Kenya

Current Percentages

I know the area to the right of the screen says I’m still at 25%, but I cannot figure out how to change it.

So, I will just let you know that I am now at

47% of my monthly support

and

100% of my one-time donations!

Hooray!


A Confident Hope

I woke up before the rest of the world that was contained within the walls of the house on the first day of the New Year. My mind was racing and my body freezing, so I made a cup of hot tea and sat gazing out the window with my eyes fixed on the snow-coated creation.

It quickly became a beautiful spiritual experience and I began praying about this next year. I felt a new urge and passion for Kenya and what I will be doing there. I had a desire to really push hard through these next few months and get the support I need to do what my heart has been called to do.

I know Kenya has been a long time coming and continues to be, but I also trust that I am needed there, I have an opportunity to do some good for others and I will be living out the dream that God embedded in my heart.

So, I began writing a list of how my days would be spent, where I would invest my time, and how I could really give of myself as I’m here in the states. (Not a resolution, of course…those are destine for failure…but more of a plan)

Well, as a ‘glass half empty’ type of person would expect, my first day at this newfound agenda left my fingers without nails and my stomach in my toes.

Side Note: I think if there were prizes for nail biting I would win 5 gold stars. If only.

Throughout the morning I came across some things that smashed my sprit to the ground and left my body overflowing with anxiety and fear, which, come to find out, is not at all conducive to productivity.

There seems to be so much to do, so little time and even smaller amounts of hope.

Faith in one’s self and faith in God are two interesting things to nail down and this day was not strengthening either.

I sat myself down and tried to breath, pray, find solace in friends and attempt to convince myself that it’s not that bad. I was reminded of a scripture that I love while reading an email. I love this passage because it speaks of things I long for and delivers a comfort like the touch of an embrace.

I know I want to be in Kenya, I know I want this support raising to move quick and smooth, and I know good things are to come, but I more than that, I know I want to embrace each day, live now and trust that each second is shaping me into a better person. I long to be full of love, compassion, joy and a heart that gives of itself for others without hesitation.

I am blessed beyond measure in my life and would not trade this past year or the year to come. I hope we can all see an overwhelming beauty in the day-to-day experiences of life.

I am anxious to see how these next few months play out and how God is going to work in my life. I love the reality of the hard times and the joy of the good. I love the beauty that comes from the demise and the hope we can have in the goodness of a loving God.

‘I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.’

Romans 15:13


Shuting Injustice’s Mouth

David Frost: So what in a sense you’re saying is that there are certain situations…where the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal?

Richard Nixon: Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.

-Excerpt from interview, aired 19 May 1977

I’m reading the book It’s Our Turn to Eat: the Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower, by Michela Wrong, which ‘explores the factors that continue to blight Africa-ethnic favoritism, government corruption, and the smug complacency of Western donor nations.’

The author gets her inside information from the man appointed anticorruption czar under the current president, Mwai Kibaki. This man, John Githongo, set out with high ambitions to fight against what Kenya has long become accustomed to: corrupt government.

What Githongo saw and realized he could not change compelled him to compile evidence, put himself at great risk, and bring to light what was really going on.  This action has made him one of the most hated and admired men in Kenya.

(P.s. I just plagiarized a majority of that from the book sleeve)

Carrying on…

This book continues to blow my mind, bring tears to my eyes and enlighten my tiny little brain about the many complexities of Kenya.

It starts out by giving a history of the tragic progression of the Kenyan government from British rule till present day. The basic overview of this progression is summed up in the title; It’s Our Turn to Eat. When the British ruled, their people ate, held the best jobs, inhabited the most verdantly lush land and enjoyed the finest amenities. When the first Kenyan president ruled he followed suit and his tribe then got the food, water, land and jobs. When the next president came to power…well, you get the point. So therefore, the starvation, brutality, social injustice, and so much more came hand in hand for all other tribes.

When Kibaki came to rule he promised a new government devoid of corruption and greed. One that cared for it’s people, looked after every tribe and ended the sick cycle of the past. This was to be proven by the implementation of the anticorruption czar.

I haven’t finished the book yet so I can’t speak in whole about the situation, but from what I’ve read so far I have a better understanding of why Kenyans act the way they do, think what they think and so forth.

Mmm, that was a bold statement…let me qualify that a bit.

I’m not saying that every Kenyan is affected in the same way nor acts a certain way as a result of these happenings, but its interesting to see the connection with what I remember from Kenya and its people (when I was there over 5 yrs ago) and how that ties in with some of the examples the book gives in regards to the corruption of the government affecting it’s people.

I’m no sociologist; it’s just very interesting to me how things are connected. I shutter to think of the same situation here in America and how we act as a result of those in our government…whether we are aware of it or not. YIKES!

Anyway, I want to give you a brief overview of one tragedy in particular that is talked about in most detail so far in the book.

A ‘company’ called Anglo Leasing was found to be taking in ridiculous amounts of funds for some dodgy contracts. Githongo spent much of his time working on this one area of corruption that was plaguing the government and therefore resulted in ill effects on the Kenyan people.

The auditor general calculated that a mere 18 ‘contracts’ of Anglo Leasing were worth 65.3 billion shillings ($751 million) in total.

