Loving Lawi

It was a very long, very squished matatu (van taxi) ride to see Lawi and Molly. The vans are made as a 15 passenger, but they cram in a minimum of 20 people, and on the way home, there were 26 at one point. There was even a live chicken on board…thankfully not pecking my head this time. 
After two hours, we reached Muhanda, the town Lawi and Molly are in. We walked in the school, and before I could spot them, Lawi came sprinting to me and jumped up in my arms, almost knocking me over!! One of the teachers said she wished she would have had a camera, and oh how I wish she would have gotten that moment on film. It is a moment I will not soon forget, being reunited with that sweet boy. 
Molly is much more shy and reserved, but came quickly to give hugs! Then they took us in to the Head Teacher’s office to meet them, pay school fees, and hear how they are doing in school! I even got to go see both of their classrooms which was a first for me!  They are both doing so well and it was a joy to see them in their element! 
After that, we went to their grandma’s house which is sort of buried back in the trees. I had many questions for her, but most of them were answered before I asked. When I walked into the house I saw Lawi and Molly’s demeanor immediately change. No smiles, no talking. They were afraid to talk and be honest, and it just broke my heart. 
I was able to ask the grandma a lot of questions about what she has been doing with Lawi, if she is taking care of them, if he is still having seizures and how she’s handling it, and if he’s still running away. I was able to pray over him, and do some more investigating, and then we were off to school. 
This was the hardest part of my day. Lawi ran to grab his backpack and said “I’m going to Kisumu with you.” When I said no, and told him that he has to finish the semester, he started bawling. I tried to comfort him, but he just cried harder, and then he tried to run away from school. Chasing after him, finally we cut him off and Mama Bon put him over her shoulder and carried him back to school and into the head teacher’s office, where he counseled him and calmed him down, while we snuck out the door.

I remember feeling so helpless and so conflicted in my heart. I wondered if I had made a mistake in coming to his school, or if I had done some sort of classic “when helping hurts” maneuver that I was unaware of. I told mama Bon that maybe I shouldn’t have come, and it was so hard for me to leave him, knowing that his heart was breaking, thinking we were just leaving him behind.

Mama Bon, being very wise and strong, told me that I didn’t need to worry. She said, “Lawi knows you love him, and he doesn’t get that much. He is always sad to see the staff go when we visit, and he’ll be okay.” Then she said “Believe me, if Lawi wants to get to Kisumu, he will show up there tomorrow.”

Lawi has had a track record of running away and not telling anyone where he is going. He’s run from Kisumu to his grandma’s, and vice versa. We laughed at the thought that Lawi could probably even beat us back to Kisumu if he really was determined to get there.

That next morning, I went to the office and there were no signs of Lawi. Mama Bon told me “Your boy has grown. He isn’t running away to Kisumu today. He’s staying and going to school.” She had called the Grandma to check on him and make sure he was still there. Sure enough, our little Lawito (as we sometimes call him) had grown a bit! Instead of running to be wherever he thought best, he was sad, but he knew he had to stay and finish his semester. This was an unintentional test and he past with flying colors. I on the other hand failed miserably as I was so sad about that day.

Once I returned back home, I heard from the staff that Lawi came running to the office after his exams asking where I was. They told him I’d be back and he just dealt with it. He and Molly stayed with Allison over there break and there was no attempt to run away or be disobedient. Proof that our little guy is growing up and learning!  It was a moment where I felt the Lord whisper to my heart “Ndoto is doing good. Doing what’s best for Lawi, and raising up a young man.” I had a peace come over me, knowing that I hadn’t done something terrible in going to visit him.

What I’m reminded of is that God is good and His love for Lawi far outweighs mine. That’s sometimes hard to believe, as my heart bleeds for him and the other kids I know in Obunga. However, having a hard time believing something doesn’t make it untrue. The Lord loves Lawi more than I ever will or ever could. And He’s a good, good daddy to take care of him no matter where he is. So, I’ll keep going to visit, and surprise kids at school, trusting that God has their life in the palm of His hands.

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