Monday, October 13, 2008
Sitting under a tree on a blazing Saturday afternoon, I could hardly believe what the men around me were telling me. “Yesterday, on our very last day of the DBSP training, was the first time we talked or even thought about tribes,” Juma suggested. “And it is only because someone specifically asked us what tribes we belong to. Until now, we’ve just thought about our businesses and how to help one another succeed.”
“As a Kalenjin,” 20-some-year old Kenei explained, “I believed I couldn’t succeed in business. Business is not in my blood. In fact, during the first exercise, I did nothing! But then Pastor Titus encouraged me. Charles and Juma also helped me to see that I can be successful in business.”
The three other men laughed. Two of them are Kikuyu, and one, Luhya. Earlier this year, these three tribes were at war. But now, they are working together to encourage one another.
Wendy Ludovici of ELI/DBSP Kenya reminded the students of the same during her closing comments earlier in the day. “This is just the beginning. We have equipped you with skills and confidence . . . ”
This was evident in my conversation with the men under the tree. Eric blew the stereotype of his people not being good at business out of the water!
He discovered a need for milk in Munyaka, a Kikuyu residential area. Earlier this year, Munyaka was one of the hotspots in the tribal warfare. Kalenjins were no longer welcomed there. But Eric discovered that no one was selling milk in the area, and ignored the fact that he was a Kalenjin. “I had something to offer the people of Munyaka!”
By the last day of class, this young businessman had made more money than any of his classmates! In fact, with his newly-acquired business skills, he made more than he usually made in several months combined!
“When positive opportunities like these come our way,” Charles commented, “we forget about tribe.”
Present people with positive opportunities, and they start treating one another with respect and dignity. If it’s indeed that simple, the dynamic business startup project can have far-reaching effects in Kenya and beyond.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Dr. Victoria Anjiji, professor in horticulture at Moi University, was one of the guests of honor. This petite woman was beaming with pride in the students, reminding them to keep Jesus in the #1 position of their lives, no matter where the journey from here may take them.
"You aren't just graduating for Uashin Gishu District, or for Rift Valley Province, or for Kenya or East Africa. You are graduating to compete with the world!" she pointed out. Baringo District, where she hails from, produces such quality agricultural products that their greatest international competitor is Israel. "Are you ready to compete with the rest of the world? With Christ, you can do it!"
She beamed as she handed out the prizes for best academic and best practical performance to two female students.
The hundreds of guests enjoyed a meal together before making the long journeys home. But the joy in the air was evident. Families were proud of their students' performance, and are ready to see them implement in their own communities what they had learned at Kipkaren.
Click on the photo to see more pictures from the event.
Friday, July 18, 2008
It was Monday morning, May 12th, that God reminded me of what He requires of me to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him. He did this through an encounter with a new friend, Emily Cheptum.
When I woke up that morning, it was not in my plan for the day to visit Cheptum. Juli had planned to do so and invited me to come along. We had heard about Cheptum through a doctor at a nearby clinic who asked us to follow-up on her case: 17-year old diabetic; untreated to the extent that it has caused her to go blind; unstable home.
Two years ago she completed 5th grade but was unable to continue her education due to her untreated diabetes. The doctor wanted to start her on insulin; however, he was concerned about her home situation: 2nd born of seven children, alcoholic father and mother, mentally challenged and crippled 1st born child, no one to take care of Cheptum. Those were the facts we knew going into the situation though none of us knew exactly what to expect.
As we traveled 20km to the base of the beautiful Kaptebee mountains to reach Cheptum’s home, the beauty of the surroundings were about to collide with the darkness of what we encountered inside the home. We parked the car near the home, got out of the vehicle and did not see anyone around. However, immediately we heard the piercing cries of a young girl. With no one around to welcome us, and cries coming from inside the house, we welcomed ourselves into the home where we found Cheptum.
She was lying by herself on a bed, crying in intense pain from the fire she was feeling from her calves down to the tips of her toes. Though unable to see us or recognize our unfamiliar voices, she showed no fear in allowing us to come inside. We began asking her questions and she quickly answered each one as the tears continued to stream down her cheeks.
“Where is your mom?”
“Washing clothes at the river.”
“Where is your father?”
“I don’t know. My father drinks and when he comes home drunk, he beats me. In his drunkard state he asks me, ‘Why don’t you just die?’ I answer, just leave me to be with my Jesus.”
About 10 minutes later, Cheptum’s mother, Priscilla, arrived. Slowly more children entered the room along with some neighbors whose curiosity was aroused by our visit. Before asking more questions to gain a better understanding of this desperate situation, Stone (ELI Anti-Alcohol staff member who had joined us) asked if he could pray. He was given permission.
