Portion for Orphans

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Portion for Orphans Newsletter

May 4, 2005

Dear Friends and Family,

Hope that this update finds all of you doing well and enjoying spring in Texas (most of you anyway.) It's Rainy season here in Kenya, but I find it really nice. There's a good breeze and everything is green. Everyone is planting and I've heard that many children won't come to school for some time for that reason. Life is different here. :)

I think of you guys so often and miss you and home a lot. However, I am so happy to be here and I'm learning to understand why so many people have decided to spend their lives here. I've not yet decided on whether I'll be returning here to stay, but it's an option. It's been very tough for me, but it's the tough times that challenge us to be greater people and to depend on God more. Perseverance...Patience.

I would like to share about the changes that are taking place here and about how the children are being taken care of so well due to your generosity and support, especially all the Sunday School girls at CVBC who did the 2nd fundraiser for St. Joseph House of Hope. Maybe someone who receives this update can make sure that it is read to Scott's Sunday School class, and all the others who took part.

The students have been on vacation for a few weeks now, well vacation from classes at least. However we've had two children in the hospital for 3 weeks each and have been caring for them daily as well as making some changes in the center here. One of the students is named Riziki, she's 14. She broke her leg playing soccer and was admitted to the hospital for 3 weeks to be put on traction - I don't know if they do that at home or not. Now she has a cast and is staying with me because it is close to the school and her elderly grandmother cannot take care of her in this condition. Her mother died a long time ago and her father... he's not around. The money that the church raised covered her x-rays and for a lady to stay in the hospital and care for her. The conditions there were really bad so we're glad that she's been released. We covered about half of the total bill and a group from Germany covered the other half. If she didn't attend our school, I don't know what would've happened to her. Her total bill was about $100. She will stay with me until the changes being made on the new girls' dorm are finished. So, there are 3 of us now in my room, Riziki, Connie(13) and myself. Connie just recently moved in. Her father died years ago and she and I both remember that her mother died during my visit to Kenya. These will be the first two girls who Carol will put in the girl’s dorm when it is ready. She has a list of the others who are in greatest need.

Samwell is the other child was hospitalized. He is 8 years old and is in one of our upper level Pre-school classes. He came to us 4 weeks ago totally stiff and unable to move or talk. He had gotten a parasite in his toe that they call a jigger. It's common here, and if not taken care of properly, the children can easily get Tetanus like Samwell did. He had gone for quite some time before coming to our clinic and for that reason he became very ill. The mother had been taking him to see a witchdoctor and like many babies in the surrounding area, he had some special charms and materials tied around him to protect him. That is very common here. He came to us and the teachers prayed for him and we took him to the hospital. He was in ICU for 3 weeks and they weren't sure if he'd make it or if so, in what condition he would be. 4 weeks later after a hospital bill of $15, Samwell is smiling, moving around and at home again. Our fundraisers covered the bill and the little boy is alive and will hopefully return to school soon. At the hospital, there were also two other ladies and their children seated outside who'd been dismissed but were unable to leave until they paid their bill, one was $1.50 and the other was $10. They'd been sleeping on the ground waiting for someone to help them. We covered their bills too and took them home. It's unbelievable what people go through here for lack of so little money.

We are currently finishing up the 'New Kitchen/Storage Area' project and putting in cement ovens right now. It is really nice and it's permanent so the rains won’t wash it away. Over the break, we've put shelves in the main office and organized everything. I'm especially happy that the books are now arranged in four levels so that the teachers will be able to check them out for their students. We've also appointed the Head Mistress to be more of an Assistant Director of the entire center. This week we'll be helping her learn to do that job and getting her organized to be able to keep better records for each child.
We've moved the 5 boys who currenlty live here to another building and we are making some changes to their old dorm. We are adding on a room for a matron and when I leave there will be room for 10-12 girls living there with one of the teachers. I love living with these girls. It's been quite an adventure every day. We're learning to communicate with each other, I'm learning what it means to care for orphans, and children of another culture at that. I'm trying hard to be simple and not to give them too much so as to make them feel discontent with their own ways. They have really enjoyed looking at all the Hope Run pictures and also the pictures from the Church Lunch. They are now writing letters to some of the girls. :) When I leave, one of the teachers will be their matron and it will be good to have someone who's able to really counsel and guide them in their native tongue.

This week our funds will cover the salaries of about 10 of the teachers here, as well as the cooks and workers and construction materials. There's a lot going on and we're real excited about the changes that are taking place.

All the children returned to the center yesterday and I'm so happy to see them again. They are now cleaning up the school and getting ready for classes to start. If it weren't for this center, these children would not be able to receive an education and many of them who live with relatives or single mothers would not be receiving proper nourishment and health care. Some days are really hard, for all of us, but when the children sing and when they all have food to eat and are healthy and happy... it makes it all worth it.

In just a few short weeks, I'll be coming home again. I miss America a lot, and my family, but I know that I'm learning way more than I realize now. I look forward so much to seeing everyone and to stepping away for a while to think about what I've seen and learned and what I'll do next.
I feel I'm leaving out so much, but I have little time and need to finish up. I'm very thankful for all of you and your prayers... they've caused mine to be answered more quickly than ever before in my life.
Though we've done so much here already, those of you who've continued to give have almost kept our balance equal to what it was when I first came. This will allow us to continue to support the center even after I leave. :)

God Bless You guys.