I have experienced some griefs this week -- the death of two
friends from cancer, both in their 30s, and the very unexpected
death of a 6-year-old patient who seemed to be doing quite well.
And, of course, my work here in Kenya can be challenging and
burdensome to the heart in the everyday struggles and losses of our
So, I felt in need of Easter, with its message of new life and
triumphant love and hope for a hurting heart. And today was a
very good Easter.
My friend/colleague who runs AMPATH's Orphans and Vulnerable
Children program coordinates an Easter party each year for the
mostly orphaned children living at a temporary shelter here in
Eldoret. The children often have complicated medical problems,
histories of abuse, or come from particularly terrible living
situations where this shelter is their only option for the time
being. Many of them are patients who I know from the pediatric
AMPATH HIV clinic in Eldoret. I cannot imagine a group of children
much more in need of hope and celebration and joy.
And today, we CELEBRATED. Today was a day of hope and
celebration and joy.
We hosted an Easter feast and party here at the IU compound for
the shelter kids over the course of the entire day. Yesterday, we
decorated everything to the hilt in preparation. Today, we brought
over three cars full of smiling, brimming-with-excitement orphans.
We ate and made crafts and hunted for Easter eggs and played games
and sang and ate more and otherwise exhausted ourselves in
wonderfulness. A good day. One of the littlest guys, whose
mother is in the hospital and not expected to live, sat on my lap
or held my hand for most of the day. I could tell from the way he
pressed his cheek against my hand as he stood next to me and how he
preferred to snuggle in my lap over playing some of the more
rambunctious games that he just really needed a reminder of a
loving touch. As for me, I'm a little sunburned from standing
outside in a circle singing songs and hunting for Easter eggs, and
my heart is soothed by these happy smiles and the overflowing
Indeed, on this Easter day, the smiling, celebrating children
were a wonderful reminder of how love can break through the
darkness, how life can triumph over death.