I was sitting on the bed, and not knowing what else to do, I tried to comfort Cheptum (and admittedly myself) with a soothing touch. As I put my hand on her back to massage, I was disturbed to feel every bone—every single rib could be counted. She seemed to be wasting away from a combination of the diabetes that is eating away her body along with the lack of nutrition from no food being present in the home.
Stone came close to Cheptum, put his hand on her head and began to pray in his mother tongue, Nandi. “Kiptayat Jesu,” my Saviour Jesus—the tears fell from my eyes. I did not understand every word he was praying, but could sense that he was powerfully interceding on Cheptum’s behalf, asking Christ to intervene and heal her, to have mercy on her. When he finished praying for her, he walked over to Chebet (Cheptum’s older sister who is mentally and physically handicapped and the mother of a baby boy) and continued to pray for God’s intervention, healing, and mercy.
The tears were flowing down the cheeks of Priscilla, their mom, as well. Justice and mercy. My heart was moved, for lack of better words, by my encounter with Cheptum and her family that day.
On the drive home, we debriefed about our visit and I began to feel anger in my heart. I was angry at the way Satan entangles people and binds them into destructive things like alcohol until fathers and mothers cannot even care for their own children.
I was angry at the way Satan can use people to abuse an innocent young lady like Cheptum’s older sister—a girl who cannot defend or speak for herself.
Jesus said in Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” He was speaking from Isaiah 61 where it also says, “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…to comfort all who mourn…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
Let it be so in Cheptum’s life. Even in the life of her mother, Priscilla, her father and her six siblings. As we left her home that afternoon, all I could say to Juli was “Lord, have mercy on them.”
We left Cheptum and her family that day with no answers, only a prayer for God’s justice and mercy, which did not seem like enough. We knew what God required of us—to be moved to act; and so we sought wisdom from Him and from our team.
Two days later, after consulting with ELI Directors, team members, government officials from Cheptum’s location, Cheptum’s family members and neighbors, we agreed to bring her to our center. For the last two months, a team of unbelievably loving individuals have spent their days and nights caring for Cheptum.
Our social worker, Ruth, has learned to give Cheptum injections of insulin in the mornings and evenings. Juli has created a special menu to help regulate Cheptum’s blood sugar levels. Karemi (one of our Home Based Care clients) has diligently spent her days cooking these special foods for Cheptum. Others have stayed up all night comforting Cheptum because of the extreme fiery pain in her legs and feet. Cheptum’s younger sister comes on the weekends to take care of her.
All of these people remind me of the verses in 1 John 3:16-18: “And by this we know love, He laid down His life for us and we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. If any of you has this world’s goods and sees your brother in need and turns from him, how does the love of God abide in you? My dear children, let us not love in word or in tongue but in action and in truth.”
It is a simple yet challenging message.
We are continuing to love and care for Cheptum until she is strong enough to go for an eye operation, which God-willing, will allow her to see again. Please pray with us for the following:
- Cheptum’s evening sugar levels to stabilize so she can go for an eye operation.
- Wisdom for how to empower her family members so she may return home after the operation.
- The chains of alcoholism in her mother and father to be broken. Her father recently came to visit her and asked for help with his alcohol problem.
- Complete healing, especially the pain in her legs and feet. I believe the heart piercing cries we heard that day when we arrived at Cheptum’s home are the cries that God hears all the time. The cries of His children do not go unnoticed. The cries of His children should not go unnoticed. Let us do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Last year, AMPATH suggested a change in methodology. Rather than asking clients to come to us to be tested, they'd go to them. (Sounds a lot like Jesus' way of reaching out!) In the safety of their homes, entire families can be tested. Couples can both know their status.
Once again, AMPATH chose to partner with ELI. Not only will we supply some of the VCT councelors, but ELI is responsible for promoting the concept of home-based testing.
Throughout the day, the Salvation Army Band entertains the crowd, and when they take a break, ELI musicians take over. There's never a moment's silence all day, and the energy runs high! All through the day, clients from ELI's home-based care program share their testimonies over the PA system, telling others what a difference it made knowing their status.
Usually, we'd urge people to be tested at the event, and have had as many as 1,000 people tested on one day. Yesterday, the purpose was to tell people that yes, they should know their status, and yes, we'll come to their homes to test them. This way, in conjunction with AMPATH, we'd be able to test thousands more than we had done to date.
We are excited about the journey ahead and the doors it will open for us to bring Hope to those who are HIV+.
