January 25, 2016
You must have heard the three of us talk about our background and what led us to caring for men and women living with HIV/AIDS. It was passion and a call from God to do what we are doing. Unfortunately, as the organization grows, it is easy to find yourself as a leader loosing that touch and a feel of what is happening on the ground on a daily basis. What happens on a daily basis keeps us connected to the original call and the passion. Administration is good, for it keeps things going, but too much of it without getting your hands dirty can be a distraction. It can distract the original vision and eventually kill the passion. I realized that last year because all I was concerned with was how to manage people and systems. This was good, but not enough.
This year I intentionally plan to create enough time to go to the centers and do exactly what we did when we had our first center. Duncan and I were the physical counselor and spiritual councilor respectively. This week I went to Full Gospel Church, one of our centers in the slums of Kangemi- Nairobi region. I asked Gitonga, the spiritual counselor, to allow me to replace him for a few hours as he attended other duties. I had a blast if not a paradigm shift. Once more I had the opportunity to listen to the clients’ story straight from the client. Throughout the time I counseled eleven clients and the whole time I was fighting to retain my tears inside.
The story of Jacqueline Mnayo stood out for me. She had been through a lot. She came to me breastfeeding her one year old son, but I could tell there was no milk coming out. The child kept on crying for lack of this precious commodity. Jacqueline was married to a man who made her go through hell. She told me that a week could not pass without her husband beating her. Sometimes she was beaten close to death. She could collapse and spend hours before gaining conscious. She stuck with this brutal man for years because she had nowhere to go. Both of her parents are not alive and that forced her to be married young to this man. She is divorced now, but the man left her with three kids.
The worst of all, these problems has given her some mental confusion. I could tell something was wrong. Because of her depression, some friends took her to a witchdoctor for treatment. Unfortunately, the witchdoctor forces himself on her and now she is HIV+. Now she is in our hands with all these wounds, but I am hopeful for her future.
LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED FROM THIS EXPERIENCE:
1. Top management needs to familiarize themselves with what is happening at the bottom. It enables us to continue with the passion. I am reminded of Revelation 2:4. I do not want to forget why we started CFA.
2. Our canter staff (people on the ground) needs a lot of encouragement from us who work in the office.
3. We should create time to listen to people’s stories. It may change our perspective.
4. Considering what I have and the privileges God has given, I am highly accountable.
5. I will always create time to spend with these people. If Jesus lived today, I am sure He will spend most of His time in the slums with people like Jacqueline... not in the office.