“Kelvin’s father is dead.” When Mawewa High school Principal, Mr. Mureithi heard these words over the phone from Kelvin’s mother, his heart immediately broke for Kelvin. Kelvin was one of the few Mawewa students who had a close relationship with his father, and he knew that this news would hit him hard.
Together, Mr. Mureithi and his teaching staff quickly consulted with one another on how best to handle the situation. It was agreed that the Principal would only inform Kelvin that he was needed at home urgently but that Mr. Mureithi would accompany him home for Kelvin’s safety. When Principal Mureithi broke the news, Kelvin immediately knew something was wrong, but he quickly packed a bag and readied himself for the trip home.
Together, Kelvin and Principal Mureithi arrived at Kelvin’s home, and Mr. Mureithi stood with Kelvin as he received the heartbreaking news. He held him as Kelvin broke down in tears. He gave him a shoulder to cry on and comfort as Kelvin dealt with the shock and confusion that accompanies the announcement of a sudden death of a loved one.
The next day the students of Mawewa High School were informed on what had happened. Together, the teaching and support staff decided to raise some funds to support the family as they planned for the funeral, which is a common cultural practice in Kenya. Together, the students chose to do the same, deciding that they would each contribute KES 100 towards the funeral arrangement. For some of the students any contribution would be a stretch to their already limited resources, but students stood united by their desire to help. Together those who had more, contributed on behalf of those who did not have enough, some going over and above the agreed upon amount. Together, the staff and students from both the Mawewa Primary in Mathare, and Mawewa High School, were able to raise KES 19,200 ($192).
Together, united as a family, a large number of staff members and students attended the funeral. With words of encouragement, visits with food, and quiet presence, various members of the Mawewa staff and students stood together with Kelvin. They were a wall of strength, a fold of encouragement and a haven of comfort during one of life’s hardest experiences. Watching this show of support, Kelvins family was grateful for the care and concern shown to Kelvin. One of Kelvin’s aunt’s admired the school’s commitment to standing with Kelvin, where most schools’ would not go beyond informing a child that something had happened and they were needed at home.
Soon after the funeral, Kelvin returned to school. The school fraternity walked with him, letting him know that he could approach any teacher for counseling. His friends also showed special care for Kelvin, engaging him in various activities and letting him know that they too grieved with him. As the school broke for the end of year holidays, Kelvin and his older brother have tried to offer their mother support and encouragement as they all get used to their new life together without their father. Kelvin continues to enjoy the support of his Mawewa School friends who live nearby, and as he looks forward to a new school year, we pray for strength and encouragement for him and his family in 2018.
“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care —then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends…”
– Philippians 2:1-2 MSG