Dr. Mamlin, head of AMPATH, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the second consecutive year for the work he's done through AMPATH in our region. We are honored to work with a group such as his.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Twenty young adults were honored on July 4th as the first graduating class of Empowering Lives International’s Dynamic Business Start-up Project (DBSP) conducted at the Kipkaren River Training and Development Center.
DBSP was developed by Chris Black in South Africa as a way to empower young Africans living in poverty conditions with business development and management skills to start their own businesses and to sustain them for long-term economic benefit. ELI staff member Wendy Ludovici started DBSP training as part of her work in Nairobi.
A unique aspect of DBSP over other micro-enterprise development programs is the emphasis on God’s power in the trainee’s personal lives as well as in their businesses. To date, over 4,000 South Africans have been trained by DBSP certified trainers and now the program has come to the Eldoret area of Kenya through a partnership with ELI.
The 20 students participated in an intensive 30 days of classroom work where half the time was given to the discussion of theory and the other half to actual application in the community. Starting with their own 500 shillings ($8.06), small teams of students developed practical businesses that turned in profits at the end of the 30 days ranging from $33 to $114.
Nothing motivates like success. These young people now have both the skills and the confidence to return to their homes and start small businesses that will empower both their own families and their communities.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
ELI Family Nurse Practitioner
While studying to become a nurse practitioner, I chose to specialize in Family Practice because I figured in this setting I would see just about everything. And boy was I right! I’d love to write about our typical day but I’m not sure we really have one...
I’m the only American at the clinic; the rest of our staff are amazing Kenyans with a boatload of experiences. We have two highly trained RN’s, a Clinical Officer (very similar to a physician’s assistant), a dental technician and a laboratory technician.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays we provide antenatal care and do well child immunizations. We typically have many malaria cases throughout the year. The clinic staff cares for patients from all walks of life and with many different types of problems. We may see a 2-month-old baby and then treat the grandmother who brought her in the same visit. One of my recent weekend clinic adventures was suturing up machete wounds from a domestic dispute.
Our clinic theme is “We treat, God heals”.
One of my favorite aspects of working in the clinic is helping the mama’s deliver babies. Last night was one of those special nights. A little after midnight I got the phone call “She is fully dilated and getting ready to push, you better come now.” William, my husband, got up with me to go to the clinic. We put on our gumboots (rain boots) and tromped through the mud using our flashlights to get to the clinic.
The patient was a 16-year-old I had been following in antenatal clinic. When I walked in the room the mama broke out in a huge smile and thanked me for coming. That moment alone was worth the midnight trek through the mud. If my presence could induce a smile like that at full dilation, the trip was most definitely worthwhile. Bernard, the nurse on call, declared that as I had followed her all the way through, I should be the one to deliver the baby. Thus far I’ve only assisted but haven’t actually taken the lead. Bernard coached me through step by step. I couldn’t have done it without him. And by the way, I still consider myself to have assisted in the delivery. I don’t think we medical professionals should get the credit for delivering the baby when it is the mom who does all the hard work!
Somewhere between 1:30 and 2:00 Karen Jemutai made her grand entrance. It was a difficult delivery with some minor complications. But I’m pleased to announce that both mom and baby are doing great this morning. What a joy it is to watch a new baby take her first breath and scream out her protest as she enters this world. Then those little eyes start blinking and taking it all in. Those first minutes are so precious. Mom and gogo (grandma) thought that I should name the baby. They asked me if I wanted to name her Michelle after myself. I told them that I was honored but I thought the mom should choose. Mama and baby Karen stayed overnight and are getting ready to walk home as I type. That’s right! Just eight hours after delivery mom wraps up the baby and walks her home.
Life in rural Africa is very, very different from life in the US!
Services offered at the Chebaiywo Clinic includes the following:
1. Curative (The treatment of injury or illness of just about any type i.e. from sprained ankles to malaria)
2. Laboratory Services (including HIV testing and counseling)
3. Maternal Health, Infant/Child Health, and Family Planning
4. Basic Dental Services (Usually resulting in tooth extraction)
5. Preventative Services: Sale of Mosquito nets and Water Guard (kills parasites and bacteria from well water to make it safe for drinking)
6. Outreach Services: Mobile Clinic (We literally take the clinic on the road to a remote location)
7. Reproductive Health Training Sessions (focused for local midwives)
8. Pharmaceutical Services
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Jane was raised and went to elementary and high school in the Chebaiywa community. After completing high school, she spent one year taking care of Joshua Rogers, Don and Amy Rogers firstborn son. Joshua loved his "Auntie Jane" as she took great care of him. She then went to Kericho to study for one year to become a nurse aide. After completing the course, she returned to her community of Chebaiywa when the clinic was just beginning.
