On the plane back to the UK on Monday we all wrote a short reflection on our time working with RUSH in Kakamega. It was an overwhelming experience and difficult to put into a few words.
I’m on my flight back home but already thinking about the possibility of a future visit to kenya. My trip with rush has given me access to the heart of kenya’s people and the opportunity to live and work alongside the incredible people thst make rush tick.
The faith, compassion and welcome of the people we encountered was immense. There was a tremendous sense of family and it was clear that Lucy and Andrew have opened their arms up to so many they are known as mama and papa toto – mama and papa of all. Their generosity of heart, home and time is limitless. I’ve learnt about the true meaning of a heart of compassion, ultimate faith in God and have a new understanding of family.
I hope to be able to continue to have a part to play with rush. Without a doubt, i will be giving up many a prayer to the superb people involved.
Going to RUSH was the best thing I’ve ever done. Going out there can be hard (to experience the amount of poverty) however the amount of strength out there is overwhelming. People are so strong and true to God. It makes you really think about your life and how you take things for granted and how you push God aside when you feel angry; but that is what is so overwhelming out in Kenya and RUSH. People have lost all their loved ones or are dying but they are thanking the Lord for another day. It makes you really put your life in perspective.
The great thing about coming was seeing the children. It was definitely a picture! Everything in Kenya humbles you and you can think about your life and how you can change to serve God better.
Thinking back on the last 10 days, currently at an altitude of 34,000 feet. What a lot we have done, seen and witnessed. I cannot begin to explain about the poverty that exists accross the whole of Kenya. Driving from Nairobi to Kakamega via Nakuro, we witnessed lack of housing, lack of fresh water supplies, lack of sanitation, communities living in dirt and dust and hungry children just yards from the airport gates. The poverty then continued throughout our time in Kenya.
One of my highlights was a visit to Josephine on Tuesday to discuss having a new house built and paid for by RUSH. On saturday, we returned to assist with the house building. The uprights and roof had been completed on Friday. The horizontal timbers and mud were the tasks for today. I started by joining the fundi (paid workers) with nailing the horizontal timbers (branches). While this was being done the women (RUSH and local) had been collecting water from a not so local pond. The mud made by trampling with bare feet. We then joined in with the mud walls, mud passed along a line of workers and placed between the timbers to create the walls.
Josephine has 2 severely disabled daughters and 5grandchildren (we think), most of which will be living in her new mud hut that has been built for her. Josephine was most grateful for our help and support and thanked us by cooking one of her chickens for lunch.
So much has happened during the last 10 days, it has been an emotional roller-coaster, very difficult to put into words. I have many memories of Kenya and RUSH and already looking forward to visiting again.
2850 miles to destination: distance from departuer 1413 miles – that is what the in-flight sky map is telling me as we leave behind us a week in Western Kenya filled with laughter and and sometimes tears, joy, sombre talk and reflection, with our brothers and sisters in and around Kakamega. It is a dusty and dirty place peopled by graceful, proud, courteous and generous population. Everyone, EVERYONE there is in need. Only the very few are rich and privileged - and they are very rich! RUSH is doing good and vital work. I was especially pleased with the work for the widows – this visit for a recently widowed lady who, by tradition, has to leave her husband’s home and it will then be demolished and the roof claimed by the son – she would be homeless. But not this widow – RUSH has built her a new and better home, right next to the marriage home and no-one can take it from her and the children will she still cares for! RUSH lives out the bible – looking after the widows and the orphans – and much more! RUSH is growing in Kenya – thanks be to God!
This trip to Kenya with RUSH has taught me that even when you have no money to your name as long as you have your loved ones around you that’s all you really need. Listening to Lucy tell her story about not really having a family when she was young and because of that she now cares for all the children that she can. It was so lovely to hear all the members of her household refer to her as ‘mama’. The highlight for me was working at the school, painting the classrooms and playing with the children. Seeing how much they enjoy learning and going to school makes me feel very grateful for the life I’ve been blessed with.
I can’t believe how poor everyone is in Kenya. Joan and I visited people in mud huts & houses made completely of tin with no floor covering, running water or electricity and everyone emerges from these places absolutely impeccably clean and smart. Everyone I visited with Joan was full of hope and committed to God, and the faith they had in Him. But the most prominent experience for me was the meeting of RUSH women. They are mostly suffering from HIV/Aids but the worship was amazing and all the women began worshipping in tongues..A group of the women danced in our honour and invited us all to dance with them. At the end of the meeting several women came to tell me their names and asked for my church to pray for them, it was so humbling.
I’m coming from a different angle…I can now sing the Tenison school hymn Tenaciter at full pelt to enable those like poor Becky who wished to use our echoing ‘en suite’………was able to watch man of God Willie do a Maggie impression head butting the kabanda at the Golf hotel…….watched others coming to terms with African time.. that is ‘I will pick you at 6′ which became 7 then 8 !!….hey ho…..Ian doing an impression of a man sleeping under a mosquito net on his bed late afternoon…..Cecile enjoying the countryside on the way back from church….well apparently….her eyes were shut all the time……Rose coming to terms with the 2 inches of cold water in the basin on the floor and learning to tread the previous days undies in the dirty water after………don’t forget the mosi spray after dark….. the hand gell……and the clever use of a shower with wet wipes !!!!!!!!!….a new Springfield custom…….never seen before in Kakamega…Gabi and Cecile coping with a limited diet…..and Angie the mummy caring for all, who only spotted the mouse once…
All so much fun….love coming out with Springfield !!!!
Seriously, a super group all with a contribution to offer and all making a difference…..some awful sights and knowledge to take in but remaining balanced and on top of it all…So much fun enjoyed by all. Kenya was great xxxxxx
This was my second time at RUSH and was equally challenging and inspiring. It humbles you to see all that RUSH is doing and how Lucy and Andrew are juggling so much and so many demands. For me, it is often the “little things” that impacted me most. The family arriving at the gate late one evening who are taken in for the night and given food and a place to sleep for the night. It’s the number of children that they take in personally and help with at the school (even though there is always a struggle to pay the bills).
The team was a great one to be with and it was lovely to see how different areas impacted different people on the trip. The ups and downs of the trip were part of the growing process for us all!
The worship at Butare (without instruments!!), the huge faith of people, building a house for Josephine, Renson receiving a torch from Becky, interacting with the children. All these and more will stay with me.
I know that a number of the team already are looking how they might be able to go again – a testimony to the impact of RUSH on people’s lives.