(I forgot to say that a majority of this money was disappearing and unaccounted for. This was due to the fact that significant amounts of it were going into the pockets of government officials. Shock.)

This amount sum was calculated to be 5% of Kenya’s GDP and over 16% of the government’s gross expenditure in 2003-4. Now this definitely made me sit back and shake my head, but the next statistic I’m going to give you brought tears to my eyes and continues to rip my heart out of my chest.

‘An American ambassador came up with an even more depressing figure: the money would have been enough to supply every HIV-positive Kenyan with anti-retrovirals for the next ten years.’

(According to UNAIDS 2008 Country HIV/AIDS Epidemiological Profile, Kenya’s adult and child population with HIV as of 2007 ranges anywhere from 1,500,000 to 2,000,000)

I finished the painting you see in this blog a while before I even knew about this book, but I think it gives a pretty good overview of the whole situation.

It’s easy to see the corruption and injustice on the other side of the world, but I think it’s just as important to open our eyes and see the corruption that sits at our doorstep as well. The book also speaks of the complacency of Western donors (aka, America…aka, you and I) and how that affects this whole cycle as well. Not to mention the injustices faced by millions of Americans on a daily basis.

There is injustice and tragedy at all levels worldwide that pain my heart and the hearts of many others. So let’s take a stand against it, shall we? Let’s make some change and impact lives, even if it’s only one. One changed life is worth all the sacrifice we can give.

Although I battle the truth of the statement below in my heart and head on a daily basis (and probably will more once I’m face to face with injustice in Kenya), I do find hope in a God who,

‘saves the needy from the sword of their mouth

and from the hand of the mighty. So the poor

have hope, and injustice shuts her mouth.’

–Job 5:15

Dear God, please shut her mouth!

I'm sorry it's so hard to see!

I'm sorry it's so hard to see!

The captions (found in newspaper articles and online news sources) are as follows from top to bottom of painting:

The genocide raging in Sudan’s Darfur region since 2003 has claimed over 200,000 lives. -In Darfur, where the continued spectacle of men, women and children driven from their homes by murder, rape, and burning of their villages makes a mockery of our claims as an international community to shield people from the worst abuses.

Ex-Militia leader denies forcing children to fight in the Congo war. -Lubanga’s armed group recruited, trained, and used hundreds of young children to kill, pillage and rape.

There are 30 million victims of modern slavery in the world today. -Each year 600,000-800,000 people are trafficked across international borders. The US is the number one destination for trafficked victims.

Zimbabwe president, Robert Mugabe, stated, “There is no cholera in the country.” -The number of cholera cases now stands at 60,401 and shows no signs of abating.


I’m going to Narok, Kenya!

Dear Friends and Loved Ones (or is that all the same?…yes, yes it is),

I have been blessed with the opportunity to move to Kenya for three years and invest in the lives of the Maasai people. I have joined in partnership with AfricaHope, a ministry of New Mission Systems International the believes Christ’s truth speaks to poverty, social justice, HIV/AIDS and other vital issues.

What is AfricaHope?

AfricaHope is an integrated program working with church, government and civic institutions. It incorporates community development, discipleship programs, HIV/AIDS and health education, school adoption programs, children’s camps and a community center to minister to the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of HIV/AIDS orphans. It also works to provide relief aid during times of emergency and devastation,  water through implementation of wells within villages, and food security through gardens and agroforestry.

I will be working in the health development program within AfricaHope, as a nurse, to develop programs that integrate community health education, clinic work, and village work through mobile clinics.  I will also be incorporating medicinal herb gardening to naturally treat illness and disease in order to further minister to the needs of the Maasai people.

How did I get to this place in my life?

I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Haiti and Kenya during my time in college and saw first hand, how illness can affect every aspect of a person’s life. This spurred me on to become a nurse and fight for individuals in a holistic way that not only takes care of their physical needs, but also digs deeper to the emotional and spiritual components of our lives. Complete healing is done not only by curing immediate physical needs, but also through educating and working with families and communities to decrease the spread of disease. Education is key in promoting health and healing.

What are my next steps?

I have completed one of the two training programs I need in order to head overseas. The first was the COAT (Community, Orientation, Assessment, and Training) program given by New Mission Systems International (NMSI). The second training will be done through Missionary Training International (MTI) a few months before I leave.

I have also taken a continued education conference called Agriculture and Nutrition for Individuals Living with HIV/AIDS through an organization called ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization), along with a study on herbal medicine to prepare me for my time in Kenya.

I am now working to raise both financial and prayer support. I am in need of $4250 a month for three years and am partnering with churches, individuals and organizations to reach my goal….ok, now take a breath, lift your chin off the floor, and rest assured that I know its a lot of money, but I also know God is bigger than the dollar sign. I am on board with what AfricaHope is doing and I know that we are joining God in His love and care of these people.

I encourage you to take a peak at the video attached (the Hope of a Well) and see, first hand, the lives that are being blessed, the justice that is being brought and the hope that is encompassing this community. It is more than beautiful and a true testament to love.

How can you help?

I would love for you to join with me in bringing hope, love and healing.  This can be done through one time donations, monthly, quarterly, or annually giving and if you click on the NMSI link to the right there is a section designated for donating to programs and individuals.

Thank you for all your support!