Our group from Calvary Christian Church in Winchester has now been here over a week. They were able to frame Florence’s house, and the women from the village will start mudding the walls on Tuesday! They also got a new iron-sheet roof installed for Violet and her family. The ladies handed out over 200 pillowcase dresses on Thursday, and our girls all wore their new dresses to school on Friday! Thanks to the GAiN Organization, we had 40 pairs of Crocs we were able to give to children on Thursday as well. Several buildings on our campus have been painted, plumbing problems have been fixed, and we even arranged a soccer game with a local school so we could show off the new uniforms they brought us! They have been able to visit quite a few of our widows and their families in their homes and have been touched by so many of the stories these women have to share. Today they have ventured into Eldoret to buy some tools for some of our workers and to visit the AMPATH headquarters. They will have 3 more days to help out in the village before they head back to Nairobi on Friday! So far everyone is healthy, so please keep them in your prayers over the next few days as they finish up their work here!
As most of you know, we have been trying to raise money to put 100 shoes on the feet of 100 children. Thanks to many of you, we have reached that goal! However, after a recent visit with another 100 children in the school, it has become very apparent that 100 shoes is just not enough. I sat down with each one of the additional 100 children during my time in Makutano and heard so many of them say that their only need is a pair of shoes. So many stories really touched me, but I wanted to share the story of one little girl in particular who illustrates so well why your $25 dollar donation can make all the difference in the world to
I met Robai on the first day I was in the village at the school. She had a haunted look and a quiet way about her. While I spoke with her, I discovered why she was so stoic. Robai lives with her father and step-mother in an environment that is in no way loving. Robai’s father cares for her, but he cares more for alcohol than ensuring his daughter is safe. Robai’s step-mother sees her as nothing more than a nuisance and does nothing to provide for her well-being. As she gave quiet answers to the questions I asked, I could see that her hands and bare feet were infested with jiggers. The administrator of the school informed me that they had contacted Robai’s father about the problem and had also attempted to treat her to rid her of the painful infestation. However, she said that Robai was in such intense pain when they went to remove the jiggers (with a push pin, I might add), that her screaming greatly disturbed the other children on the school grounds and they had to stop. They did the best they could, but it became clear that more would have to be done. Considering all this, it is no surprise that when I took pictures of her, my usual call for the children to “cheka” (laugh) was not met with just that.
The fact that part of Robai’s physical pain could have been prevented so easily broke my heart. A pair of shoes could have lightened a burden already so heavy for a small girl. Had Robai had a good pair of shoes to wear, there would have been no way the jiggers could have worked their way into her skin. Just through one child, I was able to see just how important shoes really are. As I heard child after child say all they needed was a pair of shoes, I understood even more what that pair of shoes could mean for each one of them. $25 could mean one less burden and one less worry for children who already have so much to carry on their shoulders.
Robai, through the kindness of two little girls in Indiana, was given a pair of socks and shoes the very next day. For the first time in a while, we saw a smile on her beautiful face. It will still be a long road for Robai as those working with her through Village Project Africa seek to help her heal physically and emotionally, but we pray that the shoes are just the start of some happiness in her life.
I hope you will join me in the effort to put more smiles on more faces and prevent unnecessary suffering. Where else can you spend $25 that will make such a difference? Contributions may be made through our website or by mailing a check made out to “Village Project Africa” to PO Box 382, Noblesville, IN 46061. Please be sure to mark your donation “Shoes.”
In January we told you a little bit about a girl who had been brought to our school who’d had a very difficult life so far. We are so grateful to the “Lydia’s Ladies” at Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis for deciding to sponsor Risper so that she can stay at Heritage Academy and be one of the first residents of our new dorm!
Here is a recap of Risper’s story:
Risper Anyona is now 14 years old and her story is the story of a survivor. She was born in 1997, and her mother died when she was very young–she doesn’t even remember her mother. In 2008, her father also died, leaving her in the care of her stepmother. To put it politely, this was not a good situation. Risper had been 10 years old before she was permitted to start school. She made it through class 4 before her stepmother refused to allow her to continue any longer. The stepmother continually harassed Risper and made life extremely difficult before she was finally thrown out of the house.
She moved from place to place struggling for life. Thankfully, a well-wisher took her in temporarily. In January of this year, Heritage Academy opened classes through grade 4, and one of the mothers at Heritage brought Risper to try to get her admitted. When Risper was given the admission test to determine her grade level, everyone was surprised at her ability. She was very bright! Although she had to repeat class 4 to be at Heritage, this seemed like the very best option for Risper. After the first exam, she was number 1 in the class. We asked her how she had performed at the government school and she shyly replied, “I was either number 1 or number 2 in the class after every exam.”
Sadly, after all of this, the neighbor where Risper was living could no longer care for
her and asked her to leave. The mother who brought her to our school desperately
tried to find one of Risper’s relatives to take her, but seemingly Risper was all alone
with no relatives.
We are pleased that we had a place for Risper to live and are able to provide for her daily bread. Soon a dorm will be finished and she will live with other girls from Heritage under the care of the matron. Risper is a polite, delightful child. She is in the Heritage Choir and plays sports with the other children. When she grows up she would like to be a teacher and then help the needy. We are so happy to have her in our midst and blessed for the opportunity that we have to help her grow into the likeness of Christ and to dream big dreams for the future! Please continue to pray for Risper and the other girls who will be moving into our dorm!
Recently Margaret was contacted by a lady from the west coast of the U.S., Taza. Taza mentioned that she is part of a small group of women that meets weekly to make quilts. In Taza’s words, “It is a very positive and restorative activity” in itself, but they were looking for a place to which they could donate the quilts so that they would be a blessing to someone else.
Now consider this: We are currently in the process of building a dorm for 20 of our most vulnerable girls. This dorm will hold twin-size bunks on which to provide these girls a place to sleep.
When Taza first contacted Margaret about quilts, Margaret wasn’t really sure what they could do with them! Then she thought of the dorm and mentioned the idea to Davis and to Taza. Davis thought the quilts would be wonderful for the girls’ beds, and Taza’s group has gotten very excited about being able to provide quilts for our new dorm in Makutano. They have 4 quilts made already, and they hope to be able to send the rest this summer!
If the girls are able to stay in our school through 8th grade, some of them will be with us for the next 4–5 years. As each girl enters our dorm, they will be given a new quilt of their own that they will be able to use during their stay with us, then keep as a reminder of their special memories at our school.
God knew the need we will have, and He had already moved in the hearts of these ladies
to meet that need before we even knew it existed! Just like the patchwork squares on a quilt that are intricately, delicately, and purposefully joined to create something special
and beautiful, so is God purposefully joining His people around the world to take care of His children!
We continue to see God’s blessing upon our mission, and we are thankful to Him and to those of you who faithfully provide our prayer and financial support!
“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory!” Philippians 4:19
“Little Dresses for Africa” is bringing excitement to our village children! On January 21, a group of 7 from Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis will be the “donkeys” for Jesus, taking about 200 dresses that the women at the church have made for our girls. In the last few months, they have had old-fashioned sewing bees to make the dresses, and we are so excited to make the delivery next week! Not wanting the boys to be left out, the men got together and bought 150 pair of shorts, and others donated t-shirts. Thank you to Church at the Crossing and the women of Lydia Ladies for a job well done! For more information about “Little Dresses for Africa,” visit www.littledressesforafrica.org.