The Slums

 

Walking to Ngong

After church service, we all took about a mile walk to Ngong. It was nice because it gave us some last minute quality time with the kids. We were headed to the slum area of Ngong. It is a very poor and desperate area. The kid’s situation at Huruma didn’t even compare to what the kids were experiencing there. Mama Zipporah actually started her ministry out of the area. This personally was an eye-opening experience for me. I was blown away seeing first-hand the poverty situation of these people. Mama, Joseph and Linn spoke some words to the people. The Huruma gospel dancers and the acrobat team performed for them. One by one people came. A little girl walked up to me and wanted me to hold her. Seeing this part of Kenya was a very humbling way to end this trip.

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We then handed out bread and milk to the kids. For most of these kids, it will be the only meal they will get today. As I was helping, a gentleman came up to me and ask me if I would pray for him. I asked him what he would want me to pray for. He ask me that I would pray that he would receive salvation. I put my arm around him and prayed. I spent the trip back to Huruma in silence. I couldn’t put into words what I had experienced.

– T. Timmons

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150 Stories

Tonight our team met on the grounds between the school and the dorm rooms where the kids were already sleeping.  We made a circle under the beautiful starlit night and prayed for the needs we saw throughout these past two weeks.  Pastor Linn (on the trip with us) summed it up well: There are 150 Kids here at Huruma Orphanage, and at least 150 tragic stories of neglect or abuse. That has hit home with us in the past couple of weeks. It’s not the exception, it’s the rule…

Over the last couple of days, we have spent time with the kids shooting pictures, both goofy and serious, then they like to look how they come out. Samuel is a bright young man who I felt attached to right away.  You can’t help but love his infectious smile and cheerful attitude.  He is one of the few kids I’ve trusted to gently use my camera – not that it’s a real expensive camera, just that I appreciate that kind of respect as a sign of maturity.  Today, like many other days, I handed him my camera to take a few pictures of his friends. He carefully puts on the wrist strap, switches the camera between picture mode and video mode, takes some (actually cool looking) pictures, then hands me back the pictures.   He shakes my hand and says “Thank You Papa Smiley” to let me know he had a fun time.

Samuel goofing around for the camera

Samuel goofing around for the camera

Ann told me the story of several of the kids at the orphanage, she learned from some of the current teachers. I shouldn’t have been, but was shocked to learn how Samuel was found outside his home, ‘grazing’ in the field – his parents simply wouldn’t let him in the house. This boy that I had grown to Love was 12 years old but was only in the ‘Pre-K’ (before Kindergarten class) Ann and I both started to well up – we just couldn’t understand how anybody would let that happen to this special young man.

Last week we took a few kids to ‘Bonapet’, a place in Ngong Town to get ‘Chicken and Chips’.  It was a fun time to get to know some kids better and give them a little treat away from the home. At our table was Joshaphat, a shy young man of 12 years old. Ann asked if he had a sponsor, and he said he did, but hadn’t heard from him. Ann told him that if he could write the name, Ann would contact the person and have them write them. The kids don’t really care about the financial gifts, but the letters are kept and treasured, and shown to their fellow orphans. A while later after we went back to the Orphanage, Joshaphat ran out, found me, and gave me a little slip of paper with his sponsor’s name. He had remembered her name, but the sponsor had forgotten his.

As Ann and I walked through the dorm another night, a young lady ran up to Ann and told her she had a picture to show to Ann.  Ann was thinking that it was a picture she drew about something they had shared in class.  The girl had a big smile as she opened up the crumpled paper and revealed a picture of her with her sponsor family.  She was so proud she had to tell us.

Last week, a team of volunteers went into town to be with Kids who were taken to the local Aids clinic in the slums of Ngong.  One of the girls was scared, as some of her symptoms were worsening.  In a place as small as this, this fear was spreading to other Huruma kids with aids – they wondered if they were witnessing their fate.  I couldn’t help but think that all these kids really needed someone to talk to….

Tonight, Lucy told Stephanie, one of our team members about how she was upset about her parent’s divorce.  We couldn’t understand how they could separate and forsake this lovely young lady…

150 Stories – Please remember to pray for the kids at Huruma…

– Dave Smiley

Driving in Kenya

We concluded our last day of VBS today. Praise God that we had around 95 kids a day show up. They loved it! Overall, it went very well. They got flip flops and sunglasses to wear. We also started painting the outside of the building where the kids sleep. It is looking great!

