The view from the narrow dirt road was breathtaking. The whisper of a breeze through the trees and the deep red earth — it was a symphony of sound and color. I was struck by the disunion; the majesty — even perfection — of creation in front of me, and the suffering that plagues this land.
She said to call her Maggie. A young Kenyan mom to eight daughters. She proudly brought us into her new home. To my eye, it was a simple cement structure. Small and sturdy, a good lock on the door, and bare except for a few old chairs. Just enough room for the five of us to sit with a sleeping area no bigger than the sitting room, where the family of nine slept. To Maggie, this home was a palace. As her story unfolded, we began to understand why.
Just a couple of years prior, Maggie’s husband died of cancer. In old African culture, without her husband, Maggie lost all her rights to the family land. Their ability to stay in the only home they had was threatened, and they were left with no income. Maggie did what she could, working for neighbouring farms — backbreaking work for a mere 50 cents a day. It was not enough to feed her family, and she resorted to grinding up leaves from the trees and boiling them into a tea in order to fend off starvation. The old mud hut was falling apart, and when the rain came, it poured in on top of them as they slept. She sent her children to school in rags and without shoes. Each day her heart broke as they told her how they were ridiculed as “beggars.” Because they were all girls, Maggie was told she had given birth to “only frogs.” But, she remembered her husband’s dying words. He had asked her to take care of the children, and assured her that God would provide.
One night, Maggie gathered her children together to pray and read the Bible. Her paraphrase of the verse she read was, “If you have a problem, run to the Lord and you will see wonders.” The family fell asleep praying, and that night Maggie had a dream. In this dream, she was happy. She saw foreigners coming down the road to her house. Their faces were clear in her mind when she awoke the next morning. Two weeks later, she looked up to see her friend coming down the path with visitors from Canada. To her amazement, the faces of the visitors were the same faces that were etched in her mind from the dream.
The visiting team assured Maggie they would rebuild her house, and they did. When the community saw how God had provided for Maggie, a new respect grew for her and her girls. Her father-in-law was moved to gift her the family land that her home is on. In his words, “God has done you a great thing through these people.” And, through the connections formed within the widow’s program initiated by the Voice of Hope team, she has found steady employment in the area, allowing her to provide food for her children. It seems I will never get over the miraculous ways of God in this land. Deep faith, in hopeless situations…and God singles out one of His treasured children, and pours out His love on her.