Counseling and Cooking

Guest Post and Photography by Kindall Palmer. Kindall is a college student from Fayetteville, GA who is just beginning a 2-month stint in Kenya at the Rift Valley Academy. Please enjoy her post about day 4 in Kenya.

It has now been four days since we’ve been in Africa…but it feels more like a month has passed. So much has happened during these past four days, so please bare with me while I try and collect my thoughts.

Today we traveled to the town of Gachie to visit Deliverance Church. We were meeting with clients to sit in on the counseling sessions that they had with Sarah and John. Normally when we would drive further in the valley the temperature would rise 10 degree, but the sky was overcast with a grey mist that the sun couldn’t burn through. I was kicking myself for not grabbing another jacket, but Kenyan weather fluctuates throughout the day so I knew it would warm up soon. I was a little uncertain with what to expect with today. I had missed the morning meeting due to feeling nauseous from my malaria pills (note to self- the warning label about taking on an empty stomach is not optional). I knew that we were to be discussing their process and growth through CFA, but how open would they be to us intruding their session? I know in America, counseling  is a very private matter that we would flip out allowing another person into our private life. So far the Kenyans have been very open and welcoming to our presence, so hopefully this would be the same.

We arrived at the church and entered a rectangular room with bright red and white drapery decorating the walls. Already two male clients were seated by the cement wall, waiting for their session to begin. To make it more intimate, we were split into pairs and then ushered behind a curtain (very private) to talk. Because of the cold, the clients slowly trickled in until we had about 6 men and women. Megan and I stuck together and met a women named Lucy and her son Lazereth. John and Sara translated for us and explained to Lucy why these mazungus (white people) were sitting in on her time. The moment that they explained that we were friends from America that have been praying for her, she warmed up to us. The session was eye opening to the loneliness and isolation that the people experience from HIV. We then prayed for her and closed the session with a bag of rice and beans to support her through the week.

The rest of the day was spent traveling to three houses for home visits of the clients. We split up the groups again and walked through the slums to the homes. At the final home we cooked dinner together with three women named Rehab and Lois and their mother. (By the way, the Kenyan grandmothers are super women, nothing stopped her! She may have been small but she sure was mighty, tackling the cooking and cleaning with such energy!) This was the best part of my day. As we sat around peeling potatoes with machetes, we talked, laughed, and enjoyed each others company. God truly is awesome bringing complete strangers together for a meal. Even though we had a vast language barrier, the presence of the Lord’s peace and joy was undeniable. Even when I leave I will not forget this meal. It wasn’t the deliciousness of the food, but God’s ability to bring total strangers together. We worked side by side with these women to prepare a meal to satisfy our hunger, but also to satisfy out desire for community and fellowship with christians.