In October 2001, Jane obtained a job at the Chebaiwya clinic as a nurse aide. She has worked very diligently for 6 years at the clinic doing a variety of jobs and having a variety of responsiblities. In 2006, Jane was able to attend a one month training to become a VCT counselor (Voluntary Counseling and Testing) and is now trained to counsel and test individuals for HIV.
Jane is an excellent counselor, incredible servant, and a loving mother and wife. She is soft spoken, but also loves to share and laugh together with friends. Jane's desire is to see the clinic fully equipped so they can assist all people.
Since the Kenyan government did away with the role of nurse aide in clinics, Jane had a desire to further her studies to become a nurse. Her prayer in 2005 was "that God will open the door for me to complete my nursing school so I will be recognized by the government." Over the last three years, she applied to several nursing schools and continued to have faith in God that He would answer. In September 2007, she was called for an interview at Pentecostal Church of East Africa (PCEA) Tumutumu Hospital School of Nursing (which is near Nairobi, about 6 hours from home). More than 100 people interviewed for 30 positions, and in October, she received a letter saying that she was one of the 30 who were chosen. We are all grateful to God for this answer to her prayer.
During the post-election violence, we were all concerned wondering whether or not she would be able to attend the school as it is located in an area of a different tribe and traveling the roads to get there was unsafe. However, after much prayer and consultation with the school, she and Kiptoo (her husband) felt that things were okay and they traveled to the school on February 18.
The ELI staff and clinic committee gathered at David's house the Friday evening before Jane's departure for a small party to say goodbye to Jane and pray for her. It was a wonderful time of fellowship as we sent Jane off with God's blessings. We would like to share Jane's prayer requests with you and ask you to lift her and her family up in prayer for the following:
1. Safe travels to school (her husband, Kiptoo, is escorting her so also pray for safe travels as he comes back home). (They traveled to and fro without any incidents.)
2. Peace of heart and mind as she begins school while leaving her daughter, Mercy, and her husband back at home.
3. Good friends at school.
4. Commitment and dedication to her studies.
Jane is taking a Diploma course for Kenya Registered Community Health Nurse which will take 3 1/2 years. She will complete the course in July 2011. We will all greatly miss her as she has been such a vital staff member assisting in all areas. She is responsible, dedicated and committed to serving the community. She is also a gifted teacher and has greatly helped me in training our Traditional Birth Attendants. Jane and her family as well as us appreciate your prayer for Jane and her family.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Please also pray for Mark and Francis, our staff members who are leading the program in Ilula, for revelation and wisdom as well as for endurance during this difficult month.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Our Tanzanian leadership and one of our Kenyan training center teachers recently teamed up to do a survey of over 200 students and farmers that ELI has impacted during the past year. The results were very encouraging and our Kenyan teacher is now preparing to move with his family to serve alongside of our Tanzanian leadership for 2008 as they move forward with more training and outreach programs.
Our Sudanese Director recently traveled from Kenya to Southern Sudan with a load of supplies that will enable us to continue to complete the home under construction that will house orphans from the village. They will also be installing a very important fence / barrier near the borehole that was installed last year. This fence will protect the thousands of tree seedlings that will be planted in the months to come. Grazing goats and cows in the area are a great threat to anything green and could completely destroy all of the seedlings within minutes if they are not protected well. The ELI school now has walls and will open again after their normal break that takes place from January through March. Pastors in the area are very enthusiastic about the trainings that ELI has presented to them and relationships with these leaders and other leaders in the area continue to grow. Reech (Sudan Director) is thrilled with the “miracles” he is seeing take place in this village as the school reaches the children with new hope and daily nutrition and as the village and pastors respond and apply the trainings that we have been able to provide.
Support is needed to complete the administration room for the school, floors for the classrooms, the adjacent training center classroom, and a much needed motorcycle ($3,000).
Here is a recent update from Don and Amy Rogers (ELI Directors) after their recent visit to Kenya:
Thank you again for your prayers for the people of Kenya and for our family.
We moved from the Training Center and Children's Home in Ilula to Nairobi a few days before our scheduled return to California (Mid January). We traveled well though our hearts were and still are full of prayers for the nation and specifically for our staff and orphans in Kenya.
I have talked several times over the past few days with many of our leaders and our USA staff. Kipkaren is ok. There is a sense of calm in the village though the roads that go into Eldoret from there have concerning sections where sporadic road blocks make passage uncertain. Our staff and children have remained in the village though a few trips have had to be made to purchase food. All have traveled to and from without harm. Ilula campus is closer to town so the intensity and population is greater but I talked with Samuel today and he said that all are ok but the situation needs prayer.
