“Your crown has been bought and paid for.
All you must do is put it on your head.” - James Baldwin
A lot has happened since I arrived in Kamulu, Kenya just two Sundays ago. One of those things includes falling off the face of the Earth for a short period of time (sorry, worriers!). There has been a lot to process already, a lot of good, and, of course, some difficulty. I PROMISE I’ll try to get to all the important stuff while I play catch-up communication this week, but for now, one word has haunted me since my arrival at Made in the Streets.
My 30 hour flight from the States included a 10 hour layover in Doha, Qatar. Those few hours were a pretty poignant representation of everything I’ve grown accustomed to associate with abundance: complimentary 5-star hotel rooms, lavish malls, and mind-boggling skyscrapers. I couldn’t help but wonder how much I would miss being able to order a mango shake to my room and “put it on the tab.”
Less than a week later I had moved into my room in a village just outside of Nairobi, spent time visiting street kids at their bases near Eastleigh, gotten more bug bites than I had in the entire rest of the year, and went to a park in Nairobi called Paradise Lost with MITS, 175 street kids, and the visiting Pepperdine group. Along the way, I’ve started to learn something. Abundance isn’t the length of the menu, the weight of the wallet, or the square feet of your hot-tub-equipped apartment in Malibu. It’s something totally different, that, honestly, I haven’t quite figured out yet. But I know that the people here I’ve met who live most abundantly find life through gratitude, kindness, and recognizing the presence of grace even when everything is dark.
These kids have stories, and those stories include words like addiction, abuse, rape, and hunger. But they also include hope, providence, faith, and healing. I have been so accustomed to a bright, shiny abundance that’s practically blinding. I’m realizing that I don’t see as well the abundance of grace that produces its own light and shines in the dark. And where that abundance exists, joy exists. I’d really like to find it.
These are some of the faces of the street children of Nairobi as they celebrate that abundance. These are the “starving children in Africa” who you think about before you toss your leftovers. These are the ones who have “nothing.” My hope is that when you look upon these faces is not that you experience guilt, pure sorrow, or anything along the lines of “wow-safeena-is-so-brave-for-wanting-to-be-there.” I hope that you share in their abundance. I hope that you are inspired to put your crown on too, that you might search for the abundance of grace in your own life. The people I’ve met here have more to share in spirit than I could’ve imagined. My wallet may be full, but, I humbly admit, I have never felt so poor.
^This boy definitely knows his worth.
If you would like to learn more about my purpose in Kamulu, Kenya or support me, here you go!: