I was introduced to Daniel about 3 weeks prior to my trip. Born Feb. 27, 2007 – 8 yrs. old. Lives with both parents in a remote area of the Great Rift Valley of Kenya.
REMOTE is right. When World Vision says they are helping vulnerable children in the hardest to reach places, they aren’t kidding. I’ve heard people describe bumpy bus rides into the field, but I never expected this. All terrain vehicles – Land Cruisers – traversing the hilliest, rockiest roads (if you can even call them that) with STEEP ups and downs, often right on the edge of cliffs. Our 2 hour treks into the field were INSANE. Our drivers – fearless.
When we got to the World Vision ADP office, we were told that when the sponsor children arrived, we’d have to identify our kids from all the others. That made most of the people in my group nervous, not feeling confident they could pick out their new friend, whose picture they’d only seen maybe once or twice before. I was all game though – I knew I would know Daniel. And I did.
There was something very distinct about Daniel’s mama. She stood tall and she wore a huge, bright beaming smile. When I went to greet her, instead of offering her hand, she opened up her arms and gave me a great big squeeze. Hugging didn’t seem to be super customary, but Egla didn’t care. She’s a teacher, and mother of 5 children – Winnie (17), Hillary (16), Mercy (15), Matthew (12) and Daniel. Her husband, Joseph is a police officer. They live in a village called Terik, where water was finally just drilled the week before. Now her 6K walk for unsafe water would be about 1K for clean.
Daniel was much more timid, with a very quiet, sweet soft voice. Egla would translate for us, or we’d just communicate through the international language of soccer and smiles, juggling the ball and counting together. I couldn’t keep up with him. It was hot, he was fast and could go as long as the ball could – So I took every opportunity to sit with Egla and talk.Through our conversations, I learned that Daniel wants to be a driver when he grows up (who can blame him?). I learned that their village was about an hour away on bike… Egla and Daniel had both rode on the back of a motorcycle for 60+ minutes on those wild, rocky roads to get to our party that day.
I brought a few small gifts for Daniel – some school supplies, a ball, and a photo album with some pictures of our family. I took lots of polaroids so he could add some photos of himself and his friends. The gifts didn’t costs me much – we were advised to spend only about $15, so it wasn’t a big deal. But then Egla presented me with 2 small, beaded purses – precious gifts – one for me and one for my husband. I wasn’t expecting this at all, and it was humbling. I thought of the story from Matthew 12 – the widow’s offering – how I had given out of my surplus and Egla gave from what little she has. She gave me FAR MORE than I gave her that day.
Egla did speak pretty good English. She said “Ay” a lot, in agreement. Toward the end of our time together, I asked her what the rest of her day looked like. I wondered if she would be going home to cook dinner or if she had many chores to do, as I often do in the evening. I just wanted a peak into her day-to-day. She answered quickly with enthusiasm “I will tell my family all about you…” She wasn’t thinking about what needed to be done. She was going to share… about me.
I asked her how I could pray for her. She said 2 things – “that our needs would be met and our relationships would continue to be good.”
Egla is a model human being. She does life and love right – pure and simple.
I want to give like she gives.
I want to pray like she prays.
When people ask about my day, my life, I want it to be about people. I want it to be about others.
Many people have a sponsor child. I feel I have a whole new family; people who I long to stay connected to; friends who will no doubt be seated among the honored guests at the Great Banquet in heaven.