One of our Heroes

On our last afternoon in Kenya, we walked down into Obunga slum to greet my friend Everlyne’s children at her request. Everlyne is a widow of about 50 years of age. She lives in a simple two roomed mud house with no electricity or sanitation with her three children. P goes to school. C is 22 and is mentally and physically disabled. His lower limbs are twisted but he can drag himself around. He wouldn’t shake my hand and spends most of his time inside because he has been beaten up so many times. D is 21, able-bodied, but with the mind of a two year old. She roams Obunga freely with her doll’s head and a comb, ready to laugh with anyone. She’s a real target for abuse. Everlyne earns money by digging other people’s smallholdings for them. She’s one of our heroes: Ever since our first visit to Obunga, she has invited women to the sessions we run in the area. She knows everyone, and visits mothers with new-born babies, teaching mothers how to love and care for their babies. No-one pays her for this and she never asks us for money. Something’s happened to her too through doing this work. She’s gained self-respect. On that last Friday she stood up at the end of our time in Obunga and told everyone that she was the baby bonding leader of Obunga, to say that if the mothers had any problems, they were to come to her for help. It was a real honour, and very humbling to sit in her house and to pray with her. That’s all she wanted.