Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Our Visit to the Orphanage

We were so pleased to have the opportunity again to visit St Dorcas Orphanage in Kipcheria, near Bungoma, Kenya.

The new building was opened last August so we were excited to see how things were going with the children in their new home nine months on.

We stayed with the children in the Orphanage so we were able to interact with them.

The Orphanage operates under the auspices of the Rise & Shine Church group.

Our main contact there is a wonderful lady called Beatrice. All those involved in the project are great examples of living out God’s love and care for his children.

There are currently 24 children present; one new addition during the past months and two young adults have now left to go to work in a different area. Our role, as Christians supporting the project, is to provide the framework, guidance and support it needs to nurture children through to adults so they can be good citizens of their communities.

So what did we achieve on this visit? The key thing is we have a much better understanding of the running costs of the project. For basic food, water and electricity it costs approx. £3,500 per annum + the cost of all aspects of care for the children. To assist in minimising the basic running costs we are currently exploring:-

· Solar panel opportunities
· A water project utilising existing bore hole + water encapsulation
· A field has been purchased so that a lot of food can be grown (hopefully 2 crops per year)
· A new chicken shed is to be purchased to provide both eggs for children and chickens to eat

So what about the children? Their ages range from 3-17 with most children being in the 8-10 age group. John, age 3, is an interesting story. 
We saw him on our last trip, living with his great grandmother.  He was malnourished.  He was taken into the orphanage a couple of months after it opened. Here are the before and after pictures of John – we made a difference for him……… 

We showed John pictures of his “old” house as we visited his great grandmother on this trip too. We asked him would he like to go back – a loud NO was the answer – he is happy and settled at the Orphanage.

We are aware of another boy, aged 8, whose father is dying and he has no other family. We expect he will be the next child to be taken into the orphanage.

Some children wrote letters during our visit to “the children of England” about their life at the Orphanage. One comment was “we even have water in our house”.

What can we learn from these wonderful children? The first thing that struck us was their amazing work ethic.  

During the weekdays they get up at 6am and are off to school by 7am. They return midday for food and then they come back from school around 4pm, or later if they are older children. On a Saturday morning they are woken at 7am. After breakfast all except the youngest children do their own washing for the week. It is done with cold water and a bar of shared soap. Clothes are then hung on the line to dry. On Sunday morning they are woken at 7am again and after breakfast they head off to church (just a short walk away) for 8.30am.

One of the joys of our trip was getting so much closer to the children. We lived with them and got to know them for the brief time we were there. Our playtime with them was an extremely special time. We took a number of balls with us. As they didn't have any outdoor toys, the big smiles said how special they were to them.

Next month we will talk about our visit to elderly people in the nearby community when we took food parcels to them.

Angela Jenkins
Karen Stobert
(Tockwith Church)