small, small miracles
Let me preface this story: The latest statistics estimate 250,000 – 300,000 street children in Nairobi, Kenya. I know approximately 15 of them — the 15 or so who stay at Riverside.
A couple weeks ago, I visited Koinonia Kenya. Koinonia is a lay Catholic organization in Kenya. By chance, I found their website on the interwebs, and was really excited about the work that they are doing with street children. They’ve been working with street kids here for more than 20 years, and they know what they’re doing. When I visited, I explained that I felt God had called me to Nairobi to do work with the street children, and I wanted to volunteer with Koinonia, and learn from them, if it was possible. The community met together and decided that they would be happy to let me walk alongside them.
So, today, I met up with a someone there, and was dropped off at one of their rescue centers in Kibera. I instantly felt at home there. Narnia was playing on the television, and everyone was cooking lunch together. I had a meal of cabbage and rice with a Koinonia social worker (Jack), a couple of students from Italy, and a few boys from the streets. After lunch we washed dishes together (one of my very favorite things) and Jack and I went for a walk around Kibera.
As we were walking, he began to explain to me the process of building relationships, rescuing children from the streets, and eventually reconciling them with their families (you can read in detail here.) He told me about some of the children they work with, and some of the lessons they have learned.
I shared with Jack a little about my own journey, the story I did in 2009, and how I felt God calling me back to the boys at Riverside. As I began to explain where they stay, Jack stopped.
“Wait. Do the boys stay by some matatu mechanics?”
“Do they sleep next to the river?”
“Did you try to buy them lunch last week?”
“At Kamau’s place?”
“Did they order meat?”
So there you go.
Those very same-same boys. Things began to fall beautifully into place. After my sorry attempt to buy them lunch last week, some of the boys had gone complaining the next day to Jack, telling him that their sister (Kristine-Eunice-Muzungu from China/India) had tried to buy them food but that some of them had ordered meat when I tried to tell them not to. He had no idea who they were talking about.
Also, the boys had tried to tell me about a friend of theirs, a sponsor, last week, whose numer they insisted I should have. Between my lack of understanding in Kiswahili, and their proficient use of sheng slang, I had no idea what they were talking about. But, as I typed Jack’s number into my phone this afternoon, I realized I already had it.
As Jack and I boarded the matatu back to Shalom House (the Koinonia headquarters), we laughed about what a miracle it was, and about the perfect and strange ways that God orders things. So, another day, another ebenezer that I can look back on with joy, and remember that God is, in fact, faithful and good and kind and concerned. And that I am not at all walking alone here.
In the words of Jack, “Mama mia!”