Published: April 10th 2008April 6th 2008
At the state run orphanage
So many kids and so few to help care for them.
I arrived back to Kenya just a few short weeks ago with joy and a sigh of relief. Due to political problems and a few other events I was gone longer than expected. For two months the country was covered in the red of bloodshed, black of smoldering homes and a gray sorrow cast a shadow over their people as they watched their country untwine.
Kenya is a bit more peaceful now that the leaders signed an agreement to work together. That helped everyone to breathe a sigh of relief. Thanks so much to those who prayed for the county and for IAA during such a scary time!
During the violence Christine, our on-site administrator, and two of our girls had to be whisked away by motorcycles after a very frightening ordeal. A couple of our staff and volunteers had an angry mob throw rocks at our vehicle and taunt the accompanying police to shoot into their rowdy crowd. Daily life for these people became something that we experience only on the big screen in America. I am sure they would have rather seen it than experienced it.
After the country started to cool down and
So much for jaccuzi style
they didn’t have to worry about daily survival, attention was directed to the over 300,000 displaced people. Christine stated at one time, “I feel like a refugee in my own country”. Thankfully she had a home to come to, unlike so many others.
I too am glad to be back at my home here in Kenya. It did not take long to be welcomed by the daily challenges of getting things done. For example today my computer sits staring at me, impervious to my pleas for cooperation. Refusing even to go into hibernation mode upon my command, she dares me to try to accomplish anything on her that would be of meaning. This week, as if a foolish April fools trick, she has acted up, teased and simply quit on me numerous times. She taunts me and reminds me that things simply are not easy here. So, I must choose to focus on other things…
I am encouraged when I focus on the children and the fact that their personalities vary just as broadly as the colors on an artist’s palette. Most recently we witnessed how the pain of the people washed away a layer of apprehension and
selfishness in our kids and what shone through were their true beautiful colors that painted over the shadows of despair. Nelson’s (our oldest boy) sincerity was as deep as a navy blue; solid and strong as he wrote home to our volunteer, Auntie Donna,from school one day,
“Dear Auntie Donna,
Hi there , I miss everybody a lot. School is still going on well and we are still nearing our exams for the indexing to be administered to class eight in preparation for K.C.P.E. I have written this letter Auntie Donna because I feel so much touched by God's love that I need to help the people who are suffering a lot. I want you and I to organize a trip to Limuru to help the affected. The Njabini secondary school offered to help by creating a small group which contributed about seven thousand shillings ($90) and made a trip there where they helped the people by buying things like fat,salt,oil and many other things. I felt so proud of them for such an action. I know I am still young but God is telling me to do it. Please! Please! do not stop me to do this. I
better use a matatu (taxi) to go there. I want you to collect all the clothes that are not fitting the kids well and shoes and those things they do not like.
Put them together and in two weeks after exams we can roll on. I have already made a discussion with the girl who defeats me in class position 1 and she said that she will offer all the help she can. She told me if it ok with you she will call her Father and maybe he can also contribute something. Just like I was helped I will also help. I have also spoken with my teachers about the thought and they have said that we are going to discuss about that. I know that I already have five thousand shillings.($71.00) I don't care whether it is used in helping God's people. I have also copied a prayer for everybody to pray every day. It was given in the school and we were told to be always praying. It is for our people in Kenya who are affected. Maybe Mama Jane and many others can offer help by sending clothes and money.
As for me I know two
Traditional breakfast or snack. This was the "before flies" shot.
places, that is Limuru and a church here in Njabini. If it is God's will let it be and may He do according to what He likes. Francis and Eunice and Caren are also doing fine. I know that I don't get time to come out to say Hi but I shall see you on the 1st of March. Please let us do this. If there is anyone who wants to help , let them help. Let Mama Jane know about my plan. Please make copies of the Prayer and post them in the home and one in the van for the kids to pray before going to school in the morning and after school.
I hope that the plan will all work. I feel God's love telling me to do it. I thought about it today and decided to do it. I will also talk to the Priest at school about it after you answer me back. Please make a quick reply. For the more we delay the more people suffer. So lets do it. Thank you a lot. Say Hi to everyone there.
Love and miss everybody
PS: I hope Teacher is back
Nelson and the crew
Singing songs with children placed in the "Displaced People Camps".
from her hiding place. Say Hi to her Tell her to be here on the 1ST of March. It is Administration Day.”
His letter was passed around and due to his heart of compassion other sent in over $250 to be used for his outreach.
The outreach was a huge success. He went with “Uncle” Jeremy (our volunteer of 3 months), 4 other of our children, Christine and 2 other staff members to the “Displaced People Camps” where large families share tents, have no running water, very few possessions and very limited supplies. What they came home with was the satisfaction of knowing they made a difference…and another child! A little girl named Teresiah…
Teresia’s single mother died a few years back. She and two other children were left in the care of the grandmother. During the post-election raids they had to flee from their homes in order to avoid being burned or hacked to death. They ended up in one of the camps where they slept on foam “mattresses” on the ground. That is where the grandmother learned about IAA. When she found out there was a place that Teresia could have a home, food, shelter
Chillin' at the pool
Newton, Ruthie and Solomon trying to teach Ann how to play in the water.
and an education she sadly but willingly relinquished her. We are thankful that the grandmother is looking for housing a bit closer so she will be able to visit.