As for our family - Joshua continues to pray for “Peace for Kenya” every day. He continues in 2nd grade here in Murrieta and our Nathaniel who is younger is back in preschool and seems to be doing fine -adjusting back to life here.
Right now there are important talks taking place in Kenya among the political leaders and we ask that your prayers concentrate on these discussions.
Some of you have asked if this crisis has created additional needs. The answer is yes as the price of food has gone up immensely. Many of you have already responded and we are so grateful as they have already been very helpful in securing the food and security. We know that God will use ELI also in the future as lives will need counseling, ideas, and hope. Any funds that we receive at this time , that are not used during this crisis will be used to help bring healing and restoration to people who have lost much and will need to rebuild physically, emotionally, and Spiritually.
Thank you again for standing with us in this important ministry and during these trying days as we give God our all to serve and empower the needy and lost.
Empowering lives together,
Don and Amy
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
We are so grateful for so many who are praying every day for the situation in Kenya. God hears and will answer. It is also good to come together in prayer.
We are inviting all of our staff and friends to join together this Friday – February 8th - wherever you may be (workplace or home) – from 12noon to 1pm for a time of prayer that focuses on Kenya.
Our office staff in Upland will be gathering for prayer from 11-1pm and anyone that can join us during that time is welcome.
- The current negotiations - that a process/ decision will be put in place that brings peace and restoration to Kenya and its people.
- For protection for all of our staff and ministry areas.
- For strength and wisdom for our Kenyan leadership.
- For all of those affected by the conflict thus far.
Together in Christ.
ELI Upland Office is located at 422 N Second Avenue, Upland, CA 91785 (Just North of the 10 fwy - off Euclid)
Monday, February 04, 2008
Here is an email from Mudekereza, our Congo Director that came in this morning to Don Rogers (ELI Intl. Director):
It was 9.30 am when we dropped the children at the church. As we alighted, the earth was shaking like we have never seen before; it was a strong earthquake.
We looked in the air and saw dust covering the sky above our heads; several building walls (including church buildings) were falling down around our church.
My wife, our newborn baby and some of our other children needed to be at home for various reasons. As I entered the church because I was to speak, I saw my nephew coming my way; he was scared. I asked what was going on. He said several building in our area had collapsed. I asked what happened to my wife and the children. He said the building was still all right. I drove back home and found that everyone including the little baby were outside far away from buildings.
Our two-year-old son was highly traumatized. He was just crying. He could not stand the shaking and up to this moment is crying and gets scared at every little noise.
My in-laws live in front of my house, in a school building, a very large and old building. They tried to run out of the building during the earthquake, my sister-in-law was trapped by falling walls and had a serious head wound.
Looking for her, we drove to the main hospitals and realized that many families have been affected by the unusual earthquake. She is in a critical condition.
The victims up to this moment has reached 5 people dead and about 200 wounded. As I am writing this email we have not been allowed to enter our homes, because even now there are buildings shaking. We are advised to spend the night outside which is difficult with little babies.
The government just said that the next 2 days there should be no office opening, or no-one should be near crowded buildings like in the market, because they say there are more aftershocks are to come. In neighboring Rwanda, 23 people are reported dead and more than 200 wounded. We need your prayers that God may be limiting the damages, console the affected families.
Thanks for praying!
Monday, January 28, 2008
Please pray for peace to be restored, for safety for our staff, children and facilities. And for wisdom for our leaders in dealing with situations that may arise.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I'll be flying to Nairobi on Saturday and look forward to sharing the stories of what I see and experience.
Churches are uniting tomorrow for a day of prayer. Please join them in praying for true peace to come.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
- Please pray for God to refresh the staff daily as they spend time seeking his face.
- Specifically, also pray for our leaders.
- Please pray for David Tarus, who is more than just ELI's director. He is a well-respected community leader, and is seeking wisdom in how to lead his community during this crisis.
- Pray that God would continue to use David to speak truth into people's hearts.
- Pray that the ears of the people in our community would be open to hearing.
- Pray that our entire community would love our neighbors no matter which tribe.
- Pray for thousands of angels to walk with David wherever he goes.
- Pray for wisdom in facing the many challenges that are coming his way.
These are very confusing times, which we know is one of Satan's many tactics. We continue to bring our requests before our faithful God, sometimes not knowing what to pray but trusting that He is fighting for us.
During our Monday morning staff devotion, the following message was shared from 2 Chronicles 20, "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's...Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld." Thank you again for continuing to fight with us for the glory of God to be shone in Kenya. May mercy, peace and love be multiplied unto you and also unto us and our people of Kenya.
