Tag: Kenya

Feb 2 2012

Wisdom of the Ages: James, 74, from Kenya

CFCA sponsored aging friend, James, in Kenya

James, 74, sponsored through CFCA in Kenya.

James, 74, has been sponsored for 10 years through CFCA in Nairobi, Kenya. He has seven children and enjoys exercise, especially bike riding. Sponsorship has given James a new lease on life.

What is your secret for long life?

I have always strived hard to maintain my health. I avoided taking alcohol frequently and I stayed off cigarettes.

As a young man, I was very active in exercising and I believe it has contributed to my long life. Being keen on the type of food that I eat has also added me some years.

What advice do you have for young people?

There is a saying that goes, “An empty mind is the devil’s workshop.” I would urge the youth to keep themselves busy with constructive work. They should strive to earn an honest living.

What is the most important thing your mother taught you? Read more

Jan 26 2012

Sponsor meets Kenyan child – ‘what being human is all about’

By Laura Seyfang, CFCA sponsor

As a longtime CFCA sponsor, I had often read the invitations to join a trip to visit my sponsored child.

CFCA sponsor Laura Seyfang and her sponsored friend, Sophia, in Kenya

CFCA sponsor Laura Seyfang and her sponsored friend, Sophia.

While I felt committed to the CFCA mission and loved sharing letters with my two sponsored children, one in the Philippines and one in Kenya, I never felt able to justify the time and expense of such a trip.

This past December I was able to make it happen when I combined a Habitat for Humanity Global Village Trip with a visit to my CFCA sponsored child in Kenya.

I wasn’t sure CFCA would embrace my visit since it wasn’t one of their trips, but was very happy to receive overwhelming support to make this personal connection happen.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-denominational Christian organization whose goal is to provide decent affordable housing for all. This organization provides opportunities for volunteers to help build houses in nearly 50 countries around the globe.

During my trip to Kenya with 20 other volunteers, we were able to work on constructing four houses for families in an internal displaced persons camp, where they had been living in tents for almost four years.

It was a lot of hard work, but the results were extremely rewarding.

At the conclusion of the Habitat Build, I hired a driver who took me to Meru in northeastern Kenya, where my sponsored child, Sophia, lived. Read more

Nov 22 2011

‘Spirit of love’ infuses Kenya/Uganda mission awareness trip

By Regina Mburu, CFCA communications liaison in Nairobi

CFCA sponsor Susan Colton hugs her sponsored child, Ritah, in Uganda

Susan Colton hugs her sponsored child, Ritah, in Uganda.

Each mission awareness trip stands out from the rest. The recently concluded trip was no exception.

The 12-day trip around CFCA projects in Kenya and Uganda started on a high note with 18 trip participants in good spirits and excitement as they touched ground in Africa.

The orientation day set the pace for the six days that the sponsors would be in Kenya. Here they met and interacted with staff members and learned more about the Nairobi project.

A visit to the Nairobi coordinating office and the Kangemi outreach program gave them a chance to see how CFCA works.

It was exciting to see their eyes light up as they experienced a deeper understanding of the program. Read more

Oct 10 2011

Helping sponsored friends despite economic insecurity, inflation

Beth, mother of CFCA sponsored child and beekeeper in Nairobi, Kenya

Beth, a mother of CFCA sponsored children in Kenya, started beekeeping to generate more income for her family and rely less on sponsorship benefits. This becomes even more important during unstable economic times.

Inflation is a daily reality for many of the families CFCA serves. Despite these and other economic challenges, we remain committed to helping families find long-term, sustainable solutions to poverty.

The following post has been adapted from an article written by Janet Tinsley, CFCA project director.

By now, we are all familiar with the nearly constant news about economic crises around the world:

  • a stock market crash sends economic shock waves across the globe
  • a civil war impedes the distribution of oil and drives up transportation costs
  • severe drought conditions cut off peopleís access to adequate food supplies and means of income, etc.

All people worldwide are affected in some way by fluctuations in the global economy.

