Khadija, the Program Director, and a few others come and sit around us in a circle.
opens up immediately.
holds a hand to her
chest as if quailing a fire, then goes on.
It's not long before Khadija
I've seen her
this way before and I fear for whoever is in her
starts to gather a small posse; two men and two women.
climbs out looking like she's
carrying a fifty pound weight on her
Nyla catches Khadija
"Did you find the thieves?
"Yes, we found them.
responds softly with a tone of dejection.
takes off her
shoes and heads inside.
Around 9pm we finally get the rest of the story.
is sitting on her
living room couch.
The dim turquoise of the solar lights cast a tiring tone on her
and small shadows creep out from corners reminding us that it's night now and Mwambia has long gone home.
I watch Khadija
skirt again as she
left middle finger can't bend due to the ligaments being severed during an attempt on her
She'd caught the machete blade in her
doesn't strike me as someone who is easily caught off guard.
goes on, "The man said, 'Why should we leave food when there is food there at the old man's.
phone and looks at her
caller ID. It's Esha, the woman managing the health clinic.
was also at the home today.
discards the call.
been calling me all night," she
says, "asking me what to think.
Project Coordinator Khadija Rama asked Abdallah Mohamed.
Not a week prior, a police officer was voicing this to Pepo's Director, Khadija O. Rama
in front of a 14 year old boy with Aids.
"Why do you help them?
They have Aids and deserve to be dead already," he
criticized, speaking loudly enough for everyone around to hear.
takes a breath and gives us a tired smile.
, as if she
knew not only the answer to the question, but why that answer would be wrong.
"I need to look forward," said Rupert, a little unsure of himself.
"Yes," said Khadija
"You must serve all of them," said Khadija
Rupert returned to the ones who refused to eat.
One young boy shook his
Rupert tried again.
The boy shot his
mouth up in disgust.
This time the boy got angry and made grunting noises.
Rupert tried something new.
This time, when he
offered the platter, he
did so on his
On my last day in Isiolo I received a final lesson from Khadija
A few days earlier we had spoken.
I was feeling a lot of stress and pressure at the time, striving to fully train and prepare the two community banks before I returned home.
told me not too worry so much, that I can easily "get caught up in the world.
I pondered this: "Get caught up in the world"… I wasn't too sure what that meant.
Then, on my last day in Isiolo, shortly after I woke up that morning, I was meditating on what she
had said, reflecting on the past couple of weeks and how I had been so single-mindedly focused on my work.
I realized that I was neglecting the more important duties: Saying my proper goodbyes, laughing and playing with the children, drumming with the men, sitting and chatting with the women.
Basically, spending time with the people I was purporting to serve.
As soon as I discovered that insight, I said my goodbyes to Khadija
"Thank you for your service," she
"We appreciate all you have done and hope you will return someday.
If only the staff at one of these giant international development organizations could spend a day in the life of Khadija
, or Stella, Mr. Konyango or Nassir, Yussif or anyone here at A Wind of Hope.
and the staff of WOHA
recently met with one of their main donors.
, on the other hand, and everyone at WOHA
, must face these people on a daily basis.
Indeed, they are these people; One with the community.
So when a policy is changed, it is Khadija
that must share the news.
This was the case when a major donor recently decided that they needed more accountability.
Now, anyone who eats their nutritional support has to not only sign a form with each meal, but provide passport photos as well.
I wonder if this organization has ever visited the people they are supporting, most of who live in mud huts without running water or electricity.
How can they sign their names if they are illiterate and can't even afford pens and paper?
brought this up with the elders from Malitano and they replied by saying that they would rather go without the food than deal with all of the hassle.
inspiring new friend: Khadija, the founder and director of Pepo la
, propped on top of the truck, in the pouring rain, tossing
cold, cement room and found Khadija
leading the children in a joyous
circle of song and dance.