Malachi has not had many things to smile about in his 7th year of life. His mother died this year, just a few months after the departure of his father to places unknown. Malachi ended up at a children's home just outside of Eldoret, Kenya, where he is one of almost 100 orphans in the care of 5 sets of foster parents at the children's home. Malachi's smiles have been few and far between this year, but I got to see many of them yesterday. Beaming, proud smiles of delight. Yesterday, Malachi got his first-ever soccer ball -- a beautiful treasure that put a smile on his face all afternoon.


At yesterday's visit to my favorite children's home, I had the privilege of distributing a bunch of soccer balls that had been sent to me as gifts for children in Kenya. What fun! For Christmas, I wish that I could wrap up and send to you the smiles and laughter and sheer delight that these soccer balls brought. I'm not sure my photos do justice to how much fun we had playing with the balls yesterday, but here's a glimpse of the delight….






I was given enough balls that I got to spread football delight across several of my favorite projects caring for children - balls to the orphanage run by my Kenyan parents for children orphaned by HIV, balls to their tiny primary school providing the best primary education for this rural community, balls for a project in Nairobi that offers a soccer club for at-risk teenagers in one of the world's biggest slums, and balls to the Tumaini Centre for Street Children here that offers a chance for boys living on the street to have a safe place to wash and eat and learn skills that might help them get off of the streets and back into school. And everywhere - delight! These projects have big needs -- giving the most vulnerable and orphaned children in this poor place food, education, clothing, and basic care. And most of the time, I'm working on much more complicated issues like providing HIV care to our thousands of HIV-infected kids. Sometimes, it's awfully fun to fulfill their simpler needs as well.


And… there was one basketball. The high school student that I sponsor, J, knows about the kind of losses that Malachi has experienced. She lost her mother, father, and younger sister all in one year. J has been doing great in high school, loves playing on the basketball team, and was just elected the school "captain of games" which is a big honor in high school sports here. She could not have been more proud to get her first basketball yesterday.


Simple joys. Happy day.

Posted at 05:05


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