Thank God for Joanne Young. More than anyone else, Joanne has built relationship and trust with our friends here in Kenya. Because of this trust, our friends have started to open up to her and share their stories. A few days ago, O and E’s 14 yr old daughter, Irene, happened to run into Bo coming back from the store. She offered to help carry groceries and walked with him back to the hotel. Joanne and Bo treated her to lunch and spent the afternoon talking with her.
Joanne brought book with her that tells the story of a woman who came out of trauma, prostitution and addiction. After hearing about the book, Irene began to share about her friend at school. This young girl’s father murdered her mother and then turned on her. He raped her and then cut and beat her face, leaving her face almost disfigured because of the scaring. Most of the kids at Irene’s school avoid the girl and are mean to her. But Irene went out of her way to befriend the her. There is another girl who actually suffers from leprosy. Similarly, all the other children avoid her and make fun of Irene for going near her. But she is Irene’s friend. Irene is pretty, smart, a dancer, and popular, but she has a much greater depth than your average 14 year old. When we talk about investing in and believing in the future of Kenya, I am seeing Onesmus and Esther’s kids as prime examples of the potential in the children here. Not only are they scoring at the top of their class in school, but they have a heart and a love for the broken. We can see that they love the 7 children who O and E have taken in to their home as well. Mark, their youngest son, considers them to be his brother and sisters. And thank God, because these 7 children are in such need of love and true family.
Isabel, whose focus is caring for the 7 kids, also began to open up to Joanne about the trauma of the children. She said that Mercy, who is about 5 years old, will rarely speak at all. Her teachers say that she is driven and extremely bright, but her social skills are lacking and she does like to interact with the other kids. Isabel said that she does not usually ask the kids about their past because if she does, they begin to cry. So we still do not really know the stories of the 4 kids who were taken off the streets. We must pray for the Lord to heal the trauma of these little ones and for wisdom in that process.
While Joanne spent time with Isabel getting the inside scoop, we had our second meeting with the grandmothers yesterday. It appears that their greatest need for becoming more self-sufficient is a more consistent water source. There are water tanks, which cost around $200, that can store rainwater for use during the dry season. If they had water, they could grow more food and a greater variety of food. This was their idea/solution to the problem. So we will look more in to this option. We also asked for women to share any other business ideas they may have. There were a few who have some promising ideas, including a woman who has already started a small chicken business. Right now, we are looking for the women who stand out and show the potential and the motivation to become a success story. Our meeting also revealed a lot of fear in the women to take risk and lose the little security they possess. We need a few heroes who can inspire and motivate others to step out. We plan to follow up with these potential heroes next week.
Today we visited Sha’s school and spent the evening with Sha. Tomorrow Bo, Onesmus and I will go visit a fellowship in Kitui while Esther, Elizabeth, and Joanne go visit the land. Thanks for praying!