Wednesday, September 29, 2010


on Monday, Crystal and i made the tough journey to the village of Tharaka to meet Erick! Erick is an awesome 8 year old boy that some awesome kids in Charlotte, North Carolina sponsor!

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.
but he definitely opened up way more as the day went on.

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.
he took us to his school and then even brought us into his classroom and introduced us to his classmates. he even showed us his desk. he was SO PROUD and excited.
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.
Then Erick's family had an actual house that they slept in - mud walls and 2 tin sheets for a roof.
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!

after the family gifts we showered some gifts on Erick. = a Spiderman backpack for school (or whatever he wants to use it for), a big bag of candy (smarties, pixie sticks, suckers, etc... which he passed around to everyone), a game of Jacks, coloring books, a big box of crayons, lots of stickers that Crystal picked out for him, a whole bottle of bubbles & we blew some together!
+ 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...


Dan Burrell said...

I'm thoroughly enjoying your trip, Patrick -- in a vicarious sort of way. Thanks for keeping us updated. I've been waiting for the post on your experience with Erik. :-D Be careful and I can relate to getting carsick in Kenya. It's one of the multiple countries where I've puked. LOL.

-hkw- said...

I'm so glad to be able to follow all this real-time (almost). Your blog really shows how important the sponsorship is for the child and the entire family.

patrick mitchell said...

dan - thx for the comment man. i hope it's vicarious enough for u. :) maybe i'll post some videos that will help a little more.
i don't think either of us have puked yet and i hope it stays that way!

hkw - thx for following real time man. not quite as "real time" as when we were living it together about a week ago, eh? :) said...

Yeahhhhhh so exciting to read about your visit with erick. Seems like the most fantAstic day!!! Was the bible in his language?

patrick mitchell said...

no, they actually didn't have any in his language. the compassion staff said English would actually be better as it will help him learn English for school. 2 birds with 1 stone.