Story #6

Mar 25, 2011, 10:43 AM |

6.In the Makapa Valley outside Nairobi, Kenya, thousands of homeless families live in a vast shantytown that begins to assault eyes, ears, and nose from high atop the surrounding ridge. The ankle-deep mud, open sewers, and hungry, hollow-eyed children overwhelmed me within minutes. Sensing my discomfort, my guide, an Ethiopian friend, said to me, “You see only the despair. Come and see the hope.” Down an alleyway and around a corner, we came to an open courtyard about ten yards square, surrounded on all four sides by lean-tos. Two of them were for sleeping, one was for cooking, and one was a classroom. Small children filled the courtyard. A dozen old women sat on benches along the outer edges. “What do you see now?” my friend asked. What struck me the most were the smiles and energy; only a few paces away, we had been surrounded by despair and listlessness. “What makes the difference?” I asked. “Love,” he replied. “These children are the outcasts—orphans with no one to care for them. And these old women thought they had nothing to live for until they began to look after the children. The orphans had no hope until they were touched by such love. Look around you. The shacks here are no better than those elsewhere, the ground is no cleaner, the food no more plentiful. The only difference is God’s love reaching out through human hands.” Abba, Help me to use my hands to show Your love’s power over every sort of evil and despair.