Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hi all, I am posting a beautiful email that Devan and Katie sent today as they are on a 2 month mission trip in Africa. So many people have been asking about them that I wanted to share. Thank you so much for caring and praying as they serve this summer. So keep reading below for the most up to date news :-)

Hello everyone! This is Devan writing on behalf of both of us from a cyber cafe (pronounced kayf) in Nairobi. We were split up into a few different groups today and dropped off in the middle of the city on a scavenger hunt. I don't have much time to go into detail on anything because i have just half an hour to do this and most of that has been eaten up already by the slow internet.

First of all, I would just like to report that both of us and the baby are doing well. It has been difficult for the two of us to adjust to the relational dynamic of the people here in Kenya. At times it feels like we only really see each other just before we climb under our mosquito nets to go to bed.

We have really enjoyed the food, especially the chai and the chipate (i have no idea how to spell that. chipate is kind of like a panfried tortilla). It does feel like all we do is eat because between meals we have a break for chai and snacks like fruit (bananas, mangoes, pineapple) and biscuits or muffins.

Yesterday was a physically, emotionally and spiritually draining day. We spent several hours walking through the Mathare Valley Slums. I do not know how I was able to walk through that place without tears rolling down my cheeks. We had heard about what it was like there, but to truly see it for ourselves was overwhelming. The dirt paths we walked down were nearly paved in garbage and filth and we had to carefully choose our steps to avoid stepping the the streams of sewage running down the center. At times, we had no choice but to walk right through it. The thing that most upset me was watching the children walk barefoot in it as if it made no difference. As we walked across a rickety metal bridge over a river flowing in sewage (the banks made up of garbage heaps) I looked down and saw a boy that was about four years old. He had tied rags together and looped it to the bottom of the bridge to create a swing over the trash. That image will never leave me.

The people there were so incredibly beautiful, especially the children. Despite the horrendous living conditions there was an air of joy amongst the residents as we passed by their metal shacks. Everyone would stop and stare and laugh as the wazungu (swahilli for white people...often shouted as we pass) attempted to greet them in their native tongue. One woman reached out and rubbed my arm just to see if my skin felt like hers. The children would run after us excitedly waving and chanting "Howayou! Howayou!"

Unfortunately, I am out of time and must leave. I hate to leave at this point in the story but I hope we will have another opportunity to write again soon. The beauty of the slums is that there is hope for these people. That hope is us. No people should live like that. We can make a difference.

I must go, but we will continue to pray for all of you. We love you all dearly.

God Bless You,

Devan (and Katie)
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