(You really need to read these posts in order, so if you have not done so, scroll down and work your way up chronologically)
As I mentioned in the previous post, there were still some children who had not gotten some school items. Specifically, we had come up short of tablets. There were other items as well, and we wanted to buy a treat for the children.
One day, one of the boys approached me and after shaking my hand and telling me his name, he told me, “We would like a ball that we could kick.”
I later asked Joel about this. “Don’t the children have a ball?” I could not imagine a group of school children without even one ball.
“No, they have no ball. They had one, but it became worn out.”
As a matter of fact, there is very little for play items that I could see for this group of about 30 kids—and I think that I have seen everything. Most of the kids are orphans, and there are also a few other children associated with the church. It seemed incredible to me that in this group of kids whose ages range from about 3 to 13 or so, not to have any play things. Not even a ball that they can kick!
There are two places where the staff has set up swings, but they only use nylon ropes about a half an inch in diameter, and the ropes are quickly worn by rubbing against the wooden crossbar.
So, what I had in mind was to buy the kids a soccer ball, and some chain that could replace the nylon chords on the swings.
Going to the store with Pastors Joel and Vincent was a good experience for me. We went to a large department store sort of place in Kisii town and I watched them as they bought with great care the items that we needed. We all picked out the football. I actually was surprised at the price of the best one. It was the equivalent of more than fifty dollars US. But we found a very good one for about $25.
We found the tablets, and Joel picked up a jug of a kind of orange flavored drink. The jug was about two gallons at the most, and I questioned him if it would be enough. It was to be not only for the children, but for all who would be in the church service.
“We will dilute it so that there will be enough for each one,” he told me.
We also went to the candy isle. They wanted to buy a treat for the children. The two pastors looked at the number of pieces in each bag and talked with one another, wondering if they should get one or two bags. I was to pay for the items.
“Should we buy one or two bags?” Joel asked me.
They were not paying, and I told them that they know what they need and they should get what they need. But I did not try to convince them to buy more.
“If you think you should get two—get two,” I answered.
The two men talked some more and ended up putting one of the bags back.
“We will get cookies also. So it will be enough,” Joel told me. The bag of candy that they had put back on the shelf cost about $1.95 US.
We stayed a long time in the cookie isle, looking at the boxes to see how many cookies each contained and comparing the prices. We ended up buying two boxes at about three dollars per box. Each box contained sixty small packages of a vanilla cookie. It would be enough for 120 people to have treat. I tasted them and they were quite good.
When we returned to the church, we had a bit of a program and I had a sermon, but I tried to cut it short. The kids knew we brought treats. They could see the bag in the front of the church.
After the service, Vincent called for the helpers to bring in two pails of “clean water” to mix with the drink that we had brought, and he and some others began to pass out the cookie packages. All the children were so excited. Then, to the great cheers of the kids, he produced the football. It will be well-used.
Joel wanted me to take a photo of all the kids with their cookie packages, which they all held up in the air for the picture. Later, Vincent asked if I would take a picture of the four older girls who had received the notebooks.
When I went to take their picture, the girls were lined up showing what they had received. The notebooks were there, but in their other hand, each of these girls was holding a package of sanitary napkins. Unknown to me, the pastors had also purchased these when we were in the store. The young women were smiling and so happy to receive these.
It is to this I was referring at the end of the previous post when I said there was something that illustrated the level of need that these children live with. For these young women, now at the age of puberty, what is a treat for them is to receive a package of an item so personal as this.
This morning it was raining, so I was not able to go up to the church at the regular time. The road to the church is uphill most of the way, and it is a packed dirt road. It is ok when it is dry, but when it becomes wet, the mud that forms becomes very greasy.
But since we left Kisii town late, it gave me the opportunity to go to the market and get the chains for the swings. They will be installed soon.