Thanks to your generosity, second term began the first week of the month and all of the boys are back in school. Two of our boys had been expelled from the Christian school that all of our Primary school boys attend, and they are now settled into a nearby government school, which doesn’t have the facilities they are used to, but they are surpisingly liking it there, and the principal has been so welcoming, and finds the boys to be so well-behaved. They apparently learned a lesson from sitting out for a while. We are providing special tutoring for them and others after school, to prepare them for the dreaded KCPE exam that takes place third term and determines their elegibility for high school.
Our greenhouse training finally took off, and several staff and two board members (including me) participated in our first session during which time we planted 500+ tomato seeds, in trays filled with cockpeat which was made of the outer fibers of coconuts to which we added well-cured goat manure (reportedly the best choice) and water. They are now sprouted and will be ready for transplanting after a couple more weeks of watering. We are growing tomatoes inside the greenhouse and a variety of vegetables outside the greenhouse using drip irrigation. Pray that we will do things right and get a bumper crop which will give us an income to help with operating expenses. I am reminded of this scripture from the Apostle Paul that refers to the seed of faith that we are also planting in our boys and watching it grow by God’s grace, “Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.”
1 Corinthians 3:5–7, NLT
We continue with “home improvement” by replacing the $5 temporary curtains in the living room and study room with sturdier ones, and painting the supporting concrete wall to the side of our entrance gate so it looks finished. Our guard dogs got improved living quarters, too, and we converted an outdoor storage room into a home for some chickens. Many Kenyan homes have a few chickens, so this will add to the homey atmosphere.
Evans Mungai, an Ahadi alumus who has been studying finance and business management, is on attachment at Ahadi for a few months, as part of his studies at Moi University. He is both learning how our small Mom and Pop organization operates, and giving us suggestions for improvement. He also will have a stint with our auditor.
Sammy Njoroge, Ahadi alumnus, and his wife Mary, went through the dowry procedure necessary in his culture to consider them married. Some of our other Ahadi Alumni were active in the negotiations and preparations. It was quite fascinating for us as outsiders–yet insiders with Sammy and Mary. About 150 neighbors from Mary’s parent’s rural home where the function was held, as well as his friends from Nairobi, were fed with food provided by Sammy and friends, and then the drama began as the friends and family of the bride pretended to be unwilling to give their daughter, Mary, to the frustrated Sammy who had to keep producing money, crates of soda and bottled water, promises of cows, etc. Also 4 ladies the size of his wife, came covered head to toe in traditional cloths, and he had to try to decide which one of the undercover ladies was Mary. He guessed right, and they celebrated by serving each other a bottle of soda in front of the pleased crowd.
I recently attended a meeting at the invitation of the District Children’s Officer for “stakeholders,” that is people concerned about protection of children, particularly orphans and vulnerable children (OVC’s). There were county government leaders, police, probation officers, one of the magistrates who handles the committal of children to children’s homes, as well as members of various organizations who help the needy. I felt so pleased when the magistrate announced to everyone that she was so happy to meet me because Ahadi has such a good reputation in the court with the children who have been committed to our care. One boy has refused 4 times to go back to his grandfather because he wants to stay at Ahadi. Having said that, however, one of our boys who is 13 and in std. 3 (3rd grade) prefers the unregulated life he had when living with his mother. She neglected him, so since earliest childhood, he was a truant, a thief, and often only ate what he managed to steal from neighbors. He recently ran away from Ahadi to go back to his mom, and his older married sisters brought him back to us 10 days later, but he is reluctant to stay and prefers freedom. Pray that he will settle down and realize his life at Ahadi is better for him.
CASE IN POINT
Ian, an Ahadi alumnus, is 21 years old and studying Environmental Health at Daystar University where he tops his class. He has been living with my husband and me since he began university and loves the quiet atmosphere where he can focus on his studies, do research on the internet, listen to BBC and also sing with my husband (whom he calls Dad) in the Nairobi Music Society Choir. He is teaching himself piano and keyboard on the side and every week accompanies our church when they sing choruses and Swahili songs. This is a big jump from the little boy whose single mom died when he was around 6, and he was put in an orphanage that was so bad he ran away to an auntie who mistreated him. He has been with Ahadi for 11 years and thrived in Primary and Secondary School. He is soft-spoken, and sensitive to those who he knows are going through hard times, often sharing his pocket money with them. He goes and checks on his sister who is in high school and is her parent figure. (She is being sponsored by his sponsor.) He is also my resident guru when my not-so-smart phone dumb-founds me or my laptop won’t cooperate. And we share the kitchen where he often cooks our dinner when we get overwhelmed in the office. He and I were dreaming recently about how the Ahadi boys are going to help build Kenya. They are like a brotherhood, communicating with each other on What’s App; coming to each other’s rescue through the Welfare organization they have set up; visiting each other now and then; encouraging one another, etc. As they grow up and become trained in various professions, I pray that they will have opportunity to network and encourage each other in their adult lives. We are happy to have had a part to play in the formation of character of these boys, and we envision a better Kenya because of them.
My husband Jon and I will be going to the US for two months to see family members and friends, so you may not be hearing from us for a while. Life will continue at Ahadi, however, and we thank God that the giving has been so good and will continue to be good so that their needs will be catered for while we are away. I am thankful that one of our board members, Christine, is a neighbour of Ahadi and has agreed to keep an eye on things while I am away. And our social worker/manager, Humphrey, knows “the ropes” and will handle the daily logistics. We also will continue to be in touch through e-mail. We request your prayers, however, as we all adjust to my not being there. God is there, and he loves Ahadi Family deeply. Thanks be to God (and you who are channels of his blessings).