We can do nothing but pray. I’m not sure if I would rather sit in France feeling powerless to help, or in Kenya; but we believe in God’s timing, and also believe that true peace comes from God; it seems like humans really fail at it.
So back to France, here we are. We live in an apartment of 3 tiny dorm rooms—two bedrooms and a kitchen. Tovah and Lami share a room and have spent their time playing in the two refrigerator boxes I found for them. Jen and I share a room too :)
The kitchen is filled with French chocolate, cheese, fresh bread, and lots of fruit (plus 500 Kenyan teabags we brought).
Elami goes to garderie during our classes, and seems to enjoy it. Tovah goes to Ecole Maternalle (nursery) and absolutely loves it; she is smiling when we drop her off, and dancing when we pick her up. French does not seem to be a barrier to our girls’ happiness.
We attend classes morning and afternoon, sitting with 8 other beginners wrapping our mouths around words that are spelled like dog but said like “jzwekyirtzh” and the like. So far we can conjugate 4 verbs, say the alphabet, and count to 10 billion (and the decimal places.)
The French are a lovely people (unlike what you hear.) They are polite and generally willing to help. They suffer from having the worst airport in the world, and extremely long lines, and insane prices, and no one cleans up after their dogs; but all in all it is a wonderful place. We are surrounded by parks with plenty of places to play or run, great food and culture, and schedules that work well with a family. In short,we are blessed.
Our current plan is to cram French language for 6 months, to take a short trip to Kenya (and possibly Congo) in July, to spend a few months in the USA, and to be out serving In Bukavu, Congo in November. Please pray for our plans.
Sorry to the many emails I have not replied to—Our computers seem to be intent on waging war against us. This time I had to reinstall Windows Vista (which took five hours and disabled our email.) If anyone would like a phone call from us instead, let us know. We now call with Skype which is very inexpensive.
That's the news—au revoir.
Davis, Jen, Tovah, Elami, and the French
We are sure by now that many of you have heard on the radio, read in the newspaper, or seen on TV the events that have been taking place in Kenya. We have all been in shock by what has happened. We do not know what the media is portraying in the U.S., but can only share with you the facts from what we have seen with our own eyes and experienced in our own lives.
When the unrest in the country began (Saturday, 29th Dec), for one week our electricity went off every evening at 7:00 pm and came on at 8:00 am the following morning. The usual sound of the train passing by on the nearby railway was silent for one week. Even the main roads were silent of vehicles and the many trucks that carry goods along the TransAfrica highway from Mombasa to Uganda and beyond; however, noisy with protestors and crowded with roadblocks.
In a stretch of five miles, a friend said he had to pass about 30 roadblocks, convincing the people who were manning them to let him pass peacefully. Most of us in the community did not travel outside of our village for one week.
Businesses, shops, petrol stations, etc were shut down as a result of the unrest. Some shops and homes were burnt in our nearby "town" of Kipkaren (3 miles from our home) and many of them looted.
I have yet to travel to Kipkaren to see with my own eyes, but David has. The shop where we usually buy bread in Kipkaren was one of the first ones to be burnt down. Throughout the week of hearing stories and listening to the radio, for the most part we felt safe in the village.
David, who is a respected leader in the community, mobilized the internal security in the village and the men were ready at all times to defend their families, homes, and community in case of anything. There were so many rumors being spread that we did not know who or what to believe. Through it all, we continued to trust God for peace and His protection.
Monday, January 7th, was the first time in two weeks that we ventured out of the village and went to Eldoret. Our hearts were heavy with sadness as we drove along the road and saw with our own eyes what we had been hearing on the radio and from people who called on the phone to share of their experiences.
We saw the remnants of many roadblocks and fires that had been started on the roads to block people passing. In the next town from Kipkaren, Turbo (about 10 miles from our home), was the most shocking site. AMPATH, the organization we partner with for treatment of HIV/AIDS, is located in Turbo, thus we travel there frequently. Approximately half of the shops in the town had been burnt and most others had been looted of all their goods and their doors were locked shut. There were only about 3 shops that were open when we drove through. A small town that is normally bustling with people and business was uncharacteristically quiet.
The petrol station, where they know us by name because we always go there to fill our tanks, was also completely burnt. David met the Councilor (government leader) of the Turbo area who shared his uncertainty about the economy of the town now after all the destruction.
Traveling further towards Eldoret, along the way scattered homes and shops were burnt and looted. In one area, about 20 vehicles had been completely charred. We saw some people walking with all their belongings to Eldoret in search of safety and refuge.
