Greetings from Kenya in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for your prayers regarding the teachers’ strike. It lasted one month, though the children who would be taking the national exams were allowed to go to school and continue preparations. The strike has been postponed for 90 days by court order, while the government tries to find a solution. Simultaneously, however, the government is announcing they are broke, and many government workers haven’t been paid, including an Ahadi alumnus, who got appointed to a government position 1 July and has never been paid! The school year ends in mid-November, and that leaves over 6 weeks of having boys at home with nothing to do. All but one of them are old enough to go to a Christian camp. The total cost of sending them (at 3 different times), not including transport to get there and back is about $650. We are thankful that the camp is only about Kes. 2,500 per child ($25) for a week of camp, including pocket money. That’s how much I paid as a kid over 50 years ago! December is our hottest month so equivalent to summer camp in the US. January begins a new school year.
The greenhouse continues to amaze us. Last time the board met, we had just bought the greenhouse and had not even planted the seeds. This time, each of us received a token bag of tomatoes as “sitting allowance.” In the photo, most of the board members are seeing it for the first time. God blessed us with a fruit and vegetable supplier who will buy all of our tomatoes faster than we can produce them. They will come to Ahadi to get the tomatoes, so we don’t have to look for transport or any other market! The buyer said they were the best-looking tomatoes he had seen anywhere around and was amazed that this was our first attempt. Already, the money from tomato sales has helped to pay grocery bills. Our God is so BIG. A drought continues, but we are using drip irrigation, and the neighbour supplying us water from her borehole (well), so far has plenty. We paid a plumber to run a pipe directly from her tank to our tank, under the road. Weathermen are predicting El Nino rains which we hope will do more good than harm, filling up the rivers and aquafers, reviving our animals and plants, without destroying lives and roads! Please pray for us. We are happy that we are no longer living along the river where we used to live;however, roads up the hill to our place can become impassable with heavy rains, so pray for our ability to get groceries to the boys during the coming rains.
The board approved many important plans that affect our stability as an organization as my husband and I prepare for retirement in May 2016:
1. Our newest board member and Ahadi neighbour, Christine Karimi, has agreed to become treasurer and is learning much of what that entails this month. My husband, Jon, who had been treasurer, has resigned from the board, which frees up a place for us to add another Kenyan person, as he and I transition out. Pray for us as we decide who that new board member will be.
2. Our Manager/Social Worker, Humphrey Chegome, will begin attending board meetings as an Ex-officio member and is beginning to take on some of my responsibilities; we are thankful for his expertise as a Daystar University graduate, and previous experience with Compassion International as a Project Director. Christine and Humphreywill make the handing-over process so much easier, and we thank God for them.
3. A“Friends of Ahadi Family Kenya” group, made up of neighbours, friends, and other interested people who will look for ways to help Ahadi in practical ways, is in our plans. We would like some help getting this off the ground, so if you are interested in helping us promote this idea (designing invitations, membership cards, information about Ahadi, etc.) please let us know. And if you or someone you know, would like to be a member, let us know through e-mail or phone.Some local friends may wish to make regular donations such as buying maize, beans, or rice, etc. each month. Some may want to pledge to pay school fees for one or two boys. (Actually one of our Kenyan friends is already paying school fees for two high school boys.) Others may wish to donate time by regularly visiting the boys to teach music, art, or play games with them.
4. We also have decided to seek legal advice in establishing Trustees who would actually “own” Ahadi. We are waiting for quotations from lawyers so we can decide who to hire to advise and point the way forward.
5. Another big decision is to expand our premises for extra room for boarding school boys to stay between terms, as well as extra staff space. We estimate that the cost will be about $33,000 (3.3 million Ksh.) and already have about half of that raised or pledged. We are thankful that one of our board members is an architect and has provided us with a preliminary drawing that will help us solidify what we actually want and need.
As you may be thinking about year-end giving, keep us in mind as January is our most expensive month, and we also need funds for the above expansion project which we hope will be well under way before my husband and I leave for the US in mid-May. Also, please pray that our personal house will sell at a good price so that we can buy something nice in the US. We sold our house in the US when we came to Kenya and used the proceeds to build the house where we live now. So, now it is time to do the reverse.
CASES IN POINT
Moses O., an orphan and former street child, who has been with us since primary school days, is now studying Agricultural Engineering at one of the best engineering universities in Kenya (after scoring an A- on the gruelling national exams). He has had many challenges and setbacks in life but has learned to trust God through it all. One of his setbacks was to have his original major in Biomechanical Engineering discontinued after he had studied for 2 years, and he had to almost start over again in the new major. Recently, he realized that he has a nice singing voice, and a new missionary friend gave him money to record his first video which can be seen on You Tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zkTWr9nyrE. The video uses the name Kludge which, he tells me is a sharp, double-edged sword. He wanted to use a name that summarizes the importance of the Bible to him as his guide to eternal life as well as daily life on earth. It is part Swahili and part English. The video makes him look like an old man, but he is early 20’s. He saidit would be a blessing to have people view it. He is also heavily involved in the Christian club on campus and recently went to Rwanda on a Missions trip with them. He is also treasurer of the Ahadi Alumni Assoc.
Another former street child, Gilbert Ngaira, who finished a Bachelor’s Degree and Post Graduate Diploma at Daystar University through the sponsorships of two of our donors, was featured on a half-hour program on Family TV recently. See this link for part of his touching story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sjKgAgCUU4. He is now working at a national level and travels internationally for Kenya Alliance for Advancement of Child Rights (KAACR).
We are proud of these young men and am sure you will be too, as your prayers and financial assistance have enabled us to help Moses and Gilbert and others like them to come from a point of despair to having hope for a bright future on earth as well as in heaven. They are young men who are making an impact on Kenya and beyond.