Over the last year as a missionary in Tharaka I have experienced many things that are different. One of the most noticeable differences is how people view children. In America, most people cherish their children. From the time our children are born we “ooh and aww” over them. We buy way too many blankets and baby toys and color coordinate their bibs with their outfits. Why? Because they are our most valuable treasure. As they grow bigger, we put them in the best pre-school we can find and we start them in sports or dance. Why? Because we want them to have every opportunity we can imagine. We sacrificially give of ourselves so our children can have the best we can give them. Why? Because we love them. It is not this way in Tharaka.
Children in Tharaka have a hard life, even from a young age. Small children go and fetch water from a well, stream, or river in large containers and carry it back to their home which may be several miles away. Older children will prepare the fire, cook meals, care for siblings, work in the farm, or herd animals. If there is enough money they will go to school, but they still have to find time to do all this work. School is very important to Tharakans, so much that even children as young as four and five will walk five miles each way to get to school. Do you remember those stories your parents or grandparents would tell you about walking five miles to school uphill (both ways) in the snow? Well in Tharaka there is no snow, but children really do walk five miles to school, shoes or no shoes, even in the pouring rain. And when it rains, it RAINS. Imagine trying to do a “Tough Mudder” as a five year old. Make life easier for a child today – Click HERE.
Many children in Tharaka are orphaned or abandoned and don’t have someone to love them. They may stay with a relative or neighbor, but are treated more like servants. Typically these children are not cared for, they don’t go to school, they’re dirty, sickly, and hungry. When the children came to Jesus his disciples tried to chase them away, but Jesus said let them come. He loved them. As Christians we are called to love children. They may not be ours biologically, but they are ours spiritually.
When the children come to Each1Feed1 they are given a safe place to stay, a warm bed, three meals a day, medical care, school, and most importantly the love of Jesus.
Would you walk 5 miles in their shoes?
Missionary to Tharaka, Kenya
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14