I wish every post could highlight all the joy and fun I'm experiencing with the kids and the joy of playing and teaching tennis everyday, but unfortunately that is not always our reality. Last week, the sun didn't shine in Nairobi, and tragedy came knocking onto Sadili's gates.
Each day last week, the sun was hidden behind a multitude of clouds. At any moment it looked like the heavens would spill over in heavy downpours. The rain would come and go, but the sun never revealed her face. While I continued to enjoy my afternoons with the girls from Kibera, things around us began to fall apart. As I write this, it's been almost a week since we've had running water, our internet connection is all but gone, and I've caught a stomach bug that has me almost completely incapacitated. Still, we press on, every afternoon we are greeted with the smiling faces of our Kibera kids we've fallen in love with. Last week, I introduced them to bubbles and jumping games, relays and selfies. Their excitement is contagious, and it's a disease I'm happy to catch.
But as the clouds continued to roll over Nairobi, the bad news came in like an unwelcome visitor. One of the coach's, Richie, brother died on Saturday night. He was 24, and in seemingly perfect health before his sudden passing. Just the week before, I joked with Richie about going to the doctor when he said he'd never been to a doctor before in his life. Could his brother's life been spared had he visited a doctor more regularly? The doctors said he had anemia. In America, anemia is so easily treated.
On the night of his death, the first hospital refused to see him because it was so late in the night. Someone came out and looked at Richie's passed out brother and declared he was dead, go to the police. The police said he was alive, go to the hospital, so they went to another hospital. He received no care that night, and now he is dead.
My heart broke when I heard the harrowing tale to get medical attention for a dying man. It's tragic and sad, and my heart aches for a family that has to bury their second son in as many years. In their tradition, the brother has to be buried in his family's homeland of Kisumu. However, they do not have any money. Today Richie said that he's received a lot of "sorries," but sorry won't bury his brother, and now as the eldest brother he must shoulder the burden of responsibility for his family.
Alas, hope is not lost: "the sun comes up it's a new day dawning." Today for the first time in over a week, the sun is perched high and bright uncovered to reveal all her glory. The maintenance man has just given me the thumbs up that our water is running again (but I've gotten the same thumbs up several times), and my antibiotics have begun to kick in, and I'm feeling much better. And if you're reading this blog, then the internet is somewhat working :)
God is good even on cloudy weeks that bring tears and pain. He will always get the glory through our joyous moments and the sad ones too. He is sovereign, and we must trust His plan. My prayer is that Richie's brother's death will not be in vain, and can bring attention to the lack of access to healthcare for Nairobi's underprivileged. Please join me in prayer for Richie's family, and that they will raise the funds to bury his brother in Kisumu. And that God will give Richie the strength and wisdom to care for his family.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV