Oct 14 2008

Bob’s report: Visit to Kenya

Mission Awareness Trip
Sept. 13 ñ 23, 2008
†ìTo be a peacemaker, one must possess peace interiorly. Peace in the world passes through personal conversion.î
ó Poster at Emmaus Centre, Nairobi.

Nairobi, Nanyuki, Juja, Matiri and Timau are currently the principal project sites in Kenya. The expressed felt needs of families in the Nairobi project are known through home visits. Education and health care are key benefits, but there are others such as food provisions, hot lunches, clothes, school uniforms, recreation, values formation, workshops and training, parent groups and family assistance. Parents are allowed to send their children to the school of their choice.

Nairobi mothers groups

Nairobi mothers group coordinator Milka shared her experience with the formation of mothers groups in Kenya. The violence of early 2008, with 42 tribes fighting each other, challenged the groups. ìWe were close to becoming another Rwanda,î she said.

The groups provide HIV training and counseling, promote peaceful co-existence among communities, develop environmental programs, counsel members in avoiding drug abuse, promote equal education for girls and boys and invite dads to participateówhen there is a dad.

A loving umbrella

Alex Musendi, one of 77 Nairobi scholarship students, spoke. ìI thank God for the loving umbrella of CFCA. Ö Both my parents died when I was very small. I was a poor village boy who came to Nairobi alone. I thought it was the end of my life when my sponsor lost her job Ö but this beautiful organization became a father and a mother to me. I say to everyone, stand tall and preach the good news. One day, life will be brighter. Somebody, somewhere needs help just like me.î

We enjoyed informative sessions about each aspect of the Nairobi project. The staff membersí reports reflected transparency and great professionalism. Peter Ndundo, Nairobi project coordinator, showed off the attractive and welcoming new headquarters for CFCA-Nairobi.

On CFCA African Heritage Day at the Stima Club in Nairobi, we participated and observed many wonderful dances, joined by moms, staff, scholarship students, children and aging. A hot lunch followed for the estimated 1,500 in attendance.††

In Juja

Juja Project Coordinator Sister Louise has spent 22 years in Kenya, 50 years in Africa. The project serves 262 sponsored children up to grade 4. She spoke about how the crisis last January affected her compound. ìIn each room, we had a family hidden. Öî

Sponsors were treated to entertainment by mothers and children, including an original composition by 8-year-old Peter, ìJoy is CFCA;î a poem about AIDS by two girls; and a tumbling act with 10 boys. Late in the afternoon, we left Juja for the journey to Embu, arriving just before dark.†

ëPlease donít forget usí

We have arrived in Matiri after two and a half hours of dust and rough roads. Matiri serves 2,846 sponsored. Hundreds of sponsored children and families welcomed us. Margaretís presentation: ìIíve been sponsored since 1999. I thank our creator. Iím going to progress, because I have hope. Please, donít forget us. Prayers can move mountains. We promise to pray for you.î

Timau

Entering Timau, we are greeted by a welcome dance with the aging along the highway to the entrance of the compound. Valentine read her poem describing a childís view of last Januaryís crisis in Kenya and Yvonne performed an original song.

In Timau, many squatters and homeless people are taken in by false promises of politicians. Most live in a poor, rented room. Two hundred of our sponsored families have been able to significantly improve their living situation. New homes have been built with CFCA direction. The homes have three rooms, a cement floor and a good roof from CFCA sponsors. The homes are an answer to their prayer.

Timau Project Coordinator Sister Joanne: ìWe would rather be into self-actualization projects. However, our current reality demands that we address critical needs first.î

The life span in Kenya is now up to 52 from the 40s previously.

Just about sunset, we were able to visit the new farm and homestead provided to her sponsored family by Marcia Willman, director of child services at CFCA-Kansas. Marcia has sold some of her original paintings to provide these wonderful benefits.

ëI can now look at the future with confidenceí

Testimony to sponsors by a sponsored child of the Nanyuki project:

ì Ö My mother was a casual worker in Nanyuki town. In 2003, she started falling sick. Ö She grew very weak, and we had to nurse her. Ö In 2004, my mother quietly passed away in the hospital. Ö Soon we children also started getting frequent attacks of cough, malaria, fever and infections. Ö It was during this time when a CFCA coordinator visited us. My grandmother and my sister were also sick. We were taken to Dr. Marjorie. She diagnosed us as HIV- positive.

ìIn 2005, I sat for my exams while I was in the hospital. I passed well, and I was invited to attend a private secondary school. The sister in charge of the school refused to admit me. She said I was a big risk to the other students. Ö The CFCA coordinator got an alternative school for me. Ö Soon my sponsors learned of my poor health and started sending extra funds for my medical care. This money has since been used to buy food and supplements Ö. These have really improved my health, together with the antiretrovirals.

ìI am now in the second year of high school and my health has improved a lot. Ö Today, I am a strong confident lady as you can see. CFCA has removed the shame and hopelessness I used to have. I can now look at the future with confidence. My dream is to become a nurse and I am sure I will make it. I do not know how to thank my sponsors and CFCA staff in Nanyuki. All the same, God bless you and long life to CFCA.†

In gratitude

Let us all continue to pray for our sponsored families and for all the gentle people of Kenya. Coworkers here tell us that with all its scenic beauty and abundant wildlife, Kenya continues to struggle with very high unemployment, and undercurrents of serious unrest. A majority of the people are trying to survive on less than $1 per day.

Godís blessings to you. Please know of our love and thanks.

Bob Hentzen
Nanyuki/Nairobi, Kenya

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0 thoughts on “Bob’s report: Visit to Kenya”

  1. I just want to say “HI” to Bob. It has been quite a few years since I was able to preach weekends for CFCA. My health does not permit it, but I do sponsor a child and an elderly person and have done so for years. In l993 I was privileged to visit Guatemala with Bob. And I was with him when he began his “unplugged” walk to Guatemala.
    Peace and Prayers to you all. – Fr. Lee

  2. Good to hear from you Fr. Lee. Please know of our love and prayers. We are so very grateful for the example of your love and concern for your sponsored child and elderly. Godís blessings.

    Bob H.

  3. Please I would to know why you do not let our sponsored children to bring us their addresses or telephone numbers or e-mail addresses.Thank you

    1. Hi, Antony,

      CFCA takes seriously our responsibility to provide privacy and protection to sponsors and sponsored individuals. Direct communication contradicts our privacy policy. To maintain the integrity of our policy, we prevent the transmission of direct contact information such as addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers between sponsors and their sponsored friends.

      All communications between sponsors and sponsored persons must be made through CFCA. This is done for several reasons. Letters are monitored for appropriateness and the protection of both the sponsors and sponsored people. We also need to ensure that the sponsored friend is meeting the letter-writing requirements of the program. Our ability to monitor a sponsored friendís participation in the program is compromised when letters go directly to the sponsor.

      We appreciate your question and hope this information is helpful to you.

      Sincerely,
      Claudia
      Sponsor Services

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