Teresia speaks her mother tongue and Kiswahili but no English. That doesn’t prevent her from communicating with a gentle smile. She is mild natured and our girls Maggie and Lydia quickly took her under their wings. They are so pleased to have another girl who loves pink and with whom the can twirl and spin like little ballerinas.
Just a week later we also added a new boy to our family. Newton is only six but thinks he is a big man inside his little body. He has a lot of spunk and joy. Newton speaks only Luo, which makes it even more difficult for him to communicate. English and Kiswahili are the predominant languages at home and at school.
Newton’s mother remarried after she had Newton and soon his mother and stepfather died of AIDS. The family of the stepfather didn’t want “Newt” because he was not a blood relative. So, as simple as that, just like dropping an unwanted dog at the pound, they were going
Our new little guy's first time to go to a swimming pool
to go drop the small boy off for someone else to raise. IAA got Newton the day he was being taken to Nairobi Children’s Home. We are so thankful he didn’t have to sleep even one night there as it is a harsh place for any child.
There is a song about God’s deliverance that is often sung in the church. The last time I sang it my heart was overwhelmed at the goodness of God and how he hand picked these two little kids and took them from a terrible situation and placed them in a home full of life and love. How gracious as He does the same with us. He takes our drab picture and splashes brilliant hues of every color to make our story beautiful.
One of the things I enjoy doing here is taking our kids on outings. Last week Jeremy and I took 14 of the kids shopping. We had to go to the outdoor market to buy school jackets. The market is set upon rough ground and there are little rocky paths between each vendor. It is a maze inside lined with planks where the vendors sit, yelling out their
And you think you have hard work!
prices for jeans, jackets, socks, blankets, shoes and just about everything else you could need. The rows between the planks are narrow, just wide enough for two people to squeeze by each other. So, in order to get all 14 kids to one place, I had to take the lead and we formed a long single line, like marching ants. Jeremy followed in the back making sure none got left behind. Heads turned and we could see the women smile broadly, not sure what to make of our little multicolored army.
Over the Easter weekend we took the same 14 kids and the 2 babies (4 of our kids are away at boarding school) to the swimming pool. We had some of the staff and Auntie Donna with us as well to make sure we didn’t lose anyone. The kids had a blast playing in the water. A rainstorm came which quickly chilled everyone to the bone and the kids shivered until we thought their skin would jiggle right off their little bodies. We finally had to run under the heavy sheets of rain for the cars. Giggles and squeals poured out of the kids as heavily as the
Joseph was the champ of the marshmallow contest...about the only time to be proud of having a big mouth.
rain poured out of the skies so I am confident to say it was a memorable day for all.
Maggie, Janet and Ann are all doing well in high school. Ann was happy to enter a boarding school this year. Going to day school then coming home to milk the cow, work in the garden, carry water, and cook over an open fire was proving to be too much responsibility. By staying at the boarding school she is able to focus more on her studies. Janet and Maggie also are happy to be learning.
Christ Covenant Center- a boarding school built in the slums is still functioning. Their enrollment is down, as many of the kids had to flee their shacks during the violence and have not yet returned. The school, run by my dear friend Regina, functions fully out of faith. Their bunk beds, 3 beds high, sleep 6 kids. Not all the beds even have appropriate mattresses…they are thin pieces of foam that simply keep the wires from poking the bodies of the sleeping teens. There are 80 kids this semester and daily these kids ask God for their daily bread
Only 2 more to go Simon...keep shoving!
because there are no parents guaranteeing there will be some on the table.
Jeremy and ITHM were both able to make a financial contribution to help them have food this month.
Spring Valley- another school built on the outskirts of yet another slum is doing well. We are so happy for Pinellas Christian Church of Florida who has decided to partner with the school for the year to help provide salaries for the staff and food for over 200 children that are fed daily.
Hope Given Children’s Home- was able to purchase a cow thus far and have milk daily for their children.
Baby dorm at IAA: The roof is almost complete and the window frames are going in on this big, new dorm. There is a lot of work of plastering, painting, and finishing that need done. I almost hope it doesn’t get done too quickly because we are not quite ready to add more babies. Everyday is a challenge and chore to efficiently and effectively get everything accomplished on our lists.
The other night I went to dinner with a group of South Africans that are heading to the Sudan to do
Chilling with the peeps.
an outreach. As they told stories of the children there that flee from raiders so they can escape slavery (the amount of slavery that exists today is unbelievable in most Westerns eyes but it is true), and avoiding gunshots, etc. I sat back from my dinner plate where I had just enjoyed a piece of savory meat, freshly fried fish, and rice and thought to myself just how tiny my problems are in the scope of this great big world.
I am thankful to be on this little piece of dark rich soil (both physically and spiritually) in Kenya and I pray to God that He helps me do my part of planting seeds that will grow into something strong, sturdy and eternal.
Thanks to all that contribute to the growing process of these children we call our own. Thanks Jeremy for all the work and laughter you contributed. We miss you already.
Thanks Len and Linda for all you did last year for so many, and thanks teams for the love you brought in bundles.
We look forward to seeing many more of you in the future!
If you would like to contribute
Jen and Janet
Learning the local ways of doing things.
to the work tax deductible checks can be made out to:
23223 S. Warmstone Way
Katy, TX 77494
There are more photos below