I went to Kenya as part of the Karibuni Children work party and experienced first hand the fabulous work the charity does. One morning we were invited to visit the homes of some of the children who Karibuni supports. The word 'home' probably conjures many images for us: a place of comfort, security; a place to be fed in body, mind and spirit; a safe space that has all the basic necessities of life – food, water, plumbing as well as space to be. The homes we visited were a long way from this. They were usually one room shacks made of sheets of corrugated metal, wood or cardboard; they had no facilities and most of the room was taken up with a bed on which all the whole family slept – sometimes 6/7 people. These homes were situated on what could easily be described as a rubbish tip which doubled as the children's playground.
Later that same day we had a very different experience. We met a group of young people in their late teens and twenties: Sarah was a doctor; Doreen a trainee teacher; Humphry an economics student and so we heard the stories of nearly 20 young people who had grown up in the same slums we visited that morning but who, through Karibuni, had received a life changing education. It was an astonishing lesson in transformation.
In the Christian church we often talk about the transforming power of God and especially at this time of year as we approach Easter and retell the story of the cross and resurrection. We talk of new life coming in spiritual terms; of grace and forgiveness, and it is easy to do so when we are so materially well blessed. Yet many in our world & society long for a more tangible transformation: if you are hungry transformation comes in food; if you are homeless it is shelter; thirsty it is clean water to drink; rejected somewhere to belong; if by an accident of birth you are given no future then education can offer a transformative path. As we celebrate again the joys of Easter; as we perhaps place spring flowers on a cross and revel in new life that comes from God I wonder how as 'His Body' we can enable others to know that transformation, in real terms, is possible. This Easter may we not just raise our voices in a heartfelt 'Alleluia!' but offer our giving, our caring, our time & talents to seek to transform our communities & world, even in some small way, that others may know new life.
For the Karibuni website, click here.