covid update Kenya

COVID Update Dave’s Trip to Kenya October 2020

Sorry I’ve been radio silent these past few weeks. I am still recovering from the most recent trip to Kenya.

The combination of the travel and pace of incredible things God did has taken me some time to get my feet back underneath me. It took a full week to be able to collect my thoughts. Then realizing the miracles God did in people’s hearts were so great, I had to write them down.

I’ve spent the last two weeks writing a hundred or so page book sharing all about the most incredible 2-week trip I’ve ever experienced. The first draft of 100 or so pages is done. Now for the rewrite!

I sat down to start writing an email series about the trip when today’s events ran me over. So please allow me to start there. I’ll be sending emails about the trip in the coming weeks. I’d also love to schedule video calls with you if you’d like to hear about it. Some of the events are so sensitive (gang-related activities) that I will not be sharing the details through email, only on the calls.

Maisha Mapya children in Nakuru Kenya
At first glance, I had no idea how much the effects of Covid has ravaged our community. It wasn’t until I asked Maggie and our sponsorship team to visit homes that the reality of the details of their lives hit home.

I’d seen many of our students out and about in the community. They seemed to be doing ok. Just a bit dirtier than usual, and some looked thin. They welcomed me with their adorable smiles. I didn’t think much about their appearance.

People on the streets were definitely more intoxicated and at an earlier hour than usual. Young people who should be in school were now drinking, tending bar, and doing whatever they can to survive.

Some of our sponsors have made additional donations to help their students and their families. I asked the team to visit and see how the gift could best bless the family.

The reports that began to flow in were polite and heartbreaking. It is basic needs that are most desired. Almost without exception, they read like this:

“<Name of child> would appreciate a mattress as they sleep on the floor with their siblings.”

“Food is hard to come by. May we get some rice and flour?”

“We have no roof on our place, can we get a few iron sheets to keep out the rain?”

“I do not have a blanket for <name of student>. May we get a blanket?”

Some homes we visited had been locked. When talking with the landlord, they shared that the parent and student had been evicted. They were months behind on their $7 a month rent.

A few reports came back like this:

“This is a really needy home, <student’s name> mom has been sick for quite a while now, she had a stroke on her right-hand side, speech and movement are a little bit slow, and recovery is progressing slowly. At the moment, she has no stable job or any means of livelihood as the illness has incapacitated her. She is a widow and is totally dependent on aid from well-wishers for survival. Her biggest challenge is getting meals for <student name> and his siblings. Maggie inquired and was informed that the house rent is 700 Kenyan shillings. ($7 a month). We also noticed a lack of beddings, and Maggie handed over to the family two blankets that had been donated.”

This is the one that made me sit down and write to you.

“We visited <student name> mum at her workplace and explained the gift, but she insisted that we head home and dialogue with <student name> grandma as they live in the same house. When we knocked, <student name> inquired who we were on the other end before opening the door.

Inside the one-roomed house, grandma was making an illicit brew known as busaa in <student name> presence. The pungent smell was so strong and could intoxicate an adult.

This was a shocking experience for us. I have known the family and have visited them several times and was not aware that they brew illicit liquor. What was even sad is that they are making it in the presence of <student name>. We did not know what to do about that situation. In this kind of situation, what is the best way to approach it? How can we help them, especially <student name>?

They lost most of their possessions from police raids. Police love visiting such homes to get bribes.

We were sharing with Milly on our way back, and we are concerned about <student name> well being. She is too exposed. It’s such things that make young people start using and selling the busaa (alcohol).”

I’m not sure what to do about all of this either. But I am learning that there is a lot more that happens in the community than what we witness from the outside. Often we see pictures of the students at Maisha Mapya smiling in their clean uniforms. It’s easy to forget the conditions in the home and what they have to do to have $7 a month for rent.

Let’s be in prayer about this together. Thank you for making this all possible. You are the most amazing and loving people I could ever imagine.

Dave Hatfield
Founder & Director of Encouragement
Living Stone Global Foundation