HAPPY NEW YEAR! We are happy to be back together again after our Christmas break of about two weeks. All of the children travelled safely. Some of them had to travel hundreds of miles to see a relative, but through the years they have learned how to do it so the older teens can travel alone now or even, in one case, take care of the younger siblings on the way. One of our college boys had 4 younger brothers and cousins whom he got safely home and back, and even arranged for a room in the marketplace near the uncle they were visiting, since the uncle had no room in his house for 5 extras on top of his own children and a niece he has taken in. We sent food and/or money to each relative so they could manage having the children for a while. Those who live fairly near my home got an extra treat of a free swim in the Lukenya Getaway pool on their way back to Ahadi, after getting a haircut (see photo on the left, taken in the barber shop). We like the boys to have the experience of having their hair cut in a barber shop instead of cutting their hair ourselves. It helps them integrate with the community and learn the cost of services.
Through the years, the demographics of our Ahadi family has changed, and most of the boys now come from a 12-mile (20 km.) radius of Ahadi. Not as many come from far, so we are getting more of the feel of a community-based children’s home. Neighbors of Ahadi are also pitching in to help. We are grateful to neighbors who delivered roasted meat and other Christmas goodies to the Ahadi alumni who stayed to paint during the holidays. We now have 23 in the local primary school, 7 of whom are boarding as required for standard 7 and 8 children (7th and 8th grade) so that they may be adequately prepared for the national KCPE exam at the end of 8th grade that determines eligibility for high school. We are now awaiting “calling letters” for the 2 boys who took that exam and are waiting to see what high school has accepted them. One of them will probably go to vocational school because he is very weak academically. Pray for this transition as both boys will be under the supervision of a relative now—one to an uncle and another to a big sister, though we will cater for their expenses. We have 7 other boys who are now under supervision of a relative but we stay in touch and pay expenses. One other high school boy is still under our supervision. (See Case in Point below.) So, our “family” is 33 boys.
Good news! Thomas Kioko, who was mentioned last month, has a sponsor and is now settling in to college life, using public transport to get to campus and back from his room in Nairobi, and living on his own (though he lives near other Ahadi alumni who are helping him learn the ropes). He is studying Community Development. A big thank you to all sponsors who have made it possible for Ahadi boys to continue their education and prepare for a career. We now have 18 studying post high school, 2 of whom are university graduates taking Professional Courses.
Home improvements were being made over the holidays and continue even now. Thanks to a generous donation from Orphan’s Joy, we were able to make the office more conducive to office activities with built-in shelves, another filing cabinet and office chairs. Ahadi alumni painted walls, ceilings, furniture, outdoor pillars and ring beams between floors, etc. to “brighten the corners where we are.”