Since 2006, the worldwide purchasing power of sponsorship contributions ñ $30 a month ñ has decreased 5 percent, and in some countries where we work it has fallen more than 20 percent.

We hear from projects all the time about rising prices, inflation and economic crises in the countries where we work.

Meanwhile, we often hear from sponsors about how difficult it is for them to meet their monthly contribution in the midst of rising prices, inflation and economic crises in their own country.

What does this mean for project teams struggling to provide quality benefits and services for sponsored friends? Read our answer

Oct 5 2011

Sponsorship = ‘meeting someone from a different place’

CFCA sponsor Sophie Samson

Sophie Samson

Fourteen-year-old Sophie Samson of Osseo, Minn., sponsors Linda, a girl her age in Kisumu, Kenya.

Sophieís parents pay for the sponsorship, but Sophie writes the letters, said her mother, Toni Samson.

Sophie has always been a compassionate person, so Toni wasnít surprised when one Christmas, Sophie asked to sponsor a girl her age instead of asking for material gifts.

Compassion runs in the Samson family. Sophieís 11-year-old brother is thinking he may sponsor a child, too, Toni said.

With Sophieís support, Linda receives educational support, health care and participation in Christmas and birthday celebrations.

Questions for Sophie: Why did you choose to sponsor Linda?

I wanted to help someone who is less fortunate than me.

Describe your correspondence relationship. Do you exchange letters often, occasionally or seldom? Does Linda write good letters?

I try to write as often as possible, but it takes awhile to receive letters since we live so far apart. We write about every other month. Linda writes good letters. She usually tells me about her family, tennis, and school.

How do you feel knowing your support has given Linda the opportunity to play tennis and discover her amazing talent?

I think itís awesome. I am very proud of her, and I hope she continues to play tennis for a long time.

Have you met Linda in person? Have you considered meeting her on a CFCA mission awareness trip?

I havenít met Linda in person, but I would like to someday. I think it would be really cool to go on a mission trip, so maybe sometime soon I can go.

Is there anything you would like to share about Linda or sponsorship?

I have had a good experience with sponsorship, and I would encourage other people to try it out. Itís a great way to help someone out and meet someone from a different place in the world.

I think it is a really great opportunity for the person being sponsored and for the person who is sponsoring.

Note: Linda is a talented tennis player. Read more about her story.

Sep 21 2011

Sponsored child: Polygamy is ‘outdated tradition’

Everline, CFCA sponsored youth in KenyaMeet Everline, a 14-year-old sponsored through CFCA in Kenya. She has the opportunity through sponsorship to stay in school ñ better options for her future than her mother ever had.

Her mother was 14 years old when she married Everline’s father. She was his fourth wife.

CFCA social workers in the area of Kisumu, Kenya, see many sponsored children come from polygamous families. They encourage youth to retain traditions and customs that are worthwhile and discard those that can be harmful.

They teach girls like Everline to believe in themselves and pursue a good education.

ìI think itís an outdated tradition,î Everline said. ìMy wish is to excel in my education and have a good job so that I do not have to get married to a polygamous man.”

Read more of Everline’s story.

Aug 4 2011

How to cook ugali (Kenyan dish) — recipe

Ugali and stew

Kenyan stew, vegetables and ugali … mmm!

CFCA serves approximately 15,000 sponsored children and elderly in Kenya. Regina Mburu, our communications liaison in Kenya, sends us this delicious recipe for ugali!

Ugali is served as an accompaniment to meat, fish or vegetable stews. To eat ugali, pull off a small ball of mush with your fingers, form an indentation with your thumb and use it to scoop up tasty stews and other dishes.

This recipe is for four to six people. See the recipe and pictures

Jul 26 2011

Job’s sponsor speaks about his soccer prowess

Recently we published a story about Job, a promising soccer player from Kenya. We were unable to reach Jobís sponsor, Lynn Johnson, before publishing his story. We finally connected with Lynn, who was happy to share more details about Jobís talents and his flair for letter writing. Like Job, Lynn enjoys football, except that she prefers the American version.

