I recently went to visit a family that is supported through O5M. This is a family that has eleven children that lost their mother while she was giving birth to her last set of twins (there are three sets all together). The father of the children is living in Nairobi, while the children stay with their grandparents. The grandmother would like nothing better than to care for all eleven children, but she just can’t afford it. She does some casual work, helping in peoples’ farms with weeding, or other odd jobs that she can find. Her husband is retired and doesn’t work anymore. So, for now, she takes care of four of the grandchildren.
They live in a small two room home. The main room is the sitting room. There is a smaller room that contains two single beds and clothes hanging from the ceiling. This is where the grandparents sleep. There is a narrow path between the two beds that is just wide enough for a person to side step. The husband has a foam mattress, and the wife sleeps on a hand made mattress that is maize sacks (woven plastic bags) sewn together and filled with dried grass. The simple construction reminded me of a historical home I visited in downtown Toronto when I was in grade school.
That mattress was made from burlap and horse hair and was much thicker, and I am sure more comfortable. I got to lay down on the horse hair mattress and found it to be very nice. I don’t think the mattress the grandmother gets to sleep on provides very much support. I am sure she can feel every wooden slat that supports her and her mattress as she sleeps.
The four grandchildren get to sleep on the sofas in the sitting room. These are probably less comfortable than Grandma’s bed. The cushions are thinner and with two children per sofa (one older, one younger), there is not much room.
This month, thanks to a couple of families in Canada that support two of the grandchildren, we were able to purchase two mattresses for the children to sleep on. They don’t have beds, yet. But, down the road, maybe we can help this family build a couple of extra bedrooms and provide all eleven grandchildren a safe and proper place to sleep.
Something else we were able to provide for this family, is a water filter. This filter is something that is built close by to where this family lives and is sold in the grocery stores in town. It about $20 and filters the water so that water borne diseases, like typhoid are no longer present. The family does get their water from a local bore-hole, but this filter will give them added protection from the water they drink.
One of the grandchildren also received a letter from a child in the family that supports her. This is a great opportunity for her and her sponsor family to learn to communicate through letters. It will help her with her english skills, and let her know that there are people on the other side of the world who care about her.
These items that we were able to purchase, as well as the food that we bring each month, are able to provide a better life for the children. It will make it easier for the grandmother to keep the siblings together, as the other seven children are staying with other family members, and a children’s home in the area.
I have been developing a discipleship course based on Neil Anderson’s “Victory Over the Darkness.” It is my hope that by using this material, that we can help people break free of the idea that they are more than sinners who don’t stand a chance. We want them to understand that, thanks to Jesus, they can live a life that frees them up to live in a Kingdom mindset as fully accepted children of God; co-heirs of the Kingdom; priests and a holy nation. We want them to live lives in the knowledge that they are accepted, significant, and secure in Jesus.
I started the first portion of this teaching with our family, and they were grateful for the message. I am really looking forward to see how they grow in their understanding and seeing how their lives will change as they begin to live in freedom.
One last note about this family we have come to know. Out of their poverty, they are still willing to give. As a “Thank you,” the grandmother wanted us to take an entire bunch of bananas that were growing on her compound. We thanked her very much for the generous offer, but refused to accept them, as we knew that it would add more nutrition to the family. This grandmother continues to give out of gratefulness, even when she has very little to offer.