15 December 2011


I shared several weeks ago about the privelege I had to go and be with a group of widows around the village Mattaw is located. People have told us about them for a long time and they had invited me several times, always wanting to go but it just never worked. I've always had a heart for older ladies. I was very close to both of my grandmothers. In high school I loved going up to the nursing home to paint toe nails and play bingo. Just like kids are pretty similar no matter the culture, sweet grandma's are too. But this group is pretty unique. They're all widows and considered a burden to those around them. They all are coming from broken families with much poverty, sickness and hurt. There's no option to put them in a nursing home. Many end up dying alone. Many are out casted. Women are looked down upon but even more if they aren't married. But these group of ladies came together on their own and have a strong bond. I was intrigued that they are all from several different denominations. That just doesn't happen. They try and meet once a week, each time rotating locations between their mud huts.
I was able to go at just the right time. One of our teachers at Mattaw, Dorcas, knows them and was raised by many of them. She said her mom is usually part of the group but was sick the day I went. So off we went in my little green vehicle. Thankfully it's four wheel drive! I've had this vehicle since the time I lived alone in another village (5 years ago). (I call that time in my life: BB (before Bud)) It has gotten me places you wouldn't imagine. We've made our own roads through maize fields. Dorcas was my navigator. We went through the woods, down a dirt road, around several corners, down many more red dirt roads, through mud puddles, used the 4x4 a few times, down more roads, through a field, turned down a smaller less traveled road, then drove down what was a walking path but we made it a road to where we came upon the woman's mud hut. They were all already there and as soon as we arrived they ran out with joy to greet us with hugs and how are you's. I was welcomed in and to my surprise made the guest of honor. It was a tiny room but kept with care. It was obvious Lydia did what she could with what she had. I learned a lot that day. We arrived about 3:30 and I took off my watch. Bud had the kids at home and as far as I was concerned, I was on Kenyan time. To me it seems the further into the bush you go, the slower time gets. I love it. We did introductions and they taught me some of their tribal language. We had a good laugh. Then they were thrilled to sing to me some of their songs in their language. I about lost it. I probably don't know the half of what they've experienced but the little I know, I know that if it were me I just might not be singing as joyfully. They asked me to share, which was a bit intimidating. What could I, a young mom from a culture of plenty, share with these women who have endured SO much and have so much life experience? It was only Jesus that could bring a word of encouragement. I was willing and God was faithful. At the end they shared chai. It's very traditional to share chai with visitors. I had to drink about three cups and was so bloated by the end of it! It's a sign of respect to drink what you're given. But as I sat there I watch them do this system called a merry go round. Once a month they all put in a little money and give to someone different in the group each time. The sun was setting and children began to sneak up to the door to peek in and say hi to the white person. The whole thing was just a blessing. One of the biggest things I felt I could share and encourage is for them to keep doing what they could with what they had, our God is our provider, trust in no one else. That though it might look like small, they have an abundance with Jesus and each other. I shared how much distraction there is in America. It seems like the land of plenty which enhances your life but really all that stuff often covers the hurt and discontentment with life. Where they live you learn to appreciate the simple life and have more time for family and friends.

This time with them reminded me of the time I used to have when I lived in a remote village the first year and a half I was in Kenya. It was before kids and not that I liked it better than now, it was a season. Once I started having children I wanted to focus more on our home life and I've been very content in this season. Now that they aren't so much babies anymore, I feel I can devote a little bit more time reaching out in the village.

It's so great being back in Texas. We need this time. But I'm looking forward to going back and sitting in a mud hut and sharing chai with these precious ladies.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:26,27


NeNe said...

Absolutely lovely.

Sarah said...

I love exactly how you put all your observations about "time" differences between America and Kenya! That was one of the more impacting experiences I had in Kenya, but I haven't quite figured out how to describe it. It's so hard to take the slower pace of life in Kenya, and bring it back to America - it didn't take long to get back into the habits of cutting conversations short, rushing through life, and being so focused on my "to-dos" that I miss God's "ta-das!"

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