james ouma · Mentoring boys in Kenya · Writing by James Ouma

The River and the Source

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My friend, Kevin ‘Avalanch’ Owagah has shared a post on Facebook that has reminded me of my work with children. It has, in the end challenged and shook me to the core.

Here it is…

“My father comes from near the river, my mother comes from near the lake. At times, we argue about which is greater, but in the end we quench our thirst with water.”

As I ponder about the meaning of this post and my involvement with vulnerable children and the challenges I face having to work on a minimal budget, I keep wondering. I have met so many people from organizations that have the same intention of helping the children I am working with.

Most of them have the contacts, the connections and the cash that can transform the lives of our children yet we keep competing against each other instead of complimenting each other. We keep arguing about the ‘river’ and the ‘lake’ instead of focusing on providing the ‘water’ that will quench the thirst that affects our children.

I work with children who have lost a lot and their lives would be better if we would be willing to put their welfare before the objectives of our organizations. We make promises – most of them casually – not knowing how damaging it will be if we don’t honor them.

But I thank God for broken promises because they are changing the way our children look at life and the goals they are setting for themselves. It has made all of us to appreciate the resources we have instead of focusing on the things that we lack. It has enabled us to appreciate our buttons, sewing thread, needles and Ayuny’s cell phone that we use for our dance sessions.

I also appreciate the many buttons I got from a friend a few days ago. It has reminded me that God really cares about my needs and the needs of our children. In fact, God has given me many wonderful friends whose support keeps me going.

I used to worry about provision and funding. Right now, my focus is on God and what I can do with what I have available. But sometimes, I feel discouraged, I won’t lie to you. Have you ever wanted to earn a living so you could give back to the community?

That is what I have wanted to do right from the time I quit my job to focus on writing so I can be able to meet and mentor my growing group of children. I am not earning a lot from my work. But as long as I am able to take care of my basic needs, have my buttons, needles and thread I will keep on working towards empowering our children to hold onto their individual dreams and use the frustration that comes from the ‘river’ and the ‘lake’ to spur them to a better future.

I also hope and pray that God will keep empowering and equipping the many people out there who lack the resources but have the desire to serve humanity. I pray that you will get the courage, strength and that God will grow your network. Keep working and do not give up.

PS: this post is dedicated to Beatrice Ofwona’s friend and Frida Runji who are educating children in the slum with very limited resources. May God protect and grow your vision.
#themakingofJimButtons #LifesongKenya #livingworththecallinourgeneration

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