“Ayieng Maber”—I am Full
I have been traveling to Kenya, usually twice a year for the past nine years—but this trip felt so much different. It is always wonderfully rich, full of good and bad experiences and many lessons worth learning. However, as I reflect on the past month what comes to mind is “ayieng maber” which is Luo for “I am full” or “I am satisfied”. Luo is the tribal language that they speak in Sirembe and I find when I am there long enough I begin to describe my feelings in a way that would make sense there.
Now you would hear that most often after someone has finished eating, but it is used for other things. In this particular instance what I mean to say is that my heart feels full to the brim. Full of love, full of joy, full of hope, full of peace, full of faith, full of gratitude—Ayieng maber.
Something has shifted in me and I was able to see and feel things so much clearer. For the past month love has just flowed so freely from me to others and others to me. It was so clear to me just how much love these children have for each other and how we have created a real family at our Children’s Home (more on this in a later blog). It is not that all of this was not there before, but this time I was really present, tuned in and I felt more deeply connected to everyone.
Everywhere I went people were congratulating me on my marriage. In fact, the Sirembe Secondary School put together a huge surprise celebration for me to say thank you for what Restore Humanity has done and to congratulate me on getting married. The speeches that people gave were genuine and full of so much love. Teachers, the Principal, School Board members and even the Chief talked about how they first met me or heard about the work we were doing. There were gifts, music, dancing, and of course delicious food. It was beautiful and totally overwhelming at first, but then I just felt humbled and so grateful.
Most days I spent my mornings doing yoga, reading, journaling, and doing administrative stuff for our projects. The afternoons I spent down at our children’s home with the kiddos. We watched movies, colored, read stories, played football and laughed for hours making “slo-mo” videos on my phone. In the evening I would head up to Mathe’s house (Mrs. Opot, my partner, mentor, and Kenyan mother) bathe out of my basin and have dinner with Mathe and my best friend in Kenya—Nyarkisumu (aka Christine). We would eat, “beat stories” (as they say in Kenya, it just means telling stories), and usually dance to some Kenyan songs on the radio. Each day was a gift and full of so much joy.
In addition to all of this we got to help pay school fees for 44 local children, go shopping for 3 of our kiddos that are starting High School and we admitted two new amazing little girls to our home—we now have 19 kiddos! I also visited the Maternity Ward that we helped build last year to find that nearly 100 healthy babies have been born since we opened. There has not been one death! How amazing is that? As they say in Sirembe—“Nyasaye Ber”—God is good. I look forward to sharing all of the stories from this amazing trip with you. Stay tuned…