As the week neared its end, I was thrilled to be able to spend some time with some dear friends from so very long ago. My first visit to Kenya took place in 2004 with a small team from all over the US, ready for the wilds of Africa. We visited Kijabe first and met a fellow and his wife, Pastor Simon Muhota and Margaret. After a quick introduction, we all ventured to a place called Dol Dol, just north of Mount Kenya with him way back then.
I was so excited to catch up with them this past Sunday and learn of an orphanage they began. Pastor Simon told me he would find me Wednesday morning and we would grab a bite to eat in Naivasha and head to the orphanage.
We passed through Naivasha, the New Nairobi it seems, and visited a place bearing the name: Mother’s Kitchen. This place was an absolute dream and permitted a sizeable meal of ugali and beef stew. Following our very filling meal we stopped for some ice cream, a definite delicacy in Kenya. After a single scoop of strawberry ice cream I journeyed with Simon and Margaret in the direction of the orphanage. As we were traveling, the rain clouds that had earlier seemed congenial from a distance began to unleash their fury right above us. This was a blessing for the parched lands of Kenya but would bring an unexpected challenge to our journey.
We pulled off the main road to pass through barely distinguishable roads at times, eventually coming to an intersection of two roads. Although the road we were on was made of dirt, it was packed fairly well and we were able to make some good forward motion despite the slick mud. Pastor Simon had a four wheel drive truck which had more than enough power. However, it was the last half mile that would prove the most daunting. An older woman walking by exhorted Simon in Kikuyu, alerting him to the danger ahead. Pastor Simon assumed she referenced the roads we were currently on as “impassable,” but she knew something we didn’t.
Turning onto the last road we made the discovery that the entire length had been turned over by some heavy machinery and the soil was as loose as a garden ready for planting. Due to the spontaneous cloudburst the top inch or two of soil became like soup. The four wheel drive was scarcely worth anything as any attempt up the hill sent the vehicle either into the right or left ditch that was a good two feet deep. My heart leapt a little within because it really isn’t a trip to Africa without having some transportation problems in the mud.
Some locals were commissioned into service and using some borrowed shovels they dug a path for the truck, ultimately to the top of the hill. I think the motion of the truck resembled a sort of sidewinding snake in its trail to our destination. Nevertheless, as it always does, everything worked out. Once we crested the hill a beautiful building centered on five acres of prime growing land rose into view. Entering in through the gate I saw a veritable palace in the midst of this rural area.
Pastor Simon showed me the cows that produce milk every day for the residents, the numerous chickens that lay the necessary eggs, the garden that produced fresh food for the twenty-four inhabitants and the most recently dug water well that pipes water not just to the orphanage but the community as well. As we went into the house I saw a beautiful facility than anyone would be proud to call home. Then came the real tear jerker.
The kids that lived there came to greet us and they congenially introduced themselves. As they went back to their business Pastor Simon began to tell me their stories. The majority of the kids were from the post-election violence of 2008. Many of the children had experienced atrocities that would break even the hardest of hearts. They belonged to the hundreds of thousands that were displaced from their homes just over seven years ago. Simon elaborated as one of the quieter boys passed by; he had watched as his father brutally murdered his mother. The sadness and sorrow of their past lives could only be eclipsed by the great love that they experience in belonging to a home that provides them value, identity and a demonstration of God’s heart.
We spent some time with the kids, shared a bit more and finally headed back to Kijabe as the sun sank into the horizon. It was so encouraging, as all of our encounters have been over this last month, to see what God is doing through His people here in Kenya. This orphanage of only twenty-two children and two permanent staff makes an impact upon eternity that we cannot comprehend. Continue to pray for Abba’s House that these children would not only be provided for but also that they may see their identity in Christ. For in fact they have been created in God’s image and contain a value granted by him, not by the world that so quickly forgets the suffering.