Every week, after the meeting of Ujiachilie, the group of disabled children that we follow in the parish, together with some of our collaborators, we go to visit their families and spend some time with them. It is a beautiful and precious moment, always full of surprises and provocations. It is a simple but very meaningful gesture that allows us to know our children and their families, where and how they live, and more about their background and their everyday life. Above all, the visit intends to be an expression of the love and interest we bring to their person and their lives.
We follow mothers and children through the troubled roads that lead to the houses where they live, while, with pride, they show us the way and the places of their daily life, their children’s schools, the neighbor’s apartment. Having a guest is always precious here, a blessing from God, so they welcome us with much warmth. It is rare to leave without having received at least one cup of tea, even when the family’s economic situation is particularly difficult.
Sitting on the couch while resting on the help of luck, we have a conversation. Often the people we visit feel free to tell us about themselves, about their children’s illness, and about the vicissitudes of their other children. They show us some pictures, and tell us about the families they come from and about their relationships with them, sometimes marked by abandonments or misunderstandings. What strikes their mothers the most is seeing us coddle and pamper their children, without fear of looking at them or touching them. We discover stories of great suffering and many miracles of love, often hidden in the eyes of the world.
The most difficult situations are also those in which the deepest meaning of our visit emerges most clearly. So it happened a few weeks ago when we went to the house of D., after learning of the death of her newborn, which occurred during the birth, the third of their children called to heaven. The family was closed within a wall of silence that betrayed a resigned and sad pain, indifferent even to praying together. Our inadequacy brought out more clearly the true meaning of our being there: that is, the real possibility that Christ would use our presence, our clumsy gestures, and our words to reach these friends. He is the most precious thing we can offer to the people to whom we are sent. The Lord told Zacchaeus, “Today I must stay at your house.” Through us, he also speaks these words to these people, making us unworthy instruments of his love.
(Sr. Monica Noce is pictured above with children from the community of Kahawa Sukari, a neaighborhood of Nairobi)