At the Kenya Nairobi Mission Office, we have got acquainted with a member of the church who occasionally works as a driver for the mission. His name is Steven. He has served a mission and now has a wife Florence, and 2 living children, Derrick and Rita. Their first baby died after living only a few months. He had a brother who died and left 2 children orphans. His mother was old and unable to help with raising another family. Steven and his wife decided they would raise them as their own. In time they felt they needed to help other children that had been orphans in the slums, many whose parents had died of aids. Slowly the number increased and he was able to rent a building and start an orphanage.
Today, Steven has over 70 children in the “Nazarene Children’s Home” in the midst of the Soweto slum, which is the second largest slum in Nairobi. He does not live in the orphanage but he is trying to fund the over-head, teachers and care takers with 70% of his profits from selling his carvings. Note: the teachers and care-takers live in the slum and some of their children attend the small school area.
As missionary couples visited the orphanage, we could see that Steven, a wonderful, quiet member of the church, needed some assistance. The conditions are clean but impoverished. The children’s living area has no latrine facilities and the small school classrooms were muddy and wet because the tin roof had so many holes. Never at any point did Steven ask for any funding. In fact when we inquired about helping, he told us that if we did too much to the building they would raise his rent. Bruce shared this information with the friends he works with at HAFB. They surprised him with collecting $500 dollars and wanted to help Steven. Other mission couples joined in and we were able to put together some school supplies, hygiene items, and bought tin to cover the roof of the classroom. We spent the day with the children, Steven and his family, and some of the teachers. President and Sister Broadbent along with six couples, watched as they put on a short program for us. We then played games, shared peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and even had a visit from Santa. Most of these children have never experienced a Christmas of any kind. They were delighted with their bag of goods, their oranges, and loved having their pictures taken. We plan to visit again but we will not take items. We will go and play and love them. Steven doesn’t want white people to be associated with bringing gifts. This he says causes begging. We will however give Steven maize, rice and beans. We have funding to also help with some better cooking pots and cooking fuel. Although it was a place of much poverty it was also a wonderful, wonderful experience to be with them that day.
The school was a short way from where children eat and sleep. They sleep 4-5 to a small bed and they put down foam on the floor for others. Some chldren sleep in other families shacks and then return in the morning. They are just over crowded with so many children.