Today was an awesome day in Bondeni, even though we had to say goodbye to our new friends. After presenting the uniforms yesterday, we were also privileged to present the entire soccer team with brand new soccer cleats, balls and practice uniforms. Brittany shared with the team an awesome story on how the money for the soccer cleats was provided.
Brittany met a woman named Susan recently who has a 5 year old son, Joseph. When Susan was informed that Brittany was traveling to Kenya on a mission trip, she lit up. Apparently Joseph has been saving money here and there for the past 2 years specifically for children in Africa. He had raised about $230 and gladly donated it to the children in Bondeni. Since the team would be running soccer clinics on this trip, the decision was made to use that money for new soccer cleats. With Joseph’s money, we were able to purchase 22 pairs of cleats. Jon was informed there were 30 children on the soccer team, but we only had 22 shoes purchased. We were a little discouraged this morning when the local mall’s sports store was way overpriced (3x stateside pricing). So we headed to Bondeni with only 22 pairs. Little did we know that God had a secret that we would soon find out. Magically, when the team was counted, there were exactly 22 members!! Praise God that we didn’t have to disappoint any children. The head teacher Alice and the rest of the staff were very encouraged and touched by Jospeh’s generosity. This 5 year old’s giving spirit should be a role model for many.
Then, Alice instructed all of our team to sit down out in the courtyard where almost all of the students of Bondeni were waiting. It was an amazing sight to see all their sweet little smiling faces with the sun shining down on them. They had all prepared a farewell celebration for us which we were not expecting. What a treat it was! They began by singing a few songs as a whole group, then a couple of the classes came up and presented us with poems, Bible verses and songs. We were especially impressed with the dance group who performed beautifully right in front of us. There were some wonderful singers with gorgeous voices who sang for us while they all danced. Next thing we knew, a girl pulled Dave Jamerson into the group to dance. One by one, we were each taken by the hand and joined the celebration. We were then each presented with 2 t-shirts and a scarf for the ladies and a baseball hat for the guys. I know that all of us felt extremely honored to be celebrated and thanked in such a way. A beautiful cake was brought out and Dave was asked to read what it said. The cake thanked Traders Point for the mission trip this week and welcomed us back in the future. In true Kenya tradition, we fed each other cake and then all of the children and teachers. How fun!
We bid farewell to our Bondeni family and headed to Pangani to pick up some skirts and dresses the wonderful women made for some of us. They did such a wonderful job! Then we browsed and purchased a lot of their merchandise, such as jewelry, backpacks and aprons. We gave them a lot of business! Then we proceeded to do more shopping at the Village Market where a lot of bargaining took place. I’m just glad we don’t have to go through that back home! I couldn’t handle the pressure. It was a fun experience though, and everyone seemed to find really interesting stuff to bring home.
I have enjoyed this week at Bondeni so much and truly did not want to leave the children today. Neither did Jon apparently, because once we left the school for the day and were 5 minutes away, Alice received a phone call telling her that we had forgotten Jon!! We all laughed as we turned around to pick him up. He had been playing with the kids in the courtyard and didn’t know we left. What a fun team we have! I have loved getting to know each and every one of these team members during this trip and have enjoyed my time with all of them.
God was definitely present and diligently working through us during our time at Bondeni. He is such an amazing God and has blessed us all with this wonderful opportunity to serve others. We are looking forward to going to Joska tomorrow and working with the kids who have escaped the slum of Bondeni into a whole new level of hope.