Tears were flowing down my face as I walked into the Kibera Children’s Center to the joyful singing of children. I couldn’t stop crying for the next 10 minutes. I must’ve looked like the leaking “Mzungu” (white man). Every Christmas Eve, for the past 7 years, at Westside church, I have pleaded with our congregation to give to this children’s feeding program. Today, I am absolutely undone and I don’t know if I will ever be the same again.
The Kara Kibera children’s center was born on a single night of terror. Post election violence ravaged the slums of Kibera in 2007, and in its wake thousands of children were made orphans. The scriptures tell us that “when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will raise a standard against it.” That standard has come to Kibera in the form of Pastor John and Mary Indagiza.
In the immediate aftermath of the violence, 30 orphans were huddled in John and Mary’s church seeking some form of shelter and food. As John and Mary continued feeding these children in the days that followed, many more began to come to their doors. It became clear they needed to do more than just feed these children, and so, by God’s grace, they started to educate them as well. Today, over 160 children gather together for two meals every day and an education.
To be a teacher at the Kibera Children’s Center, the interviewed candidate must be able to sing five silly songs. The joy and celebration I have seen in this place is a testimony to the fact that these teachers know how to be a voice of hope to a generation that has experienced such trauma. After walking through a hellish scene filled with shanties, burning trash and open sewers, the light that is shining out of this place is blinding. It’s a ray of hope in a dark, dark place. God is so good.
A quick funny story. As I was bending down to take a picture of one of our kids during the feeding time, I split a giant crease down the back of my pants. My good friend Kevin was kind enough to stop by a small store on the side of the road selling used men’s pants. He picked out the perfect size. They couldn’t have the pastor walking around with air-conditioning up his behind. Even the slums have limits when it comes to dress codes.