by Talasi, DTS Student
Our matatu, a bouncy 15 passenger VW van, drove our team through the bumpy roads of the Kenyan countryside to Springs of Hope Children’s Centre in Machakos. I looked forward to our first connection with the Kenyan people and couldn’t wait to share God’s love with them.
I didn’t know what to expect at the children’s home. I knew that our team wanted our time with those children and staff to be heartfelt servanthood — even if that meant scrubbing toilets or washing windows the whole time.
As the van pulled up, we saw two dozen children playing or having breakfast on the front porch of the home. I heard the joyful shouts of the kids when they saw us and ran up to our van. Their big smiles and bright eyes greeted us as they crowded outside our door. Some of them reached out for hugs and wouldn’t let go. They were so eager to play and be held from the minute we arrived.
The older kids from Springs of Hope had already left for school, so we spent the day with twenty-seven babies and toddlers. I could just imagine how weary the daytime staff must get each day with all the laundry, dishes, and diapers to take care of. Not to mention caring for the other twenty children when they returned from school.
For the next two days, we took turns keeping the kids entertained and showing them love and attention. We helped with meal preparation and cleaning. We did laundry and washed dishes. We fed the children and changed many diapers. And we fixed their dilapidated fence and painted the office! Plus, we had another surprise up our sleeves for the staff.
As we worked alongside the staff and played with the kids, we grew to love them. We wanted to do something for the staff to show them how special they were for their daily sacrifices. Taking care of twenty-seven babies and toddlers is a big, often thankless job.
At the end of our first day, we threw the staff a party. We offered them cake, soda, and gifts — all little luxuries they wouldn’t have time or money to enjoy.
“God is so pleased with the love you show to these orphans,” we said. “And we want you to know how special you are and how important your work is.”
The next day, the girls had some “girl time” with the staff. It was fun to pamper them like sisters. It was sad to say goodbye because they had become our friends.
Mary, the director of Springs of Home, thanked us personally before we left. “We’ve recently received several big donations,” she said. “Even support from Europe and the United States, which is essential and deeply appreciated.” Her eyes shone as she spoke. “But it is so meaningful to have you here with us, to hold the babies and love them, to express God’s love for them. And thank you for relieving and encouraging our staff. Your presence is irreplaceable. There is no support or financial gift that can replace simply being here with us.”
We certainly fell in love with the children and staff at Springs of Hope. We leave for Uganda soon and look forward to all that God has for us in that nation. But a bit of our hearts will stay here in Kenya. We all hope to revisit our new friends at the children’s home when we return to Kenya in a few weeks.