Following a long, challenging, and spirit-filled day at Mother Teresa and Kivuli, the next day took us to two other Koinonia projects for street children. Following suit with William, Humphry, and Essau, the Annita House (a home for 40 street-girls located in rural Kenya outside of Nairobi) introduced me to Gracia and Esther. For the sake of time, I will stick with describing Esther. Both girls were great (Gracia loved it when I spun her around by her arms or held her upside down over my shoulder) my encounter with Esther was one of grace and mercy. First for mercy - not getting what I deserved.
During our time at Annita House we got to help make Chipotie ( a type of bread looking like a thin tortilla soft-shell), tour their facilities, and just play. Some of the play activities included jump rope, football (soccer), playing with beach balls we blew up, dancing, and swinging. One particular time I was pushing two girls on the swings - Esther and another girl. The other girl being quite an experienced swinger, Esther was not as coordinated (at the time I was unsure why). In pushing them, I pushed Esther to0 high and she fell, hitting her back and head fairly hard on the ground. Though trying to be a comfort myself, it too 10 minutes of Dorothy (one of the girls in our group) holding her before she calmed down. The hardest thing other than her crying was the sad and quite stares of the other girls (just 4 out of the 40) around when it happened. And to make the situation worse, I found out later that this 8 year old girl Esther was mostly blind and very limited in her seeing abilities. (This became very clear after finding out while watching her play and interact with us and the other girls). Deserving to not be allowed to play with the girls anymore, the only punishment I got was guilt and a tough (but loving) response from Dorothy. Even one of the staff from Shalom house, in talking with him later, told me that for the girls falling off the swing was like falling off a bike - it is part of the learning process. Though not agreeing with him fully, even he did not give me the shame and punishment I deserved.
But while the mercy was undeserved, the grace - receiving what I didn't deserve - was even better. Looking for a way to make up with Esther, I decided to be her beach ball partner after we helped blow them up for the girls. This was an amazing experience while I watched her catch it on faith that I would throw it to her arms and watch her retrieve the ball based off the sound of where it hit the ground. Needless to say I think she liked me after all and I grew to love who God created her to be, and appreciate the grace of getting to continue to play and interact with her and the other girls - even after my foolish mistake.
Outside of these games I got to make a fool out of myself dancing (if you have seen me dance you understand), climb two trees (one a thorny tree) to retrieve balls that were stuck, plant flowers with the group, see the youngest girl (3 and a half) pee on the dirt while planting flowers (she did not have diapers), and eat some wonderful food the girls had made. All in all it was a great experience and I hope we can go back before the trip is over.