Lynn Johnson, CFCA sponsorHow long have you sponsored Job?

About two years. I became his sponsor after another child I sponsored left the program. That child was from Kenya, too.

It seems like you have a good correspondence relationship with Job.

Well, he does real well. Iím not so good. But he writes wonderful letters.

Heís been to Nairobi a few times and he went to see the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

What are some of the things Job has told you in his letters?

He talks about his siblings. One of his sisters is going to be a designer.

In February 2010, he wrote that he had been in a film, and he had traveled to Nairobi for a competition. He wrote that he passed lakes and stopped at a rice farm.

He mentioned he would be going to South Africa to watch the World Cup. ìI canít afford to miss this wonderful trip,î he wrote.

What did he say about his World Cup experience?

He talked about flying on a plane and how the seats were in neat rows labeled 3A, 3B and 3C.

ìAnd thatís how you sit,î he wrote. ìThe plane was big. We saw rivers, oceans, mountains, valleys and clouds. We saw Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro. Ö We slept in a school and ate chicken, meat and Weetabix.î

They left after watching the match between South Africa and Mexico. He was so appreciative of me and CFCA. It gives me goose bumps to read his letter.

How do you feel about your sponsorship?

Itís fulfilling and fascinating to correspond with a youngster so far away, to get these interesting letters about his life. Iím thrilled and humbled.

Jun 24 2011

Sponsored Kenyan youth kicks his way to success

Job, a young soccer player sponsored through CFCA in KenyaSoccer is an immensely popular sport overseas, and it’s gaining momentum in the U.S.

The Gold Cup Final is set for tomorrow, June 25, when the U.S. will play Mexico at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Many of our sponsored friends are passionate about the sport. Job, who is sponsored in Kenya through CFCA, loves soccer.

His family couldn’t afford sports equipment for Job to practice, but sponsorship funds helped pay for a soccer ball, shoes and shorts.

Thanks to his skill, he got to watch the 2010 World Cup in South Africa!

Read his story.

Jun 13 2011

A sponsor should be ‘a companion who walks with us …’

John and Rose Thorsky have sponsored James in Kenya since 2006. This April he graduated from the CFCA program and is now in university on a full scholarship. Rose sent us this beautiful letter reflecting on their friendship.

It was the photo on the CFCA folder that captured our attention. But isnít the photo what draws most sponsors to their sponsored friends?

There he stood in khaki shorts, a blue collared shirt, bright colored flip-flops, his school notebooks in hand and a slight grin on his face.

James, the Thorskys' friend sponsored through CFCA

James, the Thorskys’ sponsored friend.

James, our sponsored friend in Kenya, entered our lives and high school in 2006 when he was 19. We learned his mother is deceased and he now lives with an uncle and grandmother.

Our CFCA sponsorship enabled him to attend a boarding school approximately 217 miles (350 kilometers) from his village.

We exchanged numerous letters and took much delight in his writing style, especially his use of idioms describing his study habits (e.g. busy as a bee; when the going gets tough, the tough get going).

He studied diligently, helped his family with weeding the fields during school breaks and celebrated holidays with family and friends.

In our letters we offered him a glimpse into our lives, but mostly we offered encouragement, our pleasure in his accomplishments and best wishes and prayers that he would continue to do well in achieving his goals.

We were jubilant when we received a letter from a CFCA staff member informing us James had scored one of the “best performances out of all the 2010 candidates” who took the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education.

Because of his excellent scores, Macmillan Publishers in Kenya offered James a full scholarship for college.

Then the final letter from James came, and the tears began to flow. It has been difficult letting go of this relationship. However, we are optimistic our paths will cross again in the future.

The relationship with James has been a blessed and wonderful dimension to our faith journey, grounded in daily prayer, respect for his culture and the dignity of his personhood.

We hope a line in one of Henri Nouwenís prayers describes our presence in Jamesís life: “Be with us as a companion who walks with us, neither behind nor in front …

Thank you, CFCA, for bringing hope to so many children, youth and aging and their families and for bringing James into our lives.