A cabinet has been announced in Kenya. The country and the world had become very impatient with the leadership in Kenya as they were unable to name a cabinet and the government was in a waiting mode as many in high positions knew people would be shifted from positions once the cabinet was set. The remaining people in the IDPs (internally displaced persons camps) and those responsible for the IDPs were of course very affected by this delay. Everyone I met in Kenya says we just want peace. Let them announce the ministry positions and get to the work of running the government. The people are weary from the post-election violence.
Yesterday GOA concluded the four day Peace Football tournament in Mathare. It also meant we would leave the people we had spent four days with at the IDP. The second day in the IDP a group of older women called Pastor Maturi over to speak with him. They told him that when we came they thought we would be like so many others who had come. Come for a few hours, take pictures, test for HIV and leave. But when they heard and participated in the Praise and Worship, listened to Pastor Muturi preach and watched Pastor Karanja’s message on Forgiveness, they say that their hearts and spirits had been lifted, the bitterness from the violence was gone. The team felt very encouraged by this.
The GOA team has worked very hard for these last three days. Please pray for God to continue to strenghten them and give them energy to do their work. The work was hard as they carried equipment from the soccer field to the IDP and back again – setting up several times throughout the day at each place. People at the IDP wanted the music – and they wanted the music on the field. Today we leave early this morning for the children’s conference for the week with no rest between these two major events.
The football tournament was exciting to watch as 16 teams played for four days with the final match on Sunday. Winning events like this in the US is always important to the kids who play the games – here in Kenya it can literally change and transform a team, a boy’s life. These teams are mostly made up of very poor young people. Some are orphans, some of their parents currently are sick with AIDS, most don’t have jobs and all live in poverty in Mathare. Most of the teams don’t have uniforms, some players don’t have proper shoes and other equipment. The winner and second place teams each receive uniforms. They played with such passion to win. Even though the stakes were high they played without incident – there was no poor sportsmanship or aggression demonstrated. Nick and Charles had established a football team with Community Transformers in December. Charles has been coaching them. It was exciting Sunday morning when they won the semi-final. While they lost the final match to a very good team, they did well. The other team is coached by a professional coach and were much older so for this young team of boys coming in second was wonderful. It was great to see them receive uniforms. Njokie and I have become team moms to this team.
Remember all of this focuses on evangelism and HIV prevention. SN reached 5,000 over the four days with the message of the Lord and HIV prevention. 400 were tested and all the team captains are expected to know their status and to lead their teams to know their status and to remain safe from the virus.
One last person I want to tell you about is George who is the Kenya Red staff person responsible for this IDP. He has been with the Kenya Red Cross over a year and has been in IDPs throughout Kenya setting up sanitation and now is stationed in this IDP in Mathare. He has worked very long hours since the violence broke out. When I asked him if Kenya Red cross pays similar to the government pay, he shared with me he is a volunteer. He said many of the IDPs are managed by volunteers. Watching this young man over the course of four days challenged and inspired me to be a servant like him. He is a Christian man felt called to serve. He was gentle, loving to the children and patiently listened to the people’s concerns. One day I saw him meet in his small Kenya Red Cross tent for two hours with a committee of displaced people to discuss their concerns about food delivery.
We appreciate your prayers for the Childen’s Conference, Connie
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