Those of you who have visited our Panua experience might remember Samuel’s house. The 10×10 hut shared by Samuel and his 7 siblings is a depiction of where Samuel was living when we learned his story in 2013. When we visited Samuel today, we saw that he is now living in a 2 room row house, still with all his siblings and but in much better conditions. While the conditions are not still up to the standards that we are accustomed to, he is doing great and is appreciative of all the assistance that Panua has offered him.
He has steady work operating a water-delivery donkey cart, which provides well for the family. We were with him as he harnessed his 3 donkeys to the cart – and we learned that donkeys actually recognize their owners, and that’s why, out of the many, many donkeys we’ve seen on the side of the road, each donkey stays with its proper owner. With Florence acting as our interpreter,Samuel let us know that he feels so much love & support from all of Children’s Ministry.
While we were in the neighborhood, we picked up Benson and took him to see his prayer partner, Jennifer, who was with the rest of the team in a planning meeting. What a great time they had getting to know each other better – and Benson and Spencer (Jennifer’s daughter) enjoyed the trampoline! A real treat for them both!
After a quick trip to the grocery store, we drove out to Hell’s Gate National Park. This is the park which inspired the setting for The Lion King. We were able to meet up with Abraham, a 2016 Panua Graduate, who isworking as a guide at the park. Our first stop inside the gate was to eat lunch, and after a brief warning from Abraham to watch out for the sometimes aggressive monkeys, we looked up to find a monkey coming into the safari top of the truck! Before we knew what was happening, that little rascal had stolen popcorn and Sammy’s entire peanut butter & jelly sandwich! There were a few moments of utter chaos inside the Land Cruiser before Sammy got the roof shut and the critter out. Can’t say we weren’t warned!
Abraham took us into the park and got us through our 8km hike safely, down into the gorge and back out, educating us along the way of all the park happenings and history. It was beautiful scenery – another good reminder of God’s hand in the creation of this beautiful setting.
Our trip back to town included a stop in Karagita to see Lucy, who is supported by Student Ministries! Her English is limited, but with Florence translating, she expressed her thanks to the group and was grateful to receive a huge stack of letters from students. Students, be sure to attend Elevate where you will have a short video message from Lucy!
Our blogs of this week would not be complete without mentioning Sammy, our driver, who was definitely part of our team and went above and beyond, shuttling us to neighborhoods near and far. Spencer remarked that “he felt like a dad on this trip – he protected us, taught us stuff, showed us around and just took care of us.” He did all that and more. We thank you, Sammy!
We feel blessed to have participated in such an informative, educational, relational, awesome trip! We wrapped up our week with a team dinner at the hotel restaurant, where Paul, Patrick, Florence and Ephantus, from the Kenya Office, were able to join us. It was a nice way to cap off a wonderful week!