Joyful Widows 🙂
Being a widow in Kenya is an unenviable thing.
No such thing as Government benefits here and often a widow will have many children to provide for. One of my students explained that when her father died the in-laws came and took everything they had, leaving them without even a house to sleep in. Apparently this is a common thing here in Kenya and it certainly makes life very difficult for the widows!
The Agape in Action Widows program started in 2010 to help out some of the especially needy widows in the ecclesia. Recently we were invited to be a part of one of the widows meetings in which over 30 widows gathered together at Lela (the AinA orphanage here).We all introduced ourselves, had a bible talk by Des and shared a meal of soft drink and mondazis (a common meal when feeding a crowd for a special event). This widows meeting was to distribute blankets, maize seed and fertiliser to some of the widows and then a brand new ‘very smart’ dress or skirt/top and a pair of shoes to everyone.
The duty of distributing these items was given to us the muzungus (white people) as to the widows we represent every person who has ever donated to the program. As the lid of the case of clothes was flung open, the room of docile, shabbily dressed, mostly elderly women suddenly erupted! Everyone got to their feet and started loudly singing, stomping and dancing, we would yell out the name of the widow (written on the clothes) and this would be met with a loud cry of ‘ayyyeee ayyyyeee ayyyyyee ayyyyeeee!!!!!” as the lady would dance her way towards us and then fling her arms around in a massive hug, multiple handshakes and ‘asante sana’s (thankyou very much), they would instantly throw the clothes on over whatever they were wearing and continue to dance around the room. There was something about the whole experience that is hard to describe, the excitement and joy in the room was so contagious I found by the end of the distribution I was exhausted from the sheer adrenaline of the dancing, singing, clapping and cheering.
Watching the widows leave dressed in their lovely new clothes, new shoes on their feet and with sacks of grain on their heads I realised how much of a difference this program makes in their lives, they left with a full stomach, having been encouraged by the bible talk, a new set of clothes and also means to provide food for their families. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
Click on this link to find out more and contribute http://www.agapeinaction.com/project_current.html#widows