School bags and Soccer balls…

During a visit last month to Calvary Community School (The Ruai school recently changed it’s name) one student named Virginia came to us with a very humble request.  As we were loading the van she  cautiously approached us and asked, “Mr. James, next time you come can you bring bags? Some of us are not able to take our books home at night because we do not have bags.”  I repeated, “So you think everyone needs bags, huh?”  At this point an extremely expedient boy named George saw an opportunity and he quickly seized it.  He rapidly intercepted my question to Virginia and said, “Balls!  She said balls!  We need you to bring us footballs!”  This led into a friendly but heated shouting match between the students (mainly boys versus girls) as their voices turned into a chorus of “Balls” and “Bags.”  We promised all of them we would do what we could.  I am happy to say that this past week we were able to take all of the students at the school a new school bag (which were purchased from Jacaranda Creations….a nonprofit sewing project in the community) as well as a new soccer ball for the school.  We had purchased 2 soccer balls but we were relieved of one on our journey to the school.  The drive to Ruai takes us through some sketchy areas and on more than one occasion we have had some unfortunate experiences (see past post).  This trip proved to be no different.  As we were coming through Dandora, a Nairobi slum, we came to a place in the road that had washed out.  This caused traffic to back up as everyone fought for their turn to cross.  A few street kids that were hitching a ride on the dump truck beside us used this lull in movement to scope out our van.  Seeing the goods we were delivering in the back, they quickly jumped down and found a way into the back window and made off with one of the balls.  The back windows on the vans do not latch, so with the right speed and approach, they can be easily opened (which is also the reason that I have had to physically remove people from inside the van in the past).  Thievery is very common in Nairobi (often called “Nai-robbery”) so this type of thing is very common and we have just accepted it as part of the duty, but this is the first time we have been stolen from without first seeing it coming and stopping it.  Luckily, they only got one ball.  From that point on we kept our eyes on the thieves, Iniray and David (our good friends that were visiting) guarded the supplies in the back, and I made various threats each time I saw one of them approaching until we passed through.  All in all we were fortunate to only lose one ball, since it is something that we can easily replace on our next visit.  The hassles we occasionally encounter on these trips are well worth it when we arrive and see the joy on the students faces.  In addition to the monthly food donation, the students were delighted to receive a school bag each and the soccer ball.  We also provided each of the 5 teachers (who practically volunteer their time to the school only receiving small compensation) with a hand bag from Jacaranda with a small financial contribution inside, and the cook (who completely volunteers her time) with an apron and financial gift.  We consider ourselves blessed and very lucky to be able to serve this school in this way and we were excited that our great friends and regular supporters, David and Iniray Luper, were able to accompany us. 

As always, we would not be able to partner with such projects and ministries if it were not for those of you that make financial contributions to our ministry account.  Thanks for your support, love, and prayers!

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