Mon Feb 08, 2010

Margaret's Determination

Margaret Wamboi once lived with her grandma in a little known center of Saika, 10km from Nairobi, having moved here from Naivasha after the post election violence that rocked Kenya in 2007.

Her life with her grandma began when at the age of 6, Margaret's parents passed away due to HIV/AIDS related illnesses.

By 2008, a hard economy took it's toll on grandma who one day just locked her house and left without a trace living Margaret a destitute.

Brought to PEHUCCI by police and well-wishers, Margaret has since found a home where she now receives education, food and clothing.

She has a dream of one day being an accountant for a big city firm and be able to help destitute children like herself.

Finally, she is so grateful to Rob and Linda and the entire Journey of Hope family for all their love and support and especially for the new girls' dorm that was opened last year.

Posted by: Carol Amollo on Feb 08, 10 | 2:11 pm African Time

From The Street To Fullness Of Joy

Frederick Mutua is full of smiles as he narrates his history. He neither shows sadness nor regret as he recalls his early childhood with his grandmother in Tala township, 30km East of Nairobi.

He has no memories of his parents, no brothers or sisters and in 2006 when his grandmother died he realized he had no one at all.

He lived on the streets in Dandora, one of Nairobi's sprawling slums and needless to say had no food or shelter.

He laughs as he remembers one day when he slept on a street stall and was beaten up by a night watchman. This forced him to flee to another town estate where another street boy introduced him to a man called Benson, who led him to Christ and later to PEHUCCI.

The former street kid is now in his 7th grade and holds the top position in his class.

Fred loves his new life at PEHUCCI and is quite determined to be a doctor in the future. He says he enjoys good health and peace and knows that it is all made possible by the help from Journey of Hope.

Posted by: Carol Amollo on Feb 08, 10 | 2:07 pm African Time

Sun Jan 17, 2010
Off to a Great Start

What an awesome holiday season we had. This past Christmas was our first family trip home during the Christmas holidays and it certainly lived up to our expectations. Lots of cold, cold weather, some snow, good times with family and friends, Christmas lights, boxing day shopping, lots of Tim Hortons coffee and donuts, ice skating, lots of turkey, this list could go on and on! It is so different to see Canada in December/January than in July - where did all the colour go? :-}

Coming back has been good and we are off to a great start. That is one thing about what Linda and I do, we never have to wonder what to do!! My teaching is going good and I am also preparing to take 18 students in grade 11 (including Rachel) to Maasai -land for our annual CFS (Cultural Field Study). This year will be very different as we will be making our home base at a different location and then spending the days in surrounding Maasai communities. We will also be showing some films in the early evenings so we should have some good crowds. The kids are excited and so are we. Carol has been a huge help in organizing the trip, she is such a HUGE blessing.

Speaking of blessings, while we were in Canada it rained alot in Kenya, like enormous amounts. The entire country recieved so much water, including areas that have not received rain in years. Maji Moto area received so much that there were floods and the dam is now full of water. God is good. Just before Christmas we were able oto deliver over 2 tons of food to the Maasai communities around Maji Moto. Flying back into Nairobi,we saw so much green ground!

2010 has started out well for Kenya nd we pray that it will continue, so many people here live in difficult conditions.

Posted by: Rob Beyer on Jan 17, 10 | 1:45 pm African Time

Tue Nov 24, 2009
A Close Knit Family at PEHUCCI


Christopher Mwangi, 16, Mary Njeri, 13 and Lucy Muthoni, 8 are siblings all living at the PEHUCCI orphanage.

Before coming to PEHUCCI, they used to live with their mother who was a single parent in Kiambu District about 120km North of Nairobi.

Unfortunately, she passed away due to HIV/AIDS complications in 2007. This left her three children destitute. Her prolonged illness had already taken an economic and social toll on them and by the time of her death, friends and relatives had already deserted the poor family.

Mwangi, the eldest soon took up the role of ‘father’ and walked long distances in search of food for his sisters.

A Good Samaritan named Miriam who hails from a town estate, Githurai, took pity on them and brought them to PEHUCCI in early 2008.

It has been 2 years since they came to PEHUCCI and their love for one another has continued to grow. They are excited because the fear and loneliness they faced before is gone. At PEHUCCI they found food, education and shelter. They love the entire PEHUCCI family and are grateful to the sponsors who make life so much easier through their donations.

Posted by: Carol Amollo on Nov 24, 09 | 10:42 am African Time

Fri Oct 02, 2009
Real Rosslyn Roofing

Some time at the beginning of this year we were in Maji Moto with 16 great kids from Rosslyn Academy, Nairobi.

It was a bumpy 400km ride South from Nairobi to our rural destination, Maji Moto. Maji Moto is a semi-arid location embedded in the Osupuko plains of the South Rift Valley of Kenya. It is a beautiful and scenic getaway and we were sure that the school kids would have a fun filled week.

There was one thing, though that was on the agenda of our visit that wasn’t so much fun but really so much work. Painting the church roof!

