When I arrived at the Shalom Orphanage about an hour north of Nairobi, deep down a red dirt road in the fields; I saw a concrete compound with a big Metal door. Inside we were greeted by kids singing and clapping a little tune. The pastor Richard and his wife Maria gave us an introduction about how they bought this property and built this compound for orphans. Housing 34 children, 17 girls and 17 boys.
We got a tour of the compound, seeing a very well kept place but still hurting very badly with very old tattered mattresses and sheets. Two kids per bunk with one blanket to share. I imagined kids wetting the bed peeing on one another and soiling the crappy mattress that can’t be cleaned because of a lack of cleaning products and no accessible water 🙁 …I imagined kids freezing and cuddling up on their bunk buddy trying to stay warm together.
I soon learned that 3 of the orphans there were born with aids and maintaining their meds to survive was quite the struggle but a highest priority for Richard and Maria. I also learned that their water supply had been bone dry for weeks. No water makes everything difficult… just imagine and see how far nothing goes with no water.
I asked the pastor what we could do that would be most helpful. He replied “The first thing that we need the most, is your prayers. Please pray for us. Anything after that is greatly appreciated, no matter how big or small; we are truly grateful for any help in any form”. I asked about filling up the 10k liter water tank on the roof and to my surprise he shared how it would be best that we not spend the $600 on filling the tank, but buy a spare tank of 5k liters for $320usd. I was shocked by his response to save money and spend more wisely… He shared how that 10k tank would eventually refill for much less from a deal he has made with water distributor and that the 5k tank would be very helpful as a spare and that the 5k liters would hold them over until the 10k tank is refilled. Without hesitation, and feeling so trusting of this man; I quickly agreed and made arrangements to order that tank on my way out as we would pass through town to do so.
We saw the rooms and got a full tour of the place. We also committed to looking into having some tables made for their empty classroom. I loved this room that they had but no tables to work on. Two tables cost about $140. Another hundred was spent on diapers and hygiene products and a grip of necessary long lasting food products. These items would have to be handled by our FSP local point of contact and transportation guy, Maina. Maina sent these photos over about a week after I had returned from Kenya. I had also given the pastor too much money for a soccerball… not too much but just enough to help him and his wife continue doing what they are doing. I told him, please get those boys a soccerball and send me a picture of it. Take the change and do whatever you and Maria see necessary with it. I cupped his hand with mine and told him that I will always pray for him, and asked him to please keep doing the amazing job he is doing.
I couldn’t help but think about how many people send me messages about the great work I am doing around the world and how they think I am like some hero. I don’t refute that but I sat there that day looking at Pastor Richard and Maria and was just so humbled by the real hero here.
I was so grateful to Maina for bringing us here and that he handled the work to be done like a professional after I was gone, when no one was paying him either… he is a real FSP team player, in our Nairobi, Kenya sector. The Shalom Orphanage has our prayers and support for as long as they stand like they do. Love those kids forever. As Jessy Love said “We are committed, forever. We now have 34 more kids J “. None of this would be possible without all the support and donors around the world. But I want to personally thank Al Walsh and my parents for making this particular project at the Shalom Orphanage possible. I told you I’d do something great with your donations, and I hope this blog gives you at least half of an idea how important your support really is to FSP and these 38 poor souls doin it tough. Thank you!