Longing to know someone more deeply

“So many believe that it is love that grows, but it is the knowing that grows and love simply expands to contain it.”

- William Paul Young

Recently, we received this message from Dan Kuto in Kenya, along with this photo:

mock Viola Lelei

“Today after church I visited Viola Lelei and found her weeding her shamba (farm). Her maize (corn) is doing very well. She lives on a one acre farm. She is a housewife with six children. They depend on the same piece of land for all their basic needs. She is very grateful to The Mama Ada Foundation for the gift of seed and fertilizer. She prays for you guys and the entire foundation. She says asante sana (thank you).”

I was in Starbuck’s when I opened this message. My gaze fell to my chocolate coffee drink and the people sitting comfortably around as a sigh escaped me. Worlds suddenly tried to collide, yet a barrier was too much for me to very fully imagine Viola’s life, aside from these basic facts. As I reread Dan’s message my heart was filled with gratefulness for the miracle of Facebook and how it could transport stories between people of faraway lands.

And yet there was something more – an intense longing to know someone more deeply. I’ve learned to live with longing since first meeting friends in Africa. The times that we together are fleeting, filled with laughter and tears, nearly simultaneously. And then there always comes much too quickly the goodbye, a time filled with this poignant knowledge that our lives physically exist very far apart.

In the coffee shop that day, I turned my attention to Viola’s photo. Of course, of course, I marveled at her beautiful smile; photos from Kenya are often filled with smiles. And yet, I wondered about so much. I long to ask what she dreams when she looks into the African night sky. I long to know if she has a favorite song, or prayer. I long to ask of her thoughts as she tends her fields. I long to know more of her conversations with her children, what they speak of, in between certain directions and daily stories, just as my conversations with my own children.

“ So many believe that it is love that grows, but it is the knowing that grows and love simply expands to contain it.” - William Paul Young
We are heartened to see Viola’s smile and to know that her family has seeds to plant on their farm. And, Viola, we wish to send you a big jambo (hello) across the vast ocean and tell you that there are friends who love you in the United States and other places. You have friends who pray for you and who wish you so well….and who long to know you better, even as our love for you and all your farm neighbors is firmly planted in our hearts.

P.S. We are starting a Communication Committee at The Mama Ada Foundation, partly in response to a recent survey that told us many of you would like to know the farmers and the students even better! J Please email Julie Keller at jckeller97@comcast.net if you would like to join this group’s work!
- Julie Keller