In three days time I fell in love with Kenya, much more than I expected to. The city of Nairobi is big and has lots of poverty – one slum alone is estimated at about a million people living (barely) without sewage and most other necessities.
Yet the people I have met are kind, caring, and filled with hope. Of course, many of the people are those whose lives have been changed forever by Unbound (formerly known as CFCA). I sponsored a child when Fr. Graden came to our parish then Blessed John XXIII, three years ago. I met Ivet, and she and her mother kept telling me how their lives have been changed forever because of this sponsorship.
What I didn’t know was that for all children who are sponsored, their mothers are also brought into a Mother’ Group that helps and supports them. They are given a new beginning by being empowered. The group members often help each other start some very basic businesses, like cooking and selling beans to neighbors, selling fish (which is what Ivet’s mother is now doing, since she lives near Lake Victoria), or selling vegetables to those near them.
Ivet’s family rents a one-room house. Ivet and her sister now have a mattress to sleep on, thanks to the sponsorship. But best of all, Ivet is able to continue her studies. School fees are always a big problem – they don’t really have free education. Ivet ranks number 7 out of about 70 in her class. I gave her a personal journal for her to write in. (I had noticed from her letters that she writes well.) By the next day, she had written five pages about her trip yo Nairobi to meet me. It was very well done. As you know, I value the written word, so i was delighted that she is taking it seriously.
I only visited with Ivet’s family a couple of hours on Monday and then on Tuesday at a picnic with all the sponsors traveling with me, and their sponsored friends. I spent the next day meeting others who are sponsored by Unbound, in their homes. Incredible stories and great hope in the midst of harsh settings.
Much more going on, but I’ll be sharing more stories later.