I’m here! After many airline delays, and rerouted flights, I finally made it to Kenya. And so far, my visit has been so much fun!
Our first stop was to a Life Center. Bavuni School is a church where children visit on Saturday mornings to learn Christian Character Building (CCB) from a curriculum produced by Childcare Worldwide (CCW). They learn Bible verses to memory, sing songs, and then have a lunch of porridge and juice. Our visit was with the pastor, children and some of their parents. The children sang and recited scripture. The pastor delivered a short message, then my colleague Peter Horne (affiliated with CCW since its beginning) told a story on character that was quite animated. The kids laughed as Peter told them that God sees everything they do, and that because of Jesus Christ, they are forgiven. I stood up and greeted the crowd, sending well wishes from the staff at CCW. I loved meeting the kids and seeing their school.
After we said our goodbyes, we had lunch with a very special young lady named Emma Wanjiku. Emma contracted HIV at a young age, and has suffered from the disease for years. With medical help, she’s become healthy, but she is in need of further medication to test her blood to know how much of the virus is still in her.
If the test produced a low enough or even negative result, she could have the hope of someday getting married. The medication she needs is a 30-day supply of pills, taken once per day. The cost per pill is 120 Kenya Shillings, or about $1.20 USD. For the month’s supply, she would need $36 dollars. She told me she could never imagine having that amount of money. It is simply impossible. $36 dollars is a simple dinner out for my wife and I. We do it without thinking. For Emma, that amount is insurmountable. This kind of need is everywhere in Kenya. Yet, in spite of her circumstances, she has the joy of the Lord in her heart.
Emma is just one of many incredible people I met in Kenya. But my best experiences in Kenya were yet to come.
THE REASON FOR OUR WORK
I was wondering when it would happen. It happened on Day Two. God melted my heart for these kids. It’s like a connection was made. I was humbled. Brought low. He showed me how blessed I am. I feel as if I’ve been given the reason for the work I’m doing.
After bumping down the dirt road to Kiserian Life Center for 20 km, we finally arrived, and we were greeted in grand fashion. The children stood as we walked into the church, and they were dressed in their school uniforms. I can’t tell you what a privilege it was to be given such hospitality. They gave me gifts – a handmade beaded belt, a gourd, a handmade bracelet and a jar of local honey. This was a very special thing. I know it took them a long time to make these gifts, and the honey they gave me was worth real income to them. I was overjoyed at their generosity.
The kids and their parents performed a song of welcome for me. How special!
Later we walked around the area looking at school buildings CCW has funded. I was able to see a water system installed by CCW. When it came time to leave, I promised the kids of Kiserian that I would visit them again – I can’t wait to go back. My memories of my time with these precious kids will keep me inspired for a long time to come. They’re the reason we do this!
THE BLESSING OF CLEAN WATER
Our next stop was the Kaptembwo Slum, a humble place with wonderful people where we dedicated a new water system. They greeted us with great hospitality and reverence. The church and school has many young students and dedicated teachers who really care. The theme of the event was “Water Is Life!” I can’t imagine what it is like to be worried about the water coming into your neighborhood, but for these people, dirty water is an everyday reality. In the slum, the water that is pumped into the area is terrible. It carries many diseases which make the kids sick and prevents them from attending school. The water catchment system helps a great deal. By collecting and filtering water, it becomes safe for consumption. It was a privilege to represent Childcare Worldwide who funded and installed the system. After a ribbon cutting ceremony, we ran the water and the kids washed and drank some of the clean water. I couldn’t stop smiling as I watched their faces light up with joy at the sight of the clean, and clear water.
CHILD SPONSORSHIP WORKS
Later in my travels around Kenya I met a young man named David who exemplifies the work CCW is doing. David was sponsored by CCW as a child and he’s now the Deputy Head Teacher at the Life Center.
What a success story! He is a great example of what happens through child sponsorship. He said if it wasn’t for the help from his sponsor and CCW, he would have never had a chance at getting an education. And David’s education is what now allows him to provide for himself and his family. I was so happy to meet this man!
David mentioned that in over 25 years at this Life Center, former sponsored kids have grown into adults and are now Educators (25), Administrators (7), Engineers (27), Business Managers (14), Accountants (6), Agriculturists (5), Tourism Professionals (3), HR Directors (6), and Theologians (1).
Child Sponsorship Works!
WHERE TO NEXT?
Tomorrow is my last day in Kenya. I head to Uganda in the evening to visit our office there and see more of our field work. I have already been blessed by the people, and humbled by their stories. It’s such a privilege to serve them through the work of CCW. God is doing great things here!
Childcare Worldwide is grateful to partner with generous people all over the world to build a better life for kids in need. If you’re interested in helping young people like those Bill met on his visit to Kenya, click here.