25 March 2019 – Kids and No Conclusions

It is harder to keep up on blogs now that I am staying in Bombo. On Sunday after a very long, hot day at church and visiting with the kids at the Life Homes, cooking dinner was a four-hour affair. This is when I would normally compose a blog after eating a supper prepared for me. Everything takes more time here, from the way potatoes are peeled to the process of washing dishes, my usual thirty minutes to cook a meal seems laughable. It was especially exhausting after the highlight of my day, visiting the Life Home kids. I arrived to lots of hugs and jumping up and down. Many of these kids I have come to know over the years, and it is one of my greatest joys to watch them learn and grow while they are loved by people who love God.

We played games requiring no equipment. My favorite was one where you lined up with boys and girls facing each other and “went to battle.” The boys began by singing a song and marching toward a center line, arms around each other to make a solid wall of dirty knees and sweaty faces. Us girls then sang a song in reply as we marched sweaty arms around each other toward the boys. Then, each side puts up one person to “battle,” trying to pull the other over the line onto their side. It was hilarious to see the energy and seriousness with which they loudly proclaimed these songs. We won the first round and chanted, “WE ARE THE WINNER,” while the boys covered their faces in lament.

After games they danced for me. A few boys used buckets as drums and the girls sang while they danced. Then I was invited to dance with them which I’m sure was quite a sight because these kids have moves and I do not. I loved watching their dance circle continued as they called one another to the center. I could say these kids have so much joy despite life’s hardships, but it is an inaccurate conclusion. I am privileged to come in for a few hours and play. There is so much unseen. BPC does an excellent job supporting these kids with deep involvement of counselors and leaders who love these kids like their own. I don’t see the struggles at school, the difficulty relating with others, or how trauma impacts their daily lives. It is sobering to learn more about people’s lives here.

But this is also the point of why I’m here. As I am in relationship with others, I learn and deepen my understanding of their reality. No matter what length of time I might stay here, I will never fully understand all the pieces that shape their approach to life. For example, when I take bucket baths, I use a cup to pour water and they use their hands. As one man said, “We have been doing it our whole lives, but you have not, so use the cup.” While this is a trivial example, daily things like this are so deeply formative and I could never replicate the effect in my own life.

I can sit and talk with my friends here about American politics and the gap between income and cost of living in California, but then when explaining the importance of drinking water, it requires an extensive explanation. This is of no fault on them, this is a product of living to survive one day at a time. The number of things to worry about and tend to appear insurmountable, no wonder drinking enough water is forgotten. 

I don’t know what the conclusion of all this is or if there ever will be one. I do know God is good and at the end of the day He will have the final word. In whatever way I can, I hope  and pray I will have cultivated some light, the light of Christ, in whatever I have done here and whatever I will do.

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