Last week, I got nailed in the head. Yeah, those reality checks hurt pretty bad sometimes. My sister forwarded me a blog post written by a girl, Heather who is currently in Kenya doing the same program Haley did one year ago.
On this particular post, a name stuck out to me as I continued reading. That name-Maurice.....One year ago, when I visited the country, I had a chance to sit down and talk to Maurice for some time. I clearly remember that day we sat on the curb outside of St. Teresa school in Kabula and talked about his family, his passion for school and his dreams to become an engineer.
His father had recently died from HIV, his mother and younger sister were suffering from the disease and he, being the eldest son, was left to care for his other siblings. Being from a poor family is not uncommon in Kenya as one may expect, but Maurice touched me that day in ways that were unexplainable. Maybe it was his positive attitude despite his circumstances, maybe it was his drive and determination to succeed and learn despite so many challenges that I knew lie ahead for him. Finances, corruption, disease, family suffering. We became friends that day. We connected. He was a writer, as am I in my job. I even got to check out the magazine he helped design for the school........
As Heather wrote about going to visit Maurice's family, who lived one hour from St. Teresa's, she wrote something that stung..that struck me hard..."It was so humbling to see his village and the compound on which his family lives. They have a one room hut which is used for eating, sleeping, and living space. They hadn’t eaten for the past 3 days, yet still managed to prepare a large dinner for us of cassava ugali and fish. The leftovers were then eaten by the family. I felt awful eating their food when I knew I could easily go without and was assured of a meal this evening."
The family hadn't eaten for the past 3 days, yet were so giving. I think about my life now and I shutter to think about the many times I complained that I was "starving" or those times when I didn't get the kind of food I was craving. I also think about the hundreds people in this country who even have the nerve to complain about the food on their plates right in front of them. Seriously?
Her post hit me pretty hard. It made me humble myself to God and thank Him for the many many many blessings in my life. For me, hearing that people are hungry somewhere out in the world never had much meaning. It was something I heard on the news, felt bad about for a few minutes and then forgot about. This was different. This is someone I knew. Someone I had connected with. Someone who shared with me his life. His dreams. His passions.
It is different when I actually know someone who could be going without food tonight. But it shouldn't be like that.
When the typical reality checks hit, they usually don't leave scars. The wound heals until I'm hit again just to remember what it felt like the first time. In a weird way, I don't want this one to heal. I want this bump to remind me what I have in my life to allow me to live, but more importantly..to remind me what I have to give.
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