we are just blessed enough to be the representatives of those Upstreet kids to Erick and do our best to convey their love and friendship to him. later will be the difficult task of trying to share this amazing experience with all of them!
We got to spend the whole day with Erick in his village and even at his home.
1st we visited the Compassion project office for that village. They took us through a very detailed and organized file on Erick. it was very very impressive. we learned that his family's total income is about 1000 kshs per month... that's about $14 a month. less than $0.50 a day. wow. so, the $38 per month that the Upstreet kids send to sponsor Erick is HUGE!!!
the visit wasn't exactly what we expected because Erick didn't speak much English or even Swahili so we had to use a translator for most things.
he was pretty shy at first too. that's not surprising at all because Crystal and i were the 1st MZUNGUs he's ever seen! (white peeps) i'm sure he might have even been a little scared at first.
we played on the playground at the CDP (child development project). me & Erick rode the merry-go-round together.
we visited and hung out at his home for a long time. they were honored by our visit and made a big deal of it. they served us Ooji (sp?) which was NASTY! i managed to down the whole cup though. i don't even want to describe what it tastes like.
Erick has a new baby brother! & 4 total kids in the family, and his grandmother lives with them. both his parents were very nice and so grateful to all the kids who sponsor Erick. they must have told us "thank you" like 20 times.
the grandmother found out Crystal was a nurse and asked Crystal if she could pull some of her teeth that have gone bad. didn't expect that one.
we got to visit the church Erick goes to = AIC Karou (African Inland Church). Erick's pastor hung out with us most of the day too. he was a really nice guy. he's been the pastor for 3 years at the church in this village. we all had lunch at the church together.
we learned from some of Erick's letters that he likes to play the drums at church. i saw the drums sitting there and asked him to play for us. he laid down some sick beats for us and i got it on video. he was excited to play for us.
we met his principal and talked with her. because of our visit Erick got to skip school. i know the Upstreet kids will like that.
most Kenyan "homes" are on a "compound" where a big family probably lives. there are usually at least 2-3 "buildings on the compound + some type of "shamba" (farm). There's usually a "kitchen" as a separate building - just mud walls and a fire in the middle where they cook their food. Erick's home had one of these.
we hung out in a half-built house. the sticks were up and the tin roof & next the father will build the mud walls. he said he is building this for the boys to sleep in because currently 7 of them sleep in the 1 house which is about 10x10. not a lot of room if you like to move in your sleep.
*We found out that they're able to build this extra home probably because Erick has been sponsored these past few years. That saves the family a lot of money on school fees, clothes, medical care for Erick, etc...
We were able to bless the whole family with a ton of practical gifts! i don't even remember them all but 1 of Crystal's spiritual gifts is definitely GIVING, so she went shopping and HOOKED THE FAMILY UP! = bed sheets, towels, hand towels, knives and spoons, cooking utensils, cooking fat (very popular), tons of rice and maize, biscuits (like cookies that Erick shared with everyone), cooking flour, and tons of other stuff.
the Upstreet kids wrote a LOT of letters to Erick and we gave him the big stack. he was so excited. Then we gave him a big framed picture of the whole Upstreet group (+ 2 smaller copies). He LOVED this!
+ we hooked him up with a Ridge Church t-shirt and a Camp Upstreet t-shirt.
we prayed for him and his family at their home before we left. we also got to give Erick his 1st every Bible! that's pretty awesome.
i'm sure i'll have a lot more thoughts later. getting a little car sick writing this while riding on these Kenyan roads though...