burden of the first born

A little more info about the Chome boys... They have all sacrificed to keep Japhet in school.
He is 18 and will be a high school senior. Sifa is 16 and only going into 7th grade. Shukurani is 14 and going into 6th. These two are several years behind where they should be. Lemmy is 7 and going into 1st grade, so he hasn't fallen behind like the middle brothers have. As the eldest, it would be Japhet's responsibility to graduate from high school and work to pay for his brothers to get through high school, which is why they sacrifice to get him through.

If the 3 younger boys need anything while Japhet is in school, they still go to him to ask for money, which he would then have to borrow from the principal. Even though they are living with their grandmother, as the first born, Japhet is responsible for the well-being of his brothers and for their education.

We are so impressed with the way Japhet is shouldering this responsibility. From reaching out to us for help to cutting through the bush to make a road so that help could come more easily. And then this:

As I said in the previous post, our friend Liz (who is on holiday for Christmas) became our first Maisha Kamili Volunteer and took the boys shopping for their uniforms and school supplies. Liz told Japhet that on the day they were to go shopping, they should start walking from home to meet her at the matatu stage at 6 am.

He woke up at 2 am and had himself and his brothers ready to go at 4, and they set out walking early. They arrived at the stage very early, and being early really doesn't happen in this culture. Liz said that shopping that day they realized that this is really happening - that we really are going to make sure they get through school. She said their faces lit up, like they had only just then begun to live.

We find it impossible to witness something like this without being moved to tears of mixed emotions. There is the grief that children could have life so hard. But what's overwhelming is the joy of being used by God to change their lives, for the better.

That look on their faces? We call that hope.