This is both a long update – and an abbreviated one.
For the past decade I have been providing a detailed, picture by picture, update on an almost monthly basis. These updates remain on file. While thank you pictures and accountability will continue to be provided to donors, these pictures will not all be listed in this report. Below are some of the pictures that were sent to those who made donations. To include all the pictures for this two-month period would involve a report that would be incredibly long.
I also believe that the most important thing is to get those pictures – and accountability back to the donors. That will continue without the need to list them all in the monthly reports.
Visitors to the program
Koko – who is a longtime sponsor in the program – along with her sister Kara and mother Brigitte spent a week in the program this February and were actively involved in the daily life of the orphanage. Along with their brother, they have decided to sponsor 5 new children!
Koko is also leading our campaign to fund a bore hole at the residence. The drought, coupled with an increased need for water at our residence, have caused the two wells to be unable to provide sufficient water for the program. We are in the process of developing a bore hole. The construction involves drilling down with heavy equipment to a depth of 500 feet or more. As a comparison, our two wells go down less than 100 feet and were hand dug. We believe this will provide us with water forever.
In addition, we might find ourselves in the position of being ‘seller’s rather than ‘buyers’ of water. Water sells for about 20 Ksh (about $.25 ) for 20 liters. We are often forced to purchase water. If the bore hole is successful we might be able to actually sell water and create another ‘stream’ of income – please pardon the pun.
If you wish to support this project and donate go to the Hope Story website at : https://www.hopestory.ca/donate/support-a-project. Go to the bottom of the page and look for the bore hole donation ‘button’.
After a two and half year absence, my wife and I were privileged to spend most of the month of February at the project. For part of that time we were also joined by Gina – who is an administrator with our partners at Hope Story – and her husband Ryan.
Ryan and Gina meeting their sponsored child in the residence.
It was, of course, a busy time. We met with 165 of the over 173 orphans, sharing letters, giving gifts and greetings and meeting with the administrators of their schools as well.
We met with almost all our students in college, university and trade school:
College students in Machakos
University and college students in Nairobi
Trade School students outside of Wote
College students in Wote
We visited schools where almost every child attended, meeting with staff, and giving out sports balls and work books, and also pens to include every child in more than 25 schools.
We also visited more than thirty homesteads to distribute food and supplies:
As well we were part of a food distribution giving out supplies to orphans and impoverished children around the region, met repeatedly with elders and community leaders. We attended a committee meeting, and a meeting at the Canadian High Commission and as well as a workshop for empowering girls which was held at the residence of the Canadian High Commissioner.
We also met with a number of our successful graduates. These are orphans who have graduated from the program, completed their education and are now employed.
The very first young person in our program was Mutuku. He has now graduated from college and is employed as a pastor in the community. He has set up his own church. Ever since I’ve known him – which is over ten years – he said he wanted to be able to help other people, in order to give back the opportunity he was given. He is a remarkable young man.
Mutuku has gone from being a young, abandoned orphan, sleeping under a stall in the market and finding food in the garbage pile to having graduated from college and setting up his own church. The Lahnsteiner family have been his faithful sponsors throughout this process. It’s been wonderful to be able to be part of his success. He is a remarkable young man who will make an impact on his community.
Another one of our young people, Eric, has graduated from college and has set up his own hairdressing salon in Machakos. He is so successful that he is already turning away clients! His success is because of the wonderful students at Lasalle P.S. under the leadership of Martha Martin.
A highlight was meeting with Nicholas and Naomi and their newborn! They are successful graduates of our program who married and now have their new-born son. It is traditional to name the first-born son after the father’s father. They named him Hope in honor of our program.
This little girl is not sponsored by our program but lives with her mother and father. Her life was saved by one of our volunteers. April, who is a midwife in Canada, spent a month in the program working in the local clinic. The parents, in gratitude, named their daughter April. This is one of the most dynamic examples of lives being saved by the program.
I also want to share a couple of updates and do a little bit of ‘bragging’ about our young people.
This fine young man is Baraka. Anybody who has read My Name is Blessing is familiar with his backstory. He is now in Grade 10 and moving toward his goal of becoming an engineer.
Charles and Boniface, the ‘stars’ of Hope Springs, are in high school and doing remarkably well. They remain best friends, brothers, and supporters of each other in moving through school. They are such fine young men.
Alex received a Gold Medal – position 1 – at the national level Tae Kwon Do championship in Nairobi.
Kioko has emerged as a basketball star. His high school team has won 3 of the 4 tournaments they have entered. His best game involved more than 60 points and 30 rebounds.
We opened two new water projects. When you give people water you give them life.
We also inspected another project that is in the implementation stage and discussed a project with elders to build a dam (and then did fundraising through Facebook and Twitter to fund it!) This was successfully funded. Great thanks to Paul, Marc and Ruth who made this happen.
Terrilee gave money for a goat.
Shane Peacock and his family made a wonderful donation of $500.00 which was put toward food distribution, homestead visits and a day of support.
We received a wonderful donation from Blake – who donated birthday money ‘so kids could have a better life’. Blake turned 10. His donation was used to support the program on March 3 and for the February food distribution.
Lorna made an incredibly generous donation of $1000.00 that we have put toward daily support, food distribution, and donations to homesteads.
Theresa Caristena made a generous donation of $315.00.
Lisa made a donation that supported the program for February 27.
Jacqueline made a donation that was used to support the program for February 28 and for the February food distribution.
Mary made a donation of $50.00 for food distribution in honor of her granddaughter Treah.
Geri and Don donated $300.00 which was used for food distribution and school supplies.
A donation was used for the following:
Thank you for my goat Lovely Lovatt Family
For the chickens:
Happy Birthday Aidan
Happy Birthday Maizie
Happy Birthday Ellie
J. James Public School made an incredible donation of $1745.32. This was used for food distribution, for school supplies, and for days of support.
Hello Mr. Walters,
My Grade 2/3 class raised $100 to donate 2 goats
Cambridge Christian school Lori Salverda made a donation of $223 to purchase 2 goats, 5 chickens, 1 solar light, 1 blanket, and 80 saplings.
Diane Rombough and her school Lynndale Heights sold water which was to be used to purchase 10 blankets and three chickens.
Jean Vanier C.S. donated money to be used for a day of support.
Ute donated money for a day of support on February 22
Westwood Junior School made a donation which supported the program on February 23
Shanty Bay Public School donated $272.00
Harris Mill donated $500.00
Thank you Signs
These are a small sampling of the thank you signs. We have been sending them directly to people – there are just too many to put into this update!
Harris Mill – 625 workbooks – one for each child in the entire school and 625 pens
Every month we give out up to 2 tons of food and supplies, including goats and chickens, to the extended families of orphans and impoverished children. Here are a few signs from the distribution.
Days of Support
Our residence, which now has 53 children, can be supported for $100.00 per day of operation. This provides food for all the children, the salaries of staff and the utilities for the building.
Even with the continued graduation of our successful early sponsored children we continue to take on new children and new sponsorship. Here are messages for sponsors from those children.
Christmas Celebration Pictures