Painting Huruma

Painting Huruma

I also got a taste of driving in Kenya for the first time. Stephanie, Derek and I took 7 kids out to dinner for chicken and chips (fries) at the Bonapet Cafe in Ngong. I got to drive the van. Everything is backwards compared to America. The steering wheel is on the right side of the car and they drive on the left side of the street. It was quite the adventure, but we made it there and back safely. The kids loved it! They rarely get outside Huruma and have a nice dinner like this. After dinner, we enjoyed a round of Kenyan tea for dessert.

– Travis Timmons

Chicken n chips at the Bonapet Cafe

Chicken n chips at the Bonapet Cafe

music in the night.

Thus ends our first day of VBS for the younger children. We had an amazing outcome of about 100 kids and they really seemed to have enjoyed it. I help out with the crafts station in the dining hall, making banners that the kids will work on each day. The first group we had was the 10-12 year olds, and even though they were our biggest group, they were the most cooperative. Then came the younger kids. Um, wow. It was so chaotic! They got paint EVERYWHERE; in their hair, on their clothes, on us! Though I have to admit, now it is hilarious to think about it. Our final group was the 6-9 year olds. They were better at keeping clean then the younger ones but we still had to tell them to sit down about 20 times. In the end though, the banner backgrounds came out looking fantastic. Each group blended their colors together better then we imagined. It was so much fun seeing the kids with the smiles on their faces and to have the chance to get to talk to kids we usually don’t see.
Our afternoon was a free day so everyone just did there own thing. The group got together for dinner and got to debrief about VBS. Tonight was my night to lead the devotion and I decided to share the day 5 devotion in the book Lisa got for us. The story it led me through was Jesus feeding the 5000 people with the fish and bread, it talked about God providing for us and it made me think about the shirts and sandals that we gave out for VBS. I shared how I was afraid that we wouldn’t have enough of the right sizes of cloths for each kid and in the end everything worked out perfectly. I also shared about how hard it was to make the decision to stay till December and how I still have no idea why God wants me here. Now that I am getting used to being here I am a lot more confident in my decision, but there are still times I wonder if I made the right choice. I still go to bed every night thanking God for bringing me here and ask him to show me what he has planned for me. I get more excited thinking about the time I will spend here and the relationships I will build.

Today was a busy day for everyone; I am actually having “girl talk” with my roommates at this very moment. Thank you for spending time to check up on our blog and see what we are doing here. Goodnight! =]

– Heather

the yellow team

Kids in their VBS shirts

Sunday Morning Service

Pastor Linn (with translator) preaching

Pastor Linn (with translator) preaching

Church services in Kenya usually last a few hours. But today it went by fast with all the singing and dancing. It was a lot of fun. Our very own Pastor Linn Winters was the guest speaker for the day. He spoke a messege on faith. He made it fun by having one of the kids walk a balance beam that broke when he was halfway across. Then a second kid walked all the way across another beam blindfolded that didn’t break. Basically Pastor Linn was trying to demonstrate that it is what you put your faith in that matters, not how much faith you have.  The second kid put his faith in the stronger board. We need to put faith in trusting Christ. It was a great sermon and the kids enjoyed it. After church, we all headed to the Junction and grabbed some lunch at the Java House – a restaurant that serves American food. We all enjoyed getting a little taste of home.

Maasai Village

Made part of the Maasai Tribe

Travis, Micah & Derek being made part of the Maasai Tribe

We got a chance to visit the the Maasai today. They were very warm and friendly. The Maasai are a warrior tribe that still upholds ancient customs. They may have multiple wives. The men can trade cows or their sister for a wife or have a jumping contest. The wives then make a home out of cow dung. There are no windows, just a little small hole. Men are circumcised in a public ceremony at age 16 and are not allowed to show pain or they are disgraced.

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Maasai men like to jump

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Pastor Linn stands in the center of the village

 

Weekend Safari

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Cornerstone crew on a safari

For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

– Isaiah 45:18

This weekend we got a chance to reflect on God’s creation. We took a long trek out to the Maasai Mara. It was amazing seeing the animals in their natural habitat. Lions, elephants & giraffes were only yards away.

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Hanging on the Maasai Mara

Hanging out on the Maasai Mara