I’ve been living in a box truck for a week.
Yes, you read that correctly. My last week and half was dedicated to a big outdoor event selling for Grain of Rice Project, where most people camped in rather nice or at least decent RVs, while my friend and I spent 10 days living the back of a moving truck. Friends, nonprofit life is about budgets and simplicity!
By the end of the week my hair was pretty dirty, the truck was disorganized to say the least, and I was ready to take a real shower rather than another bucket bath. But what I walked away thinking was that my 10-day adventure is someone else’s everyday reality.
That 16-foot truck was just a smidge bigger than most people’s homes in Kibera. We could barely fit an air mattress, a cot, and table, and yet in Kibera there would be an entire family and all of their belongings. I didn’t know where to put my clothes, the dirty dishes (or the clean ones for that matter), or even to hang my towel. There were nights that I slept in my winter coat and still woke up shivering at the bite in the air. And I thought back to all those chilly Kenyan mornings in July when our Kibera artisan mamas, bundled up in scarves and sweaters, would come to work with stuffed up noses, reporting that their kids were sick. Nairobi cold is no joke when you’re sleeping on the wet, muddy ground. Even today, one of the GORP kiddos was so worried to know if her grandma was okay because the rains had come, and she feared the house was leaking everywhere.
My week of no indoor plumbing or appliances had me heating up water for bucket baths in my coffee pot and blindly finding my wait out the noisy truck door in the morning searching for the port-a-potty. While these omissions of modern American technology were slightly inconvenient, they are the norm for my friends in Kibera, who are sharing outhouse toilets with several dozen people and taking cold bucket baths on a daily basis. I quickly realized how challenging the simple task of washing dishes can be when there’s an absence of a sink and running water.
So, while I’m now back to my life of showers, sinks, and washing machines, I want my heart to still be in a posture of remembering what it’s like to be without them. Because the remembering is what motivates me to keep pressing in for justice and opportunities for our community in Kenya and around the globe.