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Lavoisier in Kenya

Lavoisier in Bosco Boys


This God of us is a funny God. One must expect the unexpected with God. There is so much that happens what one does not expect and in many ways really surprises me. My faith and relationship with God is sometimes so basic, doubtful, trying to reason out with my limited human reason of logic. God in many ways has a logic of his own, warmer and deeper than the detached logic of reason.

Why be a volunteer? What is the point of my volunteering? Would it make me a better catholic or for that matter a better human? Would it deepen my faith? These questions along with so many other questions always baffled me before my departure from England. Was it another tick box in my “to do list” of life? Would my presence as a volunteer make any difference? In no way was I going to change the world. There were so many mixed feelings, confusion. I did not know what to expect. The fear of the unknown, being out of my comfort zone. With only skills in teaching and computer studies to offer, of what help would I be to the street boys?

However, Don Bosco was not new to me. Don Bosco and Dominic Savio were the saints that I had been grooved in my 14 years of Salesian schooling. All those fears haunted me a lot just before my departure, but the words from my mother eliminated a lot of this fear when she said “why are you worried, you are going to a known family – the Salesian Family?”. But deep down there was always this feeling that this experience had more to offer me rather than what I could offer. So I took that leap, and came to Bosco Boys Nairobi as a mzungu. There were so many exhilarating moments but I will summarize here just a few. Funny enough I got a new name – “Love” rather than my name Lavoisier. In no doubt I loved being called Love as there was always a frequent mention of it either during holy mass or elsewhere. I was indeed made to feel at home by the pre-novice brothers and enjoyed every bit of their funny “two things involved” discussions, games and prayers. Something, which really caught my eye, was the dancing during mass and the enthusiasm with which the boys sang and danced. In them, I saw what the Salesian regional superior Fr. Basanes said, “Africa lives the Gospel”. Moreover, I was happy to experience it.


Faith and how one relates to a loving God in poverty, abuse and neglect was always a question that confused me. Nevertheless, what Mama John (the cook & mother in Bosco Boys Langata) said in one of our faith related discussions with me was truly inspiring. She said, “We come naked in this world and we leave this world naked”.

I have always been a firm believer that life is not made up of milestones but of moments. Truly, my stay in Bosco Boys was blessed with so many good moments. But there was also a sad moment in the death of a Bosco boy Charles Mutinda. I can vividly remember my conversation with Charles as we wanted to have a running race the next day of my arrival. I am sure he is in heaven now. However, there have been other countless, priceless and funny moments in my short experience both at Kuwinda and at Langata. I am very grateful to Fr. Sebastian for having me, and the Salesian community for their hospitality. One cannot forget Fr. Makarios and all the wonderful volunteers for their support and help.

But I would like to finish with something what Fr. Peter Mutunga said in one of his homilies: “It’s the same God that provides us and the same God that takes”. God provided me with this experience. Moreover, it was not about changing the world or making a difference. It was an experience that has brought change in my life, helping me grow and deepen my faith.

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 10:55


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