The church building at the Maji Moto mission center stands, surprisingly as a center piece of the place. Built in the early 80’s by the People of Canada, it has since become a part of the peoples’ lives, both practicing and non practicing Christians. This is because the building serves the community in multiple ways; church, conference hall, youth mission center and so on. It has become synonymous with Maji Moto.

Painting the church roof was for the Rosslyn kids like applying lipstick on a real pretty lady to make her look even better. Since its construction a little less than 30 years ago, the iron roofing has never been replaced nor re-painted so this was a very necessary and timely act of kindness by us.

It took around 60 liters of the best roofing paint, plenty of paint brushes and many sure footed teens to achieve the feat but after 2 days of sweating it out on the roof, it was done.

The shiny, corrugated roof of the church will for a long time be a testimony of our kindness and of the hard work of caring kids.

Posted by: Carol Amollo on Oct 02, 09 | 6:12 pm African Time

PEHUCCI: The Vision

The name Pehucci was coined by its visionary, Rev. Lucy Njenga, and it means Peace Humanitarian Christian Center International, a powerful name for a project that began with the vision of an ordinary Kenyan woman.
As a young girl in 1965, Lucy used to help her mother, a social worker, do the rounds to assist needy communities. This was the birth of her own need to become a community helper.
This burden to help the less fortunate in the community grew with time and by 1988, Lucy, then a civil servant working in the Attorney General’s Chambers in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, made a firm decision to resign from her job in order to take care of destitute children.
She was in 1989 ordained ‘Reverent’ of the ACK church in Kenya and went into full time child ministry in 1992 after graduating from St. Paul’s college with a diploma in Theology.

She began to live her calling by attending to destitute children at the city’s public park; Uhuru Park, she would provide them with food and clothing from her own purse. She became one with them and their plight in spite growing condemnation from her friends and family who could not understand what she was doing.
In 1993, she bought a 100m by 100m plot in Ruai estate about 15km north of the capital. Here, she constructed a mud hut with a grass thatched roof where she began to house destitute children. However, they were often infested by jiggers and underwent hard times due to lack of adequate support.
Good news came in 1995 when she was awarded K sh.500, 000 as retirement benefits from her former employer. She used this money to expand the project and with help from Pastor Tony of PAC University in the city, she put up classrooms to enable learning. The same pastor assisted her to construct two dormitories, two toilets and the kitchen. Charles Brakes from the USA also helped out by paying the laborers. Baptist Mission, USA, led by Joy Casner, built a small office in 2002. Lutheran World Relief built more classes and The Living Water Ministry sunk a borehole for water and purchased a generator for power the next year.

Around 2004, other well-wishers came into play to carry the vision forward. Specifically, Journey of Hope came on board.
Over the last five years, Journey of Hope has been a constant supporter of the project. There are now more than 200 destitute children living at Pehucci center for which we have provided food, clothing, books, toys and tours. Through Journey of Hope’s commitment and love, the institution now has electricity, a dining hall, a canteen and a new girls’ dorm worth well over 4 million shillings housing 80 girls which was officially opened in April this year.

Rev. Lucy Njenga is eternally grateful to Journey of Hope who she now calls partners in caring for the destitute and orphans in Kenya.

Posted by: Carol Amollo on Oct 02, 09 | 6:10 pm African Time

Martin Wafula: Lost and Found

Martin is a cheerful young lad of 10 years and in standard four of his primary school education. He is one of our children living at Pehucci home since 2004.

Before coming to Pehucci he was living with his aunt in Kayole, a residential suburb in Nairobi. He never new his biological parents as his father never married his mother who died upon birthing his younger brother who was 2 years younger than him.

In early 2004, at the age of 5 and with his 3 year old brother, he was dumped on a busy city street by the aunt who apparently got tired of struggling to take care of them.

They wondered off in different directions oblivious of the dangers of the world. He was later picked up by police and brought to Pehucci; however, the whereabouts of his little brother remains unknown.

Martin says that since coming to Pehucci home he enjoys food and shelter. He has the comfort of a bed and the love of the entire Pehucci family.

He says that the support of Journey of Hope has enabled him to get an education and hope for the future. He thanks all the sponsors knowing that without sponsorship children like he would be lost forever.

Posted by: Carol Amollo on Oct 02, 09 | 5:56 pm African Time

Tue Sep 22, 2009
Our Dispensary

Our Dispensary

Our dispensary is a medical facility serving over 5000 inhabitants of Maji Moto location. We love this place located 350 km south of Nairobi and 45 km south of the town of Narok. It is a semi- arid place meaning that it is mostly dry with thorny and scanty vegetation spread over flat low lying land.

Our dispensary is a solid block building that seems to have always been a part of the landscape of Maji Moto; actually it is less than 30 years old. It is the only medical facility over a 50km radius of the area; this means that it is a life saving facility as the nearest hospital is too far especially in an emergency. So being, most of the adult population in the area has sought some sort of medical service from the facility and all the children have received immunization and curative care from it.

When I behold the building, I see more than brick and iron sheets, I see the life that is represented there in and I’m proud to be a part of it. Within the strong walls is an equally strong medic; Nurse Elizabeth.