Once we arrived to Eldoret town though, it felt the same as the last time we had been in town, which was Christmas Eve. Small traffic jams, people walking along the streets, businesses and shops opened. We went to our normal supermarket and bought our normal groceries. In the market, however, the prices of fruits and vegetables had drastically increased; and the man we usually buy from was not there as he traveled to Nairobi to seek safety.
At the Eldoret police station and the nearby large Cathedral, thousands of people had gathered, carrying what belongings they were able to, now displaced in their own country. Thousands of internally displaced Kenyans in Eldoret had already been transported the previous day by buses and lorries (trucks) under heavy security to a sports stadium in Nakuru (about 120 miles southeast of Eldoret). More are continuing to be transported.
As of today, the reports say that over 600 people have lost their lives, 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in various parts throughout the country, and property worth millions of dollars has been looted or burnt.
Though the political situation in Kenya is still uncertain, life continues in our village of Chebaiywa. ELI in Kipkaren officially opened the year 2008 with our normal Monday morning staff meeting on 7th January with a time of prayer for our nation and motivation for the year ahead from David. Our Tumaini na Afya team met to chart the way forward for ministry in 2008. This morning, our vehicle was full as our team traveled with many of our clients to the AMPATH clinic in Turbo for vital HIV/AIDS treatment.
Yesterday, 10th January, was the first time in about 10 days that we have been able to connect to the Internet. We appreciate all the emails you have sent sharing your prayers and words of encouragement for our country and our people. We are all shocked and saddened by what is happening and are continually praying for a peaceful solution. I know that for David and I, our family and our community, we have a new and greater understanding of the value of peace in a nation.
We have been praying day and night for God to restore peace to our country of Kenya. There is a spiritual battle taking place in a realm that we cannot see, but we can sure feel. We invite you to fight with us in prayer as we pray for the following:
- Peace, love, and unity to cover our land.
- The leaders of the two main political parties, Party of National Unity (PNU) and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), to humble themselves, lay down their pride, and agree to talk. The latest report is that the leader of the ODM party is calling for a return to nationwide mass action through street protests since the negotiations failed with President Kufuor of Ghana. The word is that Kofi Annan is coming to lead negotiations. Pray for the success of these talks.
- A resolution to the current political dispute that will be just and the best solution for the people of Kenya.
- All leaders in the country to be wise with their words and actions and to look to God for guidance.
- Peace as the Parliament, which is largely divided, is set to open on Tuesday, 15th January.
- The Church of Kenya to stand united—fighting for justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.
- Much needed healing and reconciliation within communities. Only God can break down the divides between tribes.
- Safety and provision for the thousands of families who have been displaced from their homes as they seek refuge until the government decides what to do next. Major relief is needed in the forms of food, medications, blankets, etc.
- Comfort for those who are grieving over the loss of their loved ones and their livelihoods.
- Peaceful and successful opening of schools on 15th January (schools were supposed to open on 7th but the date was postponed due to unrest in the country). Pray for the safety of children as they return to school. In addition, pray for the thousands of displaced children who will not be able to return to school.
- Continued safety of our 187 children in the Children's Homes in Kipkaren and Ilula.
- Continued safety of our staff who will be traveling to the Training Centres as well as their families.
- For those who are HIV+ and displaced, pray that they will be able to continue with their much needed anti-retroviral drugs, that drug resistance will not develop, and that they will be able to get proper nutrition.
Thank you for standing with us and our nation in prayer as we journey through this difficult season. ELI has created an emergency fund to address all of the current needs that have surfaced because of the crisis. If you or anyone you know would like to give towards this fund, they can mail a check to our office (PO Box 67 Upland, CA 91785) and earmark it for the “Kenya Emergency Fund.”
David and Allison
Friday, January 11, 2008
The opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) said that the talks failed after President Kibaki refused to sign a document agreed by both sides and approved by World Bank Country Director Colin Bruce.
The key points of the document are that they want:
- a credible, independent and impartial investigation into the issues arising from the elections
- to determine whether a re-run of the elections is necessary
- if so, to provide a time-frame for recommendations on the structure of government up until the re-run
"The government had offered dialogue which was to be facilitated by President John Kufuor but Orange Democratic Movement leaders have not been responsive," a statement said.
Mr Kibaki had invited his rival to hold face-to-face talks on Friday but Mr Odinga refused, unless the talks were led by international mediators.
So it seems like things are in a bit of a stale mate mode. Please pray that talks will move forward and resolution be made to solve the crisis.
Here's a good explanation on the discrepancies that led to the fall-out in Kenya.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
In the meantime, a meeting between Raila and Kibaki doesn't seem eminent.
