Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Hey! My name is Ashleigh! Hillary asked me to write for this blog a little while ago and although I was unsure of what to say I wanted to. She gave me the idea to write about my trip to Africa! As the weeks went on I tried to think of something to say because honestly words do not describe anything I saw or felt on this trip. This week I have been thinking about this blog and what I should say a lot. I feel like maybe this is not something worth writing about, but then again maybe it is important for others to hear. Even though I cannot explain the significance this trip had on me and others I will try my hardest! :)

Today I'm going to try and explain Day 1 of my trip to Kandaira, Kenya in Africa. The first three days on this trip I kept a journal, so much of this stuff is coming from it!

-As we were driving to Kandaria (about an hour drive) from Sunset Hotel in Kisimu, Kenya I was shocked to see the naked children standing on piles of trash picking things out and putting them in thier mouths and baskets. Although I have heard of this before it was shocking to actually witness it. Its so hard to explain the feeling of actually SEEING it with my own eyes. I've heard it so many times you know like "People in Africa don't have food" or "they are starving." I have even listened to Jeff Foxworthy describe him experience on a mission trip to Africa and listened to him tell me about the trash kids are scrummaging through for food, but it never really clicked. I thought I knew what he was talking about or atleast understood what it meant, but I didn't not until I saw the children, the toddlers, the teenagers that are my age, that should be in school just like me EATING trash! Its so hard to think that your money could be so empty and gone that you have to resort to eating someone else waste. Its does happen. I saw it happening and thier was nothing I could do, nothing at all but try to prevent it happening to other children. The roads NO rules. It is hectic, busy, and crazy compared to our systematic laws. Its funny how perfectly this demonstrates how life in Kenya is. Just like the way they love, crazy love, its nothing like American love. It was so easy for them to love me even though I was different then them in many ways they accepted me and only thought about how my heart could help pray with them to the god we both loved and beleived in. They thought of me as thier sister, daughter, wierd as that sounds the children really did think of anyone who had the appearence and love for them as mothers do as thier mothers and treated you like it too. When we got to the community we were immediatley greeted by Pastor Jack, Pastor David (Jacks brother), and Pastor Paul. The first stop we made was to Akado Primary School. It is so smll compared to our huge buildings, even the schools we consider tiny are huge compared to these. Mud/ cement buidling with hoels n the walls for windows and dirt floors. We walked into the principal's "office" (Lillian). She told us how this school is number 1 for testing!! This school has 281 students with 9 teachers! Thats almost 32 kids per one teacher! Next year they are expecting 400 students with only 9 teachers that almost 45 kids per teacher!! Thats insane!Next we went to Sigoti Primary School. We were introduced to a couple of young, girl students. They sand a good worship song and were so shy. I walked with thier principal (Joseph) to explore thier school. It is still small but bigger than Akado. 280 kids with 10 teachers and they are also expecting around 400 students next year. Both schools are xpecting so many students next year because of the program BrighPoint for Children. It will be providing free lunch for every student, so most of the children will onyl be coming to school because thier parents cannot afford food so that is where they will be getting it from. Most kids either go days without food or come to school and get a lunch everyday. This program is what I use to sponsor Mercy Atieno, who attends Sigoti Primary School. Next we went to the water tank! It was a very long walk with many rock and mostly uphill. The young children would run up withough falling. Ha! We walked back down for the community meeting after being shown the water tank that was started with the group that went last year. It is cool how the babies to elders are all involved in this meeting. We were given our Luo-Kenya names, mine is Akinyi because I was born in the morning. After the name ceremony we ad small groups. I joined the youth with three other poeple from the group. At first I wanted so bad to join in with the children, but ended up with the youth because it was short on members from our group. We discussed verses in Joshua, Mark, and Matthew. It was really cool how the Bible Study was more student led that adult led. The youth pastor hardly got a word in because the youth was so involved. You hardly see that much involvment in today's youth group or bible study. It was so refreshing. If they were catorgized in a U.S. highschool they would most likely be said to be a future preacher. I met a girl named Julia, she was my first friend. :) She is very! outgoing and talkative. We walked back to the meeting and a member of every group gave a description of what went on in each group. A little girl sang "You Are My All In All." It was beautiful to see how appreciated everyone was of her song and how they don't care AT ALL how to sound as long as you sing. And the poeple there are not afraid to stand up and randomly sing a song they just don't care if poeple think they are "good" or not. THE DANCE!! It was awesome! Many youth boys showed us the traditional dance with drums, whistles, harmonicas, and costumes. Randomly an elder woman stood and chanted, then she started dancing. Quickly many more followed they grabbed us and then the men came to dance too. Men and women stayed seperated while dancing. We all loved it!! This lasted for about ten minutes. after we started walking down to the bus, everyone followed. All the chidlren loved taking "photos" and as you walked they would grab at your empty hand to fill it with thier love. Every member of the team had about 5 children sourrounding them. It was hard to say goodbye.

So that the end of Day 1 in the community! I know it skips thoughts easily, but I wanted it to be straight form the journal with a few exceptions because I felt the strongest and it was the freshest when I was writing it.

I know this is super long!! BUT I have another thought on my mind... over the weekend I was at a youth conference where a boy named Migel stood and talked about his life. He was a child that had absolutely no Hope and no God in his life. He was sponsored through Compassion International where his life was forever changed. Not only because he was given the oppurtunity to have an education, food, and clothing, but mainly because the letters that he waited for every month shared love and God with him. He told us how if he didn't get those letters or wasn't sponsored he would have never known Christ. He was told he was nothing and would never be anything, but ow he workd in Chicago as a missionary rescueing youth and children jsut as he had been rescued fifteen years before. It amazes me how something we do or say can change a life and a way of thinking. Just today I was sitting having luch with a friend of mine, Libby. We were talknig about God and jst stuff that was on our heart about our relationship with Him and churches today. Loosing track of time, many of the poeple had left the restaunt. We weren't paying attention to anyone else at all. We were talking, not even loud, to each other. When we were aobut to leave a man came up and told us how refreshing it was to here youth talking about God. I thought yeah its great, but then left it at that. Later I rememberd the situation again and talked to Libby about it and realized that we might have changed his perspective about youth. We might have influenced him to talk more about God, to tlak to his family about God and what He is doing in the lives of youth. Its hard to realize that EVERYTHING you do and say influences somebody whether in a good way or in a bad way. Even small things like talking to a friend could influence someone and could even hcange thier mind about God. It made me realize jsut how powerful my actions are. That maybe someone in that restaunt wsn't a Christ Follower and hearing us, changed his mind a tiny bit about God. So my point is that every action and word can be used for God's Glory and to remember that poeple do pay attention to you so not only remember to surround yourself with Godly things, but also you can use small things like eating with a friend to influence someone and change someones life! Every moment can be used to glorify God. :) thats it for my long message! Thanks for listening.

-Until all know Him,

Ashleigh Akinyi :)

1 comment:

MsHilariosity said...

Thanks soo much for writing some of your experiences! To see through your eyes what it was like to see the starving children and the suffering is heart wrenching. Yet, it is obvious that - despite physical neediness - they are full of love and compassion for everyone around them. This must have been an INCREDIBLE experience, and I hope you will write some more soon! :)

In Christ Always,