During our December break, we made a point to visit some of our Kenyan friends homes: people whom we interact with nearly everyday inside the gates of RVA and very often at our own house. We want to be intentional about getting out into the community and continuing to build relationships with our Kenyan brothers and sisters. But we didn’t quite get to everyone on our list in December.
My friend Elizabeth visits me every other Wednesday, bringing me tortillas and (sometimes) cinnamon buns. Very often she will make my kids small tortillas just for them, and they know and they come running to greet her on Wednesday afternoons.
She likes to laugh at my Kiswahili and now that we have become friends, I laugh at her English. We were able to visit with her as a family last week in her home.
As you can tell from the photos, Elizabeth’s house is under construction. Her family is undertaking this project for her. In the end, she will have a safer, more reliable structure built from concrete blocks. The work is underway and is weeks from completion.
First built 30+ years ago, the structure is made entirely from wood slats.
One layer of wood siding serves as both the outside and inside wall. Newspaper and vinyl line the inside of the wall, but large gaps in the wood can allow things like cold drafts, bugs and critters to get in. Living alone, she wants to be sure she feels safe in her own home.
It was time for something to be done.
Two rooms are completed, though they are housing her things. Construction forces Elizabeth to shuffle her belongings around as the work progresses. She doesn’t seem phased by the upheaval of her contents: “But you know, God is very good. He is providing. He always provides.”
It doesn’t take long for news of the mzungu visitors to make their rounds and the children gather to say “how are you?” with their sing-songy English. They are never short on grins for the camera either. Our three happily play with them in the yard while we visit inside.
As we go outside to get water for making chai, Dan notices the hose to her water tank is leaking and a small service project is born.
Then we all have chai together. My kids are getting quite used to being served tea when we visit neighbors.
As we wrap up our time together, she releases us to go and we are thankful yet again for this community in which we live. We are thankful for Elizabeth’s faith in the Lord and her relationship with our family.
We are thankful that here are RVA, we not only minister to missionary kids and their families, but also to our Kenyan neighbors - And they to us.