Although perhaps the most remote and desolate place many of the Kenya THP team had ever visited, they were thankful for the opportunity to bring help, hope, and healing to the wonderful Samburu people. The families suffer greatly through a tremendous drought. Families have been forced to leave their homes to take their animals in search of water and food. Many families are separated: some members off with the animals and some staying with the children in their “mañatas” or villages. Although living in such challenging conditions, we were met with smiles, a handshake, and the friendly greeting of “sopa” or hello.
A couple of days after arriving, we helped unload two trucks loaded with beans, corn, rice, and cooking fat. We sorted and prepared the food for distribution. The next morning, mamas arrived with their sacks, and some with donkeys to help carry the food. The Samburu elders of executed the responsibility of dividing out the food among the people. The organization and calmness of the food distribution amazed us. Noone pushed or shoved or argued. In fact, just the opposite occurred. Many helped others. When a group showed up unexpectedly, the people shared what they had so everyone benefitted from this massive food distribution. All in all, approximately 600 families received food sufficient to feed their families for a month. How gratifying and humbling to be part of this project.
The team assembled and installed two sets of soccer goals in two areas of the region. Digging through the hard, dry ground and working in the scorching sun was well worth it when the children came out to see what we were doing. Pumping up a soccer ball and tossing it to them brought ear-to-ear smiles. Around 50 children took off running across that hot soccer field, each one taking his turn at kicking the ball. Previously, only a couple of wobbly posts served as goals. Something as small as a soccer goal brought joy and happiness and energy and hope to children accustomed to surviving with very little.
We were also blessed to offer some medical assistance. Team member Cameron helped Amanda treat the dozens of patients who drop by her front porch for help. Though that wasn’t our primary focus, it was an extra blessing to aid in bringing healing to these delightful people.
Our team helped finish the small, one-room house constructed for Victoria, the Simmons intern who will arrive in a couple weeks. We installed the windows and doors and did what we could to make it snake proof.
Finally, teammate Randy, a pilot, laid out a landing strip for small aircraft. We located it across the road from the Simmons home. Once this airstrip is cleared and ready, aircraft can fly in supplies and people from the capital city. A trip that now requires 9-10 hours across difficult terrain will only take a couple of hours flying time. This will be a tremendous asset to those working among this isolated and nomadic people group.
The Samburu THP team returned to the States with thankful hearts for all they saw accomplished during their time in Kenya. Thank you to the many people whose contributions made this trip possible and to the five guys who made up the team.