Saturday, February 23, 2008

Kenya, up close

I met this guy, Jack, when I was in the slums of Nairobi, and interviewed him telling me his story of growing up in the garbage. Parentless,he lived, literally, in the city dump. Then, some people from a local Assemblies of God church began to help him with clothes, shoes, food and a place to live. My church is building a dorm outside the garbage area for the kids there, and my project was to help church members see the life there and the need for the dorm.

Here is Jack singing in Swahili, accompanied by scenes from his neighborhood.

And this is part of an update I just received from Kenya:

Jack has a precious baby and young wife. He was barely able to get them out of their shanty in the slums when
the opposition attacked his home setting it on fire. He lost everything. He tried to put the fire out but they stoned him so he had to flee for his life. Though his home was a one tiny room mud floor tin roof, no water, no toilet dwelling but it was a mansion compared to the 13 years that he had lived in the city dump . . . He said "I lost my dishes, spoons and everything that I own."

They can't go back because this trouble could erupt at any moment. When he fled with his family his friend Moses also fled with him. Moses is from a different tribe. Those that were taking Jack wanted to kill Moses. Jack, thinking quick to save his brother [in Christ], said, "We must not kill this man for he can represent us to this other tribe and may come in handy as a go between. They agreed and Moses lived."

Though the media may be cooling on this Kenya crisis, the tribe-on-tribe violence remains terrible. Our friends are there, and Marigold, despite her recently erupted tumors, has just joined them. They are going to the worst areas and handing out food. Sometimes it is the first food people have had in WEEKS.


Laura said...

I don't even know how to comment on these atrocities but I want you to know that I am here, I am reading and I am praying.

Anonymous said...

its shocking how kofi annan watched rwanda and bosnia burn while he still continues to be silent as kikuyus are killed . William ruto the chief organizer of violence continues to seat at peace talks while his people burn down churches and kill innocent people

Rachel said...

Hi Heidi,
I found your blog from your emails about Jennifer's new baby girl. I keep coming back to read -- you have a fascinating, thought-provoking, great blog. I was brought to tears after watching the documentary "The Dying Rooms"...thank you for sharing these things.
You seem like you have a great family. I hope we can meet someday, since we've only spoken on the phone. May God pour out his blessings on you guys.
-Rachel Prickett

Heidi Mehltretter said...

Thank you, Rachel,
I can't wait to meet you and Keith as well!

Heidi Wilson said...

It is great to hear the individual stories behind what we see and hear in the news. It becomes personal. Thanks for posting this.

atomicblonde said...

i interviewed a 19-year-old girl yesterday who had raised money for the Save Darfur Organization. she said this: "It's ridiculous, I think, that people aren't treating this like the Holocaust."

it IS ridiculous. we walk through the Holocaust Museums and 'mm' and 'ahh' over all the atrocities that went on 70 years ago, but it's happening again - right now. what do we do?