Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Vision of the Four Elements, Part 2 - Air

Fisherman, Lake Victoria
Air fills our lungs for breath and speech and song.

It forms Earth's protective atmosphere. It distributes water and energy usefully around the planet. It is the medium of weather.
Black-headed weaver bird
Air provides the carbon and oxygen that plants substantiate into all organic life.

It supports flight and sound, yet allows the passage of light.
Boarding the plane at Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi
We took to the air to reach Kisumu, Kenya's third-largest city. A one-hour taxi ride from there brought us to the Kakamega Orphan Care Center.

There's almost always a volleyball game going on. Players come in and out. They keep score. The kids return the ball deftly with hands, feet and head.

They're very good with their feet.

We  joined in for some get-acquainted sport. The "Trippers" - mostly New England adolescents who signed up for the three-week summer camp - had arrived the day before.

Pastor Nelson Ida
Care Center Director Ida frames his chores and messages to the children with gifts of oratory, calling for right action with the right person at the right time.

Godfrey and the kitchen staff
Plenty of good food sustains the children.

Sheila and kids
Besides their tangible needs the community fosters a life of the spirit. It's in the air. It guides every initiative and relationship. It permeates challenges and celebrations alike. It is the air.

As the 18th century American Quaker John Woolman urged on himself when embarking on thorny ministries, at the Kakamega Care Center "love is the first motion."
Some of the Trippers have returned many times to Kakamega.

Rachel Williamson reunited
Some had a new immersion.

Kay Ray's arts & crafts productions on a dining table...
...and drying on a hedge
Budding scientists Zeke and Owen turned chemistry experiments into drama. Being home-schooled in Newtown, Connecticut, they obviously enjoyed group activities.
"Okay, everybody, here's what's supposed to happen."

1. Put some powdered pool chlorinator into an empty Coke bottle.
2. Add a little Coke.
3. Watch it fizz. (Chemical reaction of chlorine + sugar.)

OMG, a geyser.
The scientists determined that the natural sugar used in Kenyan Coca Cola is more hyperactive than the synthetic sugar used in American Coke.

They got everybody involved with their sudsy laboratory. It's in the air.

One day we walked to town to take the kids for a treat. Each one has an American sponsor who sent along a little extra money for the occasion. The kids had to make their purchases within a fixed budget, a tough exercise around the world involving limits, priorities, and arithmetic.

At the bookstore
They each selected at least one educational book. They understand about hope and hard work.

Then we went out for a treat.

The big occasion was a visit to a local pool club.
The Kenyan camp counselors reminisced about their own days of fun. Many of them had grown up in the Care Center. Some now were at the university or had families themselves.
Beatrice, Kelvin, Tony, Meshach

Doris (center) and others
Augustan with his sponsors, Mitch Newlin and the Rays
One special morning Augustan came for a visit. He is a third-year student at a nearby boarding high school, aspiring to nursing training. Kenya has a very competitive system of higher education. We were delighted to meet this warm young man at last.

Like the air, we can only see each other's spirits through what our spirits can move. By themselves they are invisible but capable of filling our sails and sustaining flight. We know them by what they do.