(Scroll down for parts 1-5)
In my first post concerning this trip to Ethiopia, I mentioned that there was more than one issue that had come up that complicated my simple desire to go and see Levi. Another one of these was that our schedule for the trip was upset even before I got on the plane – weeks before.
The plan of Levi and me was to schedule my time in Ethiopia to fall either before or after a week-long training that Levi was to have in Addis Ababa. Levi is about half-way through his service, so this was to be his mid-term conference. Once Peace Corps set the dates for their conference, I bought my plane ticket so I would arrive on the weekend that the conference would have been over. Sounded great!
However, just as I had waited for Peace Corps to set their dates, I guess they must have been waiting for Levi and I to set our dates, because once I had bought the tickets, Peace Corps rescheduled the conference. It would now begin the day I arrive. It is because of this I have stayed in Addis Ababa so long. I am waiting for his week-long conference to be over.
Nevertheless, when I was presented with the need from the church in Kenya, I thought that perhaps this week could be an opportunity for me to go there and to see what the need might be. I have already written of this situation in earlier posts. (I think I especially talk about this in parts two and three of this Ethiopia series of posts).
It is now Wednesday evening as I write this, and I have not yet heard from the people in Kenya if it is advisable for me to go. I am now thinking that even if I were to hear today and able to leave first thing tomorrow morning, it would be too late in my time here to make the trip. The way that I figure it, it is a five-day trip at the minimum, and for Levi and I to even get to his place of work and have any amount of time there, we cannot now spare even one day. Please pray about that Kenya thing.
This whole situation has caused me to consider it in terms of my own personal history. In thinking about it, it occurred to me that I have had this same type of financial need situation presented to me in a steady stream for the past forty-five years from five different continents, or I suppose you could say, five parts of the world.
In four of these areas, I have lived and worked. In this fifth one, Africa, I have never before lived or worked, or even have ever visited. However, thanks to the internet coupled with my near obsessions to write, I also now have began to develop a relationship with someone here.
In the past, most of the needs that have been presented to me, I am sure were legitimate. However, I know for a fact that some of them were not. Whether legitimate or deceptive, the easy thing to do would be to put them all into the same pile and then into the rubbish bin. It would be easy if I simply did not care. I could quickly and painlessly dismiss them all.
But the problem is, I do care. I want to help if I can.
Maybe you are accustomed to getting many requests for money in your mail box, either the box at the end of your driveway or in your email inbox. “Junk mail," you may call it. There is even a little icon of a trash can on your computer screen that you can click to send the email into cyberspace ether never to be seen by anyone again except perhaps the NSA.
Mail in the mailbox – you can throw away without evening opening it. “Junk mail.”
People – you cannot dismiss so easily. There are no “junk people.”
The appeals that come to me are usually from people that I have long known. This one from Kenya is different in nature. This appeal that came from Kenya is the first from someone whom I did not before know and had never met. It came about because of this very web page. However, even with this one, my gut tells me that it is legitimate.
Perhaps you can see that every time I have to deal with this, I honestly consider if it is indeed a good cause and if there is something that I can do. With each one, a small toll is taken from me. I told Vivian before I left, that I have grown weary. I am tired. Forty-five years of having these appeals from people I know have worn me out.
I said to her that I am tired of being somebody. I just want to stay on my little farm and be nobody.
I am not some sort of wealthy philanthropist who has millions to give to people and causes. The thought is laughable! I have worked most of my life as a missionary where we had to watch our funds very closely. Now I am a retiree, and it seems like I have to watch them even more closely.
So what will I do about Kenya? I do not yet know, but I have an idea.