MAY 2008 NEWSLETTER – written by Irene Hamm
Due to the unrest and violence in Kenya following the election at the end of December, Henry and I were unable to travel to Kenya at the beginning of this year. It was with pleasure that we made it there at the end of May. It is exciting to see new changes every time I go there.
The first major change apparent at HopeCC was the tall rock wall that is being built around the property of the community center. No longer was there a rickety wooden gate at the entrance but a bright red metal one connecting the high wall. The last few months of unrest resulted in many people fleeing into her surrounding area. Lucy stated that at times, there were people hiding on her property. This created much tension and uneasiness. The building of the wall will give her children the needed security.
The next new addition became evident when Lucy led us into the ground level of the girls’ dorm. The one-room on the end has been transformed into a nursery for 3 babies. They had joined HopeCC in September last year. Mary was born Feb.26, 2007, Allan was born Sept. 29, 2007, and little Henry Hamm!! was born on Aug.24, 2007. A young woman, Flora is the caregiver and thoroughly enjoys being their “mommy”. Of course, the other children are given turns to interact with the babies as well. Lucy is anticipating adopting 3 more newborns (2 girls, 1 boy) in September of this year. There are many babies available from the hospitals where abandoned babies are brought. She is excited to be able to rescue these little ones and give them a future.
Not only are there 3 new little faces, but also 43 new faces of children. These are the children who became caregiver-less due to death or abandonment in the Kenyan violence. When BBC talked to Lucy re the violence, she stated that “after we cleaned them, they became kids”. She’d shed many tears for them. It is a bit of a process to complete the needed paperwork in order to gain guardianship for each child. At present, these children have adapted well and become part of the family of HopeCC.
The garden has grown to many more acres now since the addition of land last year. Now they are displaying peas, maize, cabbage, carrots, kale, and many potatoes. This definitely has helped in supplying the children with food. There has been a great increase in the cost of food since the violence brought unrest in the country. Lucy is so thankful for the 2 donors who have committed to $1000 each per month for the year. The children help plant, weed, and harvest the vegetation throughout the year.
Last August, the project of the new water tower was still in process. Now it is complete, able to supply water all year thanks to a special donor. Lucy stated that at times, there is not sufficient power for the pump to supply the water to the dorms. She is hoping to someday acquire more solar panels so that her power supply would be adequate.
At present, there are 60 high school students attending various high schools throughout the country. Lucy did not have enough funds to pay for all 60 students, therefore, has made agreements with several schools to pay a deposit with the rest of the payment to follow at a later date. She proceeds in faith that God will provide the funds that she will need.
At present, the new boys’ dorm is complete. The lower 2 floors are enjoyed by the boys while the top floor is being prepared to have 26 grade 9 students come January. We are in the midst of planning the building of a high school on the property of HopeCC. This would teach grades 9-12 to her children and possibly some outside students as well.
The road that runs beside HopeCC is having major work done to it. The rock is being blasted way down so that the hill is not so steep for vehicles to proceed on. It is strange to see Chinese men (the engineers) with their pointed hats in the midst of Africa! This new roadway development will drastically change the community around HopeCC. Once the pavement is completed, it will take only 1 ½ hours to get to Nairobi – and no very bumpy road to Naivasha (the nearby city). I will miss it!
We are still thinking hard about building a guest house to be used by anyone who wants to experience HopeCC. Building in Kenya is so different from Canada. All buildings are made from stone blocks, with plaster on the inside. Plumbing and finishing cannot be equated with what we are familiar with. So Henry has quite a job trying to create a house plan which he will be satisfied with. He has great plans of how and what to make of this guest house but at present, they are only ideas. We believe that it is so very enriching for people to be able to experience HopeCC for themselves. Pictures tell a thousand words but there is no comparison to actually speaking with, listening to, smelling, seeing, and hugging a child with warmness. Our worlds are very different but our hearts beat the same need for love.
When we think of our experiences with HopeCC, we realize how very privileged we are to be able to touch the children’s lives in such powerful ways. They were once hopeless and without purpose but now they belong to each other and have their needs met. Education makes possible the fulfillment of their dreams themselves. The love of God warms their hearts and takes away the pain of their experiences. Over the 4 days that Henry and I were there at the end of May, I heard many painful stories. I had the privilege of praying with them and God touched them and brought them peace deep inside. I also baptized 70 children in 3 days! Wow! Their singing makes my heart swell in awe of the gratefulness that their hearts proclaim. Before coming to HopeCC, they had no one to care for them, no food, no shelter, and only hopelessness. They lovingly look to Mama Lucy as the one who picked them up and gave them a future. Mama Lucy constantly looks to God, who is her Provider. She is a woman of faith who has blessed her 160 children with hope and a future.
Thank you for your part whatever it is. Some of us contribute financially, some through prayers, and some by being interested in and becoming aware of life in Africa. We each have opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life in one way or another. Thanks again for your love and caring.
Written by Irene Hamm