Monday, May 23, 2016

Kenya May 2016: Say it like it is

Say it like it is. Why do we go and why do we care? I’ve been asking these questions for several years now, and the answers are becoming more evident. The answers are simple: we go because we are told and we care because we care. Not bad answers are they. No need for explanations, for arguments, for neither a display of defensive maneuvers nor a liturgy of words. Just say it like it is. So I’ll do that.


We leave for Kenya in a few days, 27 of us from the US, meeting up with our 11 Kenyan partners, 9 of whom are our healthcare workers who we trained several years ago. We’ll be traveling to Kajiado for the first part of our medical ministry, and then a small group will travel to the northern part of the country, bush country, in Turkana. We’ll see those who come to us and give what we have, leaving behind the most important aspect of human caring: genuine kindness.


There is always the question as to whether genuine kindness is good enough. Shouldn’t we be giving medicines, ensuring continued good health, hygiene, clean drinking water and all things related to a better and healthier life? Of course. And it should be sustainable. But the reality is, all of that is hard to come by, no matter our best intentions. Some of it may flourish, but some may not. So what can we guarantee will be sustainable? For me it is the time we spend with those who come to us, giving them our undivided attention, recognizing them as persons, smiling, holding their hand, listening and yes, hearing their story, being intentional, accountable and giving them the dignity of being who they are without judging or question. Simply, being present when present.


That is what we will be doing. It’s not hard. It just takes commitment and a willingness to give unconditionally. Say it like it is: it’s not what we bring but what we leave behind.

In all things give thanks,