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A Mile in Her Shoes

We are still visiting the girls at Kolanya Girls’ Secondary School and are about halfway through our first day.  Mr. Dismas Kiboi, the Esther’s Hope Ministries Program coordinator at the school, pops in briefly to let me know that there is a parent who has traveled a long distance to see me.  He adds, “She’s been calling me repeatedly over the last year reminding me to let her know when you are back in the country.  She wants to say, “Thank you”, and she’s here with her daughter.”

He ushers the two women into the room.  The older woman has a quiet dignity about her and is definitely dressed for a special occasion.  She is wearing a simple but elegant black chiffon dress, with white lace trim.  Her dress is a stark contrast to her thin, fragile figure.  She looks eighty, but she’s only in her fifties (A hard life will do that).  As soon, as she begins to speak, a tidal wave of gratitude gushes forth.

“My daughter,” she says, addressing me, “Thank you for educating my daughter Christine.”  I was struggling so much and when the school called to let me know she received a scholarship, I could not believe it.  I went to church and testified that God had answered my prayers.” She continues, “I stood up in the congregation and I told them to continue trusting in God.”  That is why I woke up early this morning and told Christine to wait for me.  We walked for almost two hours.  I had to come and see with my own eyes, who you were.   I have never seen someone who helps people she has never met and has never spoken to.  Please tell all the sponsors, “Thank you!” I am praying that God will continue to bless your lives abundantly.  Christine is now going to the university.”  “Eeeh!” she lets out a local sound of wonder!

It is evident that this mother is very proud of her daughter and is nurturing her own dreams vicariously through her daughter’s budding life.  It is also clear that without Esther’s Hope, Christine’s life would have become a repeat of her mother’s tough life.  As she continues talking, (we mostly listened because she had a lot to say), we discover that they are using a borrowed phone (Christine’s mom has an old phone but has no money to get it working.)  We also learned that the bright blue sneakers she is wearing were a gift from a local teacher.  She bought them after discovering that Christine’s mom had no shoes and would often borrow her grandchild’s plastic slippers which were far too small for her adult-sized feet.

Christine, who didn’t make the cut to go the university in 2016, chose to repeat the class in 2017, rather than let Esther’s Hope Ministries and her sponsor down.  She is now determined to succeed in her university education and change her family’s future.  She will be the first person to go to university in her family.  Her goal is to become an electrical engineer.  As they turn to leave, Christine gives me a hug and whispers, “Madam, thank you so much for giving me a chance.  I promise I will not let you down, I am determined to succeed.  I want to be like you.”

“A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34).”