On Kenya, Uhuru and My Own Freedom Child
A line of random digits appeared across my Caller ID. I’m always suspicious of that kind of thing, I’m amazed that Apple hasn’t figured out how to conquer phone spam yet.
Chris started identifying himself by his name about a year before he was diagnosed. Sounded more professional than ‘Hello’, he thought. Frankly, I thought it was just a more intimidating way to answer the phone, and I liked it.
“Hi Mom!” There was a slight pause, “It’s Faith! I’m using E-’s phone! He can get reception in Kenya and I can’t!”
Good Heavens! The Luddite in me is still astonished that communication can take place halfway around the world through this slim little metal box in my hand. One of my babies was calling my phone, maintaining that family connection that has grown as slender as a spider silk, these days.
Those of you who have been with me for a while know that Faith and Christopher were rear-ended by a careless driver coming home from my mother’s funeral, January, 2012. (For details, the essay here is “The Surprising Adventures of Single Motherhood”) Faith broke her wrist, and Christopher sustained a minor concussion.
The other driver was fine. As “Death By Infuriated Mother” is not acceptable punishment for such carelessness, I had to settle for a personal injury attorney. He netted all accident-related bills paid for, of course, and a small cash settlement for both children.
For Faith, this settlement proved to be pivotal in her growth. We had long talks about what ‘pain and suffering’ actually mean in an award like this, and it was a great opportunity for self-awareness.
How would this cash help alleviate the ‘pain and suffering’ brought on by this accident? What would a bigger bank balance actually do for the pain of suffering an injury on the day of her beloved grandmother’s internment?
Well, it’s a matter of the heart, really. Faith’s heart, along with those of the rest of my children, had been crushed by the death of their father, a mere 18 months earlier. Then, Nana passed, another blow. What would serve to help lift Faith out of this accident-aggravated depression?
Enter Uhuru Child.
Uhuru means ‘freedom’ in Swahili, and it’s an effort by Brad Brown and his wife Annie Johnson to figure out sustainable solutions to enormous poverty problems in Kenya.
These kids are exploding with the desire to bring some sort of the life of Jesus Christ to people mired in some staggering poverty.
Faith, at 19, is on the cusp of figuring out what direction she wants her life to go. All of my children are fairly other-centered, thank God, and every one of them have some pretty interesting unselfish stories to tell.
But Faith is the one who’s inner well-being seems to depend on this type of thing. She decided that this is where she would like to spend her money. She decided this in March, and has researched, worked and learned about the goals over there for months. It was a remarkable thing to watch. This goal really has done a lot to alleviate her ‘pain and suffering’, and breathe some life into her developing adulthood.
Uhuru child has a major goal of sustainability. Western charitable projects in countries like Kenya develop an unhealthy dependence on the flow of money from their donors. When that flow dries up, so do the projects.
Uhuru child has a goal of developing jobs and schools that can maintain themselves. Click on this thing to see something you don’t see in America. This is awesome.
Faith has been working on lettuce farm for a week. With U-child’s inital startup, this is a functioning, self-sustaining business, that will be there long after the Westerners go home.
Faith will be there for another week. My child’s heart is changing, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch.
Much love to you, Visitors.
Addenda: Recently I’ve taken more care with studying faces. Here a couple for you!