“Chamgei” (“Hello” in Kipsigis)

During our initial vision trip to Tenwek Hospital in January, I took a moment to walk through and visit some of the areas I worked in 19 years earlier.

As I was walking on the other side of the river I heard someone yelling, “David” close by.  I look over and it is Florence, Leonard Rono’s wife who remembered me from years ago.  I asked to see Leonard and she then asked me to come into her home and sit on the couch.  She leaned over and poured me some tea and asked for her son Mathew (age 18) to come over and talk with me.  I asked where Leonard was and Florence brought over a photo album.  Mathew began to show me the photo album and then said that his father got very sick many years ago and died.  They showed the death certificate which showed that he died at age 39 from pneumonia.  As tears welled up in my eyes I turned to Florence and Mathew and told them I am so sorry for your loss and didn’t mean to bring you pain.  She said that she was so happy to see me and thought she saw me many years ago, but it wasn’t me.  She said she has been looking for me.  She then showed me pictures that she had been saving of Leonard with me. 

I went on to tell her that Leonard was a good man who worked so hard on all of the electrical for the Community Development Building (what they call the Greenhouse Building).  Florence told me how much she has been relying on God and that she believes He helps her through the hard times.  I commented on how good it is to see her smile.  I turned to Leonard’s son, Mathew, and let him know how proud he should be of who his father was.  As the conversation ended, I pulled out my phone and showed them some old pictures and that is when Mathew said that he knows many of the other people.  And that is where the journey of today started.

Mathew said he knew where Steven lived so we then began hiking to Steven’s house.  After quite a long hike/walk we found Steven.  He quickly remembered me and was so glad to see me. He showed me around his house and told me that he is in the process of rebuilding his house so that he can get electric power.  He said that his daughter is in school and his son is at a university to become a high school teacher.

Stephen and I then sat down and had tea with one another and talked about old memories.  Stephen told me that he now earns his livelihood from what I taught him many years ago, carpentry, and is so grateful that I took the time to teach him. I told him it was so good to see him and his family and was so glad to have met him. We then talked about having a big get together possibly next Saturday at the Greenhouse building site.  I mentioned I would talk with Jonathan B. early next week.

At this point in time, the word was out in the community that I was at Tenwek and people began to look for me.  I went to a couple of other people’s homes and each one of them had pictures of me and pictures of them building the Greeenhouse building.  

After walking several kilometers to other houses I eventually got back and found Kenneth.  So David, Kenneth and I took a picture together in the same place that we did 17 years ago. 

Overall, it was such an incredible day.  I’m so blessed to have met up with old friends and hear how years ago I was part of helping them learn skills that have changed that changed their lives. It is incredible to see that even through hardship they surrender their lives to Christ.  They are incredibly thankful and joyous of their lives.