn't really walk, and it took hours to remove (with a razor blade) the jiggers.  Margaret Crivello and Lori Adam worked the entire time while feeding him chocolate to distract him from the pain.  Afterwards, he was taken to the nearby hospital for antibiotics.  The following year, he was checked on and was continuing to be jigger free.  Last year, when checked again, he and his brother were again, unbelievably infested with jiggers.  Lori was on that trip, and arrangements were made to treat him.  It was discouraging .  But, the good part was that he ended up, eventually, at the boy's home where he is doing great.  The picture of him (he's in orange) dancing with the team, hardly expresses the emotion that was taking place while he was dancing. Most everyone in the village knows his history.  While he was dancing, he was beaming with pride, joining with his new brothers and loving being in the limelight.  There's a custom here, when people sing or dance, of going up and giving them money.  Juma received more money than anyone.  All I could do was stand there and cry.  This little guy was destined to a life with no future but he's happy, well fed, in school and now trying very hard, to dance. If you are on Facebook, you can go to the Missions for Orphans page and watch him in the video.
 
I wish everyone who reads this could come over and experience the reward we feel when little Jumas have their lives changed, or feed the widows and see how happy they are, or build a widow a house that has a leak-proof roof on it and they can stay dry and warm.  It's the best feeling in the world.  I wish you all could could be here.
This is why we come and it's the best decision we've ever made.

Kwaheri from Kipsaina,
Mama Lani