May 24, 2014

arising to serve humanity

 a new story is beginning in the Dagoretti market area on the Karen side of Nairobi.  it began when i walked to the small, local grocery store to buy vegetables.  outside of the market is a shop to buy flowers.  with joy i greeted the young woman behind the table as she pruned roses.  she was immediately attracted to the joy.  after warm exchanges of courtesy she asked me if i was a Christian.  from there we have been exchanging heart to heart desires for a better world.  she is a woman who does not want to wait for people to come into the church to be saved.  she is about helping other people; she wants her community to be free of alcohol and drugs and all that is hurtful to children.  i introduced the Baha'i-inspired spiritual empowerment program for jr. youth, providing the vision for long-term investment in young souls to ultimately change the neighborhood.  then one day by surprise she announced that her cousin is the principal of st. luke's educational center in that neighborhood and that he'd like to meet with me to discuss initiating the program in his school.

i was excited beyond words, as if God had clearly answered my prayers to be able to be of service in this capacity in an area that is relatively close to where we live, but i was also very hesitant because i didn't have transport to get there -- i don't have a car to drive and i'm not willing to take a matatu alone because i feel anything can happen that will threaten my safety.  so i called the one Baha'i mother in this area and asked if she could drive me to this meeting and she took me a few days later.

after a very positive and receptive meeting about the program, we agreed with the principal, Mr. Kamau, that we would consult about the logistics and get back with him.  while driving home, my friend generously and lovingly offered that the woman who works for her could pick me up and take me every week to the school.  she explained that this could be part of her work during the week, in the spirit of being of service which is the highest expression of all work we do as Baha'is.  the woman who works for her is also a Baha'i.

that moment made me offer up the deepest praise and thanksgiving to God.  i have been longing to engage once again in a service-oriented activity at the community level here in Nairobi.  the only limitation to the program being held in the school was my transport and now it was sorted so effortlessly through the willingness of a friend whose heart feels connected in the spirit of service to offer her car.
it has been 3 weeks since that initial visit to st. luke's educational centre.  since that time, the principal and teachers have begun the study process for becoming animators of their own jr. youth groups and/or children's class teachers.  there is word that another school has found out about it and wants to be trained as well.  the kids are enthusiastic and grateful.  i have led 2 out of the 3 sessions and have heard from the principal that the kids are really happy with the program.  they are discovering that the potential for excellence lies within them and must be exercised by their own volition.  they are beginning to feel their own uniqueness in how God has created them in order to make this world a better place.  they have chosen going to a hospital as their first service activity which we will begin planning next week.  the school is abuzz with new energy and it's such a bounty to see.

i am already thinking about all of these kids as if they are my own children.  i look forward to all that lies ahead in terms of learning and growth, challenges and successes, service activities and transformation.

"The betterment of the world can be accomplished through pure and goodly deeds, through commendable and seemly conduct."  


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