With the mid-term break of Kenya’s first school term coming this weekend, I would like to share with you all a story about five girls who may rather stay in school. The first is Meir. Meir’s father died when she was very young and her mother had HIV. Her mother could not afford to pay for her own medication and food for Meir, so every morning Meir would pick through garbage and beg for money to buy food. At night, she would return home, sleep in her mother’s small hut, and head to the streets again the next morning. Meir and her very intelligent brain were almost wasted away living a horrific life on the streets. However, Meir has been living at the Keumbu Rehema Childrens Home for four years and last November scored extremely well on her high school admission national Kenyan exam (KCP exam).
The next is Delphine. Delphine also lived at the Keumbu Rehema Childrens Home and as well passed her exam with flying colors. A total orphan, Delphine worked extremely hard to get where she is today. The other three girls are Sylvia, Diana, and another Diana. All three live in our village of Nyaturubo, attended Emmanuel Lights Academy, and passed their exams with very high grades. All three, due to their familys’ financial situations, could not attend high school. All three were to stay in the village of Nyaturubo their entire lives. That is, until, Arrive and Fariji decided to do something about it.
Through fundraising efforts by Arrive, Fariji, and volunteers, we were able to sponsor all five of these bright young women to attend a national boarding school in Kenya!! National boarding schools are the best schools in the country, and the one where these girls attend (Moi Nyabohanse Girls High School) is near the Tanzanian border. Nell (past Arrive volunteer), Mama Terry and I did six hours of shopping for the girls back in January when they all left together for school. Now, they will be coming home for the first time for mid-term break and we are very excited to hear stories of their first experiences away from home. A new chapter in their lives has been opened, with endless opportunities!
Unfortunately, not all Kenyan children have the opportunity to attend school. I, along with a few volunteers, recently visited some of Nairobi’s most dangerous and least visited slums. All too common were five-year olds sniffing rags dipped in jet fuel, 15-year-old street girls sniffing glue with one hand and holding their new born babies in the other, and absolute desperation as children and elders alike lay drunk in piles of trash. We couldn’t take home all of the hundreds, if not thousands of street children they talked to there. A meal and a conversation does not take an orphan off the streets and into school, but it does let these children know that someone, somewhere cares about them and is working to improve their future. And for most of them, that is something they didn’t believe to be true.
Even in Kisii, closer to the Keumbu Rehema Childrens Home, there are children living and dying on the street. Last week I went to Kisii and met a 11-year-old street boy there.He lives next to a dumpster and spends most of his time inside the dumpster looking for thrown-away food. His leg had been cut by an old piece of broken glass. The photo to the right does not do the wound justice. It was very deep, with yellow puss oozing out. It was so painful he could barely walk. Infected cuts like these can easily kill small street children whose immune system is weak from malnutrition. It was a must that I take him to see a doctor, so we went together. After a tetanus shot, he was given painkillers, antibiotics, ointment, and other medication. Now, he is on the mend!
Finally, a quick update on our land. When Pastor told me the bulldozers are coming to plow our newly acquired 1.5 acre plot of land, I couldn’t understand how we would find bulldozers in rural Kenya. Well, I must have been dozing off myself – he said