Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I had a really cool opportunity today.  I got to meet and hang out with the child I sponsor through World Vision

I've been sponsoring Samwel for about... wow.  Three and a half years now.  Two summers ago, I was here in Nairobi but thought for some reason that he was located far outside of the city.  Turns out, as I discovered shortly after coming home in '09, that his family lives in Riruta, an area right on the edge of Nairobi.  Oops!

Anyway, this year I decided to make the effort to see him, and it turned out great.

Samwel, now age 11, is a super shy kid, but just as sweet as can be.  He and his father met me at the World Vision Riruta office.  We chatted for a while, had chai, then they took me (along with a World Vision staff member) to their home in a slum-like part of town. 

Afterwards, we went out to this restaurant that the World Vision guy thought would be good.  And it was.  Wow.  It was.

The place serves only kienyaji chicken, which is I guess Kenya's version of free range.  No hormones, cages, etc.  But the way they serve it is hilarious. 

You order how much chicken you want (quarter, half, whole, etc.), then they bring it out on this heaping platter along with chapati, fried plantains, fried onions, spiced chips (french fries), fried hard boiled eggs, tomatoes and roasted maize. 

Ho-ly cow.  Or chicken in this case.  I could see how people would worship it.  It really was a sick amount of food.

The look on Samwel's face when the massive platter came out was priceless.  Pure and utter shock.  His family is quite poor, so "feasting" is not something he is particularly used to. 

At first I felt really bad trying to imagine what Samwel and his father were thinking. I felt guilty for unintentionally flaunting wealth and abundance in front of them (even though it wasn't me who chose the restaurant).

But then I watched as Samwel started tearing into the food.  His disbelief became pure joy.  He started practically shoveling the food in his mouth with a giant smile on his face.  When he realized that he could eat as much as he wanted, the rest of the world undoubtedly became a bit dim.

When we were finished, our table looked like it had been hit by a hurricane.  Chicken bones, streaks of grease, used napkins, toothpicks... and to the side, leaning back with a silly grin on his face, was Samwel.  Content.  Satisfied.  Happy.

It was an image I don't think I'll forget for a long time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love reading this personal side of the time you got to spend with him; it makes me wish I could sponsor a kid too. So glad you've been able to do that for three years AND visit him.