30 Jun Our Neighbors And Local Partners
With 100 growing kids between our Kikuyu and Kitalale homes, it is crucial for their development for them to connect and form relationships with individuals and be a part of the community outside our home. Since opening our doors, we’ve felt the support of our neighbors and have been blessed by the help and prayers of the local Kikuyu and Kitalale communities. It is thanks to the generosity, love and connection that people have shared with us throughout the years that we’ve been able to create a safe and loving community for our kids to grow in.
Due to local social distancing regulations still in place, we are staying safe at home and there is not much interaction going on with the outside world. In the meantime, we wanted to take some time and space to talk about how we normally keep our children and homes connected to our amazing local community and partners.
Our Local Congregations
In both homes, we have developed a close relationship with the local church and congregation providing our kids with an opportunity to get involved with programs and make friends outside the home.
Kitalale Deliverance Church
In our Kitalale home, our kids attend the ‘Kitalale Deliverance Church’ which is located a mile away from our home. On a regular Sunday, our kids typically attend the 7:30am service, also known as Sunday school, which is considered the children’s service. At Sunday school, the teachers use skits, music and drama to showcase Bible stories and teach them the word of God. This time is incredibly special for our kids who enjoy singing, dancing and performing in front of their peers. At any given opportunity, Grace, Faith, Ezra, Viola and Sarah will volunteer to sing while James and Kevin Korir will dance to the music. Other kids like Phillip, Joshua, Aaron and Mark truly enjoy going to Sunday school because they get to clean up nicely, wear their best clothes and play with their friends from church. Sunday school has become a way for our kids to learn about faith and spirituality while connecting and having fun with other kids from our community.
Throughout the years, the members of the Deliverance church have been incredibly supportive of the Kitalale home. They have prayed for us in times of need and many have come into our home with donations and to play with our children. During our annual community day we welcome the community into our home to celebrate and appreciate all they do for our home and children. The church has always helped our Aunties and Uncles plan the event to encourage the neighboring community to support our home and also thank those who have brought donations, clothes and food for our family. It’s a very special day for everyone.
Presbyterian Church of East Africa at Kikuyu town (PCEA)
In Kikuyu, we attend the PCEA which is the church with the greatest number of congregants in town. Depending on the Sunday, our kids will go to either the service in English at 8:00am or the service in the local language (Kikuyu) at 10:00am. During both services, the kids and the teens participate in praise and worship which lasts about 40 minutes and then get to break out in different groups according to their age for Sunday school. In each class, there are teachers who facilitate activities for the kids to bond and learn more about the bible. During these classes, some of the kids like Amos get the chance to lead praise and worship. Towards the end of Sunday school, the kids are given juice, tea, a cookie or a bun (mandazi) which always ends up being their favorite part of the day.
To create a sense of community and fellowship within the PCEA congregation, there are a few small groups that gather frequently to discuss the bible and the word of God. We feel blessed to be included in these and have had the opportunity to host several of these meetings in our home. We enjoy many fun activities while hosting the small groups, and they enjoy coming to our home to help with special projects. It is through these meetings that we are able to forge strong relationships with our community.
Our Food and Grocery Suppliers
Feeding and maintaining two clean homes for over 100 people is not an easy task. In both of our homes, we are blessed to have created a relationship with our suppliers who give us items at a fair price and sometimes even give us certain items for free.
At the beginning of every month, the Aunties and Uncles from each home create a shopping list with items that can be bought in bulk. The list includes items like soap, detergent, dry foods, etc. Once the list is approved by our accounting department it is then passed down to our providers for purchase. For smaller items like vegetables, fruits, eggs and protein, we use local vendors to ensure quality ingredients at competitive prices. These vendors tend to donate fruits and vegetables to us instead of letting them go to waste if they have a surplus and don’t foresee selling them. When it’s time to pick up the items from the vendors, the Aunties and Uncles typically bring one of the older kids to help them. This provides the kids with an opportunity to experience a shopping trip and continue developing a relationship with our neighbors.
Maintaining a good relationship with the child services department of Kenya is one of our top priorities. This ensures that we are doing a good job and giving our kids everything in our power for them to grow as healthy adults. Pictured in the blue dress, is Rabecca, one of our social workers leading the charge for the celebration of the “Day of the African Child”.
To operate as a children’s home, we had to create a good relationship with the child services department of Kenya. They champion for the rights of the children in our region and will do everything in their power to enhance their safety and welfare. Our social workers Cecilia and Rabecca work closely with the child services department to adhere to all of the laws and requirements. Because of this working relationship, they personally know and have witnessed the growth and development of our kids. To maintain a high standard of care, their team visits our home frequently to make sure all of the best practices are upheld. Whenever the child services department is asked to give examples of local homes doing a good job, ours is always on the top of the list. We are proud of the work that we do.
Operating two homes with over 100 kids requires a lot of work and support. We are truly blessed to have incredible neighbors who support our mission as well as our children. Throughout the years some of our neighbors have even become part of our family as we hire the majority of our staff from the local community. Creating strong relationships with our neighbors and local partners provide opportunities for our kids to branch out, be inspired by the world and grow into healthy adults.