Nurse Elizabeth is a legend; her service to the community is as old as the dispensary itself. Having completed her high school education in the 70’s, she was unable to pursue her dream of joining a nursing college due to lack of funds. As a result she sought to be apprenticed at the local clinic. It is at this time that she became ‘a hand’ at the Maji Moto dispensary, by then a landmark of the 80’s as no other such facility existed in the entire Narok South District. She has served under all the missionaries and medics that have been appointed to the dispensary and when the going got tough and they left, she remained to give assistance to many under the most challenging circumstances and as a result has the kind of experience and knowledge that can only be gained with age. Her service to this community has not gone unnoticed. We have always given her the support that she needed be it in cash or in kind.

Journey of Hope has always been involved with our dispensary in one way or another. Over the last ten years we have supplied drugs to the facility especially in 2007 when it was at risk of shutting down due to lack of support. We have also come in time and again to give monetary support to Elizabeth whose patience has touched the lives of many. This is because in spite of acute lack of money she has always looked beyond her personal need and sacrificed to meet the needs of others.

We cannot quantify the amount of help we have given our dispensary over the years but it dwarfs in comparison to the strength and dedication of one woman; Elizabeth.
She is part of the reason that we have the luxury of calling the grayish block, our dispensary.

Posted by: Carol Amollo on Sep 22, 09 | 12:40 pm African Time

Thu Sep 17, 2009
Touch of Love Seminar

As we all know, the key to relevant work output is networking. For anyone not familiar with this term, it means keeping in touch with other organizations and groups that share your vision so as to always be on top of your game in your particular field of work.

As a representative for journey of hope on the ground in Narok district, a district in the southern part of Kenya inhabited by the Maasai community where we have supported projects for a long time, I found it a good idea to do some networking for our team.

Touch of Love is a civil society organization that seeks to improve the livelihood of the Maasai people in every possible way. They organized a seminar dubbed Pastoralist and Policy Options in Kenya held in Narok town about 350km from Nairobi, keep in mind that Maasai people are a major pastoralist community in Kenya.

Pastoralists are people who keep livestock for milk, meat and prestige. They move from place to place in search of green pasture and water for their herds.

Journey of Hope has done a lot for the betterment of the Maasai people, in order to remain relevant in our support we need to seek more knowledge about their way of life and their needs. This will equip us to give more appropriate assistance to them and get the best possible outcomes.

My personal objective for going to the meet was to find out more about how to diversify the economic livelihood of Maasai people.

Effects of climate change in Kenya can no longer be ignored as the country grapples with prolonged drought. Coupled with environmental degradation of water catchment areas like the Mau forest, pastoralism is quickly becoming an impossible way of life. There is urgent need to help Maasai pastrolist communities to learn new ways of attaining food security.

The seminar attempted to create synergy between players in the district so that together we could brainstorm on options for this community.

After two days of detailed discussions with 10 other stakeholders in Narok district we came up with a way forward. With regards to Maji Moto where we have our focus, we came up with the following;

1. There’s need to move towards promoting cultivation of land under the irrigation scheme and possibly looking for ways of expanding the same.
2. There is need to look for profitable ways to utilize already available resources, for example, water collecting in the 2 dams could be diverted to ponds for fish farming thereby creating a new source of nutrition that will be sustainable.
3. There is need to educate the pastoralists on newer breeds of livestock that may be more resistant to the drought.
4. There is need to promote tourism in the area since it boasts a variety of wildlife e.g. Thomson’s gazelle, wildebeest, zebra and giraffe among others. This option would create employment for locals.
The seminar was truly a worthwhile experience which could help us to do a lot of positive things with the community we have come to love.

Posted by: Carol Amollo on Sep 17, 09 | 8:24 pm African Time

Tue Sep 15, 2009
Seed Distribution in Maji Moto

In early 2009, farmers of Maji Moto location, Narok South District, Kenya, finally had a reason to smile!

Maji Moto location lies in the Osupuko plains approximately 350km south of Nairobi and is an arid zone served by an underground hot water spring hence the name ‘Maji Moto’.

There are about 5000 inhabitants most of whom are traditional Maasai livestock keepers and pastoralists. Irrigation farming came to be as a result of the hot water spillage which was channeled to 85 tracts of land each measuring one acre. This irrigation scheme goes a long way to serve the community as the only source of agricultural produce.

Thanks to the generous support from our partners, more than 85 irrigation farmers, each cultivating approximately 1 acre plots, received sufficient donations of maize and bean seeds amounting to around ksh.150, 000.

Noonkipa Ene Nkurrarru, 62, an irrigation farmer for the last 12 years, said she was grateful for the seeds because the severe drought over the past year had meant that most households consumed both crop and seed and if not for our intervention, she and her neighbors would be in dire straits.

The distributed seeds were of high quality and of a drought resistant strain; the resulting crop a resounding success for the season. Today, farmers and their families are busy harvesting.

Posted by: Carol Amollo on Sep 15, 09 | 12:48 pm African Time

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