This week we spent our time in Kibera, which was so nice after being gone for a week. The teachers asked us why we had been gone for so long.
Monday I was in Teacher Cecilia's Baby/Nursery Class with the little kids for the morning. The kids barely speak English in this class and so they would chatter away in Swahili to me and I would try to catch a few familiar words here and there, but really had no clue what they were saying and would just smile and laugh. In the afternoon I played with the little ones who hang out in the Church in the afternoon and helped grade with the teachers. Then the students had a little competition where they were asked to complete sentences, like "As quiet as a _". The kid answered "water" and the teacher said "have you been around water? There's nothing really quiet about it!" So it was a lot of fun to hear and to guess the answers.
Tuesday I attended the Support Group Bible Study and sang songs with them and prayed. Then I went to Cecilia's class and read a couple stories, about the Prodigal Son and Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. I got to read it, ask questions, and sing songs. I sat talking with Cecilia while we waited for lunch. She told me some really encouraging things about her family and her husband becoming born again. Then she asked me "do you pity us who live in the slums?" I don't think anyone had asked me that before, so I was surprised by the blunt question. I told her it wasn't pity. I told her I thought that education was very important for the children to receive so that they might be able to support themselves and help their community. Cecilia replied that she was glad Christian education was happening and that the children could learn about God at a young age and would make Kibera a better place. She said that many of the adults are not Christian in Kibera and still hold onto old traditions and customs. I asked her what kind of customs, and she said that they don't go to doctors or take medicines, but often go to witchcraft to find healing. One of Cecilia's students had come to school with a black band on their wrist because their mother had taken them to a witch. The Child had been gradually getting more and more sick. So when the Pastor found out about the bracelete, he talked to the mother. Then he cut the bracelet off and prayed over the child who recovered from its sickness. So that was really interesting to hear as well as a great testimony of God's power. In the afternoon I spent time with a few of the teachers in the staff room. We were talking about different tribal names and I asked them what mine would be. Ann immediately answered "Mwende" and Cecilia agreed. It means something like "lovable one". Dorothy and Abigail gave me the name "Kanini", from their tribe, which means "little one". So now my new name is Joanna Wamboi Kanini Mwende.
Wednesday I helped take care of the little kids during the Women's Bible Study in the Church. Most of them cried when they saw us and their mom's left them with us. In the afternoon we had staff devotions, with Zechariah 2 as our discussion. Afterwards, we celebrated all the staff's birthday with a cake and singing.
Zech 2:5,11 "'And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst.'...And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you."