Today was a day of great joy for me! Three of us from Tenwek went to a local orphanage to assist in the building of a new girls’ dormitory. When we arrived the children gathered to see us and welcome us to their home. The orphanage is run by a wonderful couple, Alice and Samuel. They have five children of their own who live alongside the 65 orphans. The children come from all over and their stories are varied. Many have lost their parents to HIV/Aids. Some are the youngest in their family and as a result are neglected because the family resources aren’t enough for everyone. Often, they are made to tend to the cattle and are not given the chance to go to school. So, upon entering the orphanage they are suddenly well fed, attend school, and are cared for. They are also taught about a God who loves them and provides for them. Alice has them present memory verses each week at Sunday worship.
|Alice and Samuel
the only time they weren't smiling!
|Charles, Tom, and me at Kitoben|
|Eating African style with the fingers!|
Tom, a family physician from Kansas City, has been here many times and has worked with this orphanage by providing funding, organization, as well as manual labor. Charles, a retired builder from Kansas City, is here overseeing the construction of the thirty bed dorm. I mostly helped lay brick walkways between buildings. We used the dirt we dug up to place the walkway to do some grating so that water would run away from the housing area and not puddle up near the sleeping quarters. Standing water here means mosquitos, and mosquitos mean malaria for these children! The kids are genuinely happy and I loved hearing their laughter as we worked. The Kenyan adults worked right alongside of us. I was most impressed by the women, who work non-stop including hauling bricks, sand, and dirt. We had a vegetarian African lunch featuring some stringy green stuff, some brown pasty stuff, and some beans that looked like garbanzo but were way better! My only question about the food was to make sure it was cooked as raw African vegetables and my American GI tract do not mix! Prior to leaving, Samuel shared with us the story of starting the orphanage. His friends told him it was impossible, others said he would be harming his own children; others told him he didn’t have the resources or know how. But, he told us he knew that he could count on God’s strength to see them through. He stated “God knows what we have and what we don’t have. I know that I am not strong enough to do this, so we must rely on God’s strength.”
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. -James 2:27