Gathaithi Sustainability Project – Kenya

 

The Gathaithi Orphans Children’s Centre sustainability installation has been underway for a full week. The Lift the Children team has constructed extensive raised bed gardens within the orphanages inner compound totaling over forty in number.

The construction of a new barn, one-acre orchard and vegetable garden, are underway with an impressive 1.7-acre field demarcated for further orchard and pond installation next week. A nursery and fencing system are also underway, as well as the renovation of a 6 person guest room for future volunteers and students seeking to further develop the program and their own skills in this soon to be amazing permaculture landscape.

Our team has also been training a mentor team of 8 graduate orphans from the center who will continue working with the children to ensure the success of the gardens and other systems.

We expect the orphanage to gain a savings within 12 months time of roughly 20,000 US Dollars per annum… and a further increase in income as longer-term systems come into effect.

Aaron Elton

SING WITH ALL YOUR HEART

African children love to sing. They don’t just vocalize the words, they put their heart and soul into it. Today I unexpectantly visited one of our homes in Nairobi. As the children saw me coming they ran out of the building and started singing. The younger ones took me by the hand and brought me into their shack where they continued to sing with all their hearts. Then a sweet little 12 year old broke out into a beautiful solo with the rest of the children joining in at the chorus. It was heaven.

A few months ago I was visiting the Kambui School for the Deaf. The children wanted to perform for us and we all gathered together as they SANG and danced. Remember they are deaf. It didn’t seem to matter to them as the smiles on their faces showed the feelings of their hearts. They pulled me in to join in the dance and we all had a great laugh as I tried to stay in step.

We support the school which is also a children’s home. Unfortunately there is not a great amount of support for the disabled in Africa so we have become a lifeline to these wonderful children.

YOU GO TO JAIL

Yesterday after a long day of visiting children’s homes, I was heading back to my accommodation for the night. As we approached town, our car was abruptly stopped by a police officer who came out of the darkness. Seeing me in the car he accused me of making a traffic violation and demanded that I get out of the car. I was the passenger in the car, not the driver.

I was accused of being a criminal and would have to suffer the consequences. I would be taken to the jail and held for three days after which time I would go before a judge. I apologized for any infraction I may have committed. I was then told that I was not above the law and must pay for my act. He further explained that we could settle the matter right then and there with a rather large payment of about $500. I responded that I would make any such payment and if I had broken the law I will address it with the judge. With that statement I held out my hands to be handcuffed.

At that point a second officer came out from the darkness rifle in hand. He started screaming that I was an outlaw and will be prosecuted. He then started ranting in Swahili so I have no idea what he was saying. Returning to english he demanded payment right then and there. I refused and at that point I was forced back into the car and they both got in as well and we headed for the jail. They barked some demands to the driver in Swahili and we were off. After driving a short while we were going into a very dark and isolated area. The one officer told the driver to stop the car and I was told to get out. The driver was instructed to stay in the car. They walked me into the darkness and started threatening me with their guns demanding payment. I refused. The one then asked me for my passport. I refused to provide it. I was told that everyone must produce their passport when required by the police. I explained that my passport was to protect me and I would not produce it in this situation. The other officer pulled out his papers to show that even they had their papers with them. I pointed out that they had rifles to protect their papers and I had no gun to protect mine. They then proceeded to scream in Swahili so I have no idea what they were saying but it was very intense.

Once they calmed down I explained what I was doing and asked if they had any children. They both confessed that they did. “I am here to help your children” I then explained and I am not pleased with being accosted in this manner when I am only trying to help. I noted that any money I had, was only going to be given to children in need. I could see that I was wearing them down. I went on to express appreciation for their efforts in keeping the peace and hoped that some day I might be able to assist one of their children.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out 100 shillings worth about 85 cents. I offered that as a token of my appreciation for their work. Unfortunately, that enraged them. They asked me if I thought they were crazy waving their guns in my face. I confirmed that I did not think they were but neither was I and this is all I would give. They brought me back to the car forced me in and barked again to the driver. He drove a short distance and stopped again. They told me again to get out, I did and they drove off leaving me in the dark. I then walked back to town and retired for the night. The next day was better.

Paul Christensen

NOW WE EAT WELL

Today we visited St. Dorcus Children’s home. We started supporting them two months ago and the effect has been rather dramatic. The whole disposition of the children is much brighter. They have been able to go from two meals a day to three and the meals have become more nutritious. They were also able to purchase beds for many of the children who were sleeping on the floor. The children sang songs of gratitude and one sweet young girl gave a prayer thanking God for our coming and asked God to bless and protect us for all we were doing for them. I helped her understand that the things we provide don’t really come from us but rather they are blessings from God and we are only the delivery men. It was a wonderful visit.