Kenyan Feet

One evening last week, I decided to play football (soccer) with the children. We played for a couple of hours—kicking a ball that has seen better days through the dirt and dust that seem to cover everything in Kenya. I was wearing sandals, and as I’m sure you can imagine, by the end of our game, my feet were absolutely disgusting. The children and I walked back to the home and I decided to wash my feet. I went over to the water tank and found Fridah there. I asked her to let me know when she finished the washing she was doing so that I could wash my feet. She told me that she had already finished and then she asked me if she could wash my feet for me. Being that my feet were so dirty that I was actually embarrassed by the state they were in, I was hesitant, but Fridah insisted, so I took off my sandals and sat down as she began to carefully wash my feet. Once she finished with my feet, she took each of my sandals and gave them a thorough cleaning as well.

Throughout the process and after, I was overwhelmed by the picture of Christ that Fridah was portraying. The passage in the Bible where Jesus washes the feet of the disciples is one that we’re all pretty familiar with. I’ve had it read to me in a couple of instances where I would be in a position of leadership and that’s all well and good. But the thing is that for most of my life when I read that passage, the feet I pictured in my mind were American feet. They were feet that had had socks and shoes or maybe some flip-flops. They were feet that had been walking on a sidewalk or maybe the beach. Here in Kenya though, those aren’t the feet that I see. Those aren’t the feet that I had. Most of the roads in Kenya aren’t paved and what’s more, most people don’t have cars. So if you want to get somewhere and you don’t have the money for a piki-piki (motorbike taxi), you walk. Miles. Through the dust and the dirt. It’s one thing to mentally or physically wash imaginary dirt off someone’s feet. It’s another thing entirely to wash five miles worth of sweat, dirt, and odor off a person’s feet. That’s a whole new level of humility, and being that the roads in Jesus’ day weren’t paved and that cars also weren’t so prevalent, I’m guessing that the feet that Jesus washed were a lot closer to Kenyan feet.

I’m not entirely sure what the lesson is here. I guess you can decide for yourself. I just know that I still have so much to learn and my biggest teachers here in Kenya are children.

Love and a kingdom,
Erika