Please keep praying for ELI leaders for wisdom as they meet today to discuss the impact on our ministry, and how ELI should help those around us. Also keep praying for safety for our staff and our children. Pray that God would bring TRUE peace, that this event will expose tribalism for the evil that it is. And pray for revival to spring forth from the chaos that has engulfed Kenya's people the past 10 days.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
1) The cost of food has gone sky high (e.g. a head of cabbage has gone from 10Ksh to 80Ksh), so we need funds to purchase at the higher rate.
2) Don and Amy just spent approx. $1,300 to buy food at a supermarket in Nairobi and have it flown up by AIM air to the Eldoret strip. They are hoping to do this multiple times. Julius was able to pick up the food and transport it safely to Ilula through the mob roadblocks.
3) At the Ilula training center, we have been caring for approx 200 women and children from the community. We are using the maize that we harvested from the orphanage to feed people from the community and will eventually need to replenish the supply.
4) We have been hiring some men from the community as guards to protect the training center day and night.
5) We have needed to purchase many phone cards for communication with the police and each other.
Those are kind of vague so we don’t have specific amounts, and we don’t know how long it will last. But it is the best that we can do right now.
Click here to access the ELI Online Giving site.
Monday, January 07, 2008
When Michelle and others were driving to Eldoret today, they were saddened to see the destruction along the way. About half of Turbo—the nearest town on our way to Eldoret (about 7 miles from the center)—had been burned down, including the gas station. I am waiting to hear if the AIDS clinic where we take all the patients in our home-based care program, sustained any damage. I am praying that it was safe. It’s a stone’s throw from the torched gas station.
Please also join us in praying that God would bring beauty out of the ashes and chaos in Kenya!
Saturday, January 05, 2008
We were able to get out of Ilula though it was difficult. MAF chartered a plane and landed at the Ilula airstrip.
Really, the situation is so unbelievable and we cry out to our Lord for His protection and peace in this Nation. Please continue to keep our leaders in your prayers. We will share more when we return. We spent the day yesterday securing food here in Nairobi and Wendy was able to connect with AIM air and we have it flying up to the airstrip this afternoon. We will do our best to get another shipment as needed in the next few days or so.
We are doing ok here in Nairobi and are staying with one of our staff here WENDY until our scheduled flight come about this coming Friday (Jan 11th).
Yesterday we went to one of the larger shops here on the outside of Nairobi and bought about $1,000 worth of food for our Orphans there at Ilula and Kipkaren. All of the shops in Eldoret and even Nairobi center have been closed and even when they open they are flooded with people and are out of supplies. Road blocks have prevented our staff in Eldoret from getting to town freely to buy supplies.
AIM is flying the food we bought (about 700 lbs) up there TODAY and two of the Ilula Home parents are braving the roads to go and pick it up.
Pray for safe travels for them as they drive to the airstrip and back.
There have been some threats to our home in Ilula as many others who feel unsafe in their small grass homes are sleeping on our compound in the Training hall at night. BUT at this moment ALL are well and safe and are carefully rationing the foods they have - not knowing how long this conflict will go on.
- Pray for Peace for the children who are struggling to understand this kind of violence and senseless conflict that surrounds them.
- Pray for the children home parents who are helping to guard the compound at night.
- Pray for safety and wisdom for David Tarus and our other directors – Samuel and Julius as they all provide leadership to the various groups.
- Pray for peace.
- Pray for pride to be broken in the Government leaders.
- Pray for our family as we travel back to the USA Jan 11th.
- Pray for the TC graduates who are still scattered around at home that they will be lights to their families and communities.
- Pray for some additional funds for relief foods and higher operational costs due to this conflict.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
ELI's headquarters in Upland, CA, just got a new member to the family: Mya Parker was born on January 1st. Her mom, Amy, has been working at the ELI US office for many years, and those who've been to Kenya may know how vital Amy is to the Stateside operation of the ministry in Africa.
Check out Mya's blog and drop the proud parents a note!
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
In two hours at 2pm Kenya time, Raila is going to hold a rally in Nairobi and be sworn in as “The peoples President.” The former president who was also running again is Kibaki – who claimed victory yesterday has put the word out that he will have the police force arrest Raila at the rally. With the country split during the election and the debates about Kibaki’s victory taking place through corruption - this 2pm rally and arrest may bring about country wide violence.
According to this article in The Standard, the rally has been postponed to Thursday. Please pray for peace in the country. This article on BBC.com states that "The situation is very bad in the Rift Valley mainly around Eldoret where it appears to be organised killings. One tribe is targeting another one in a fashion that can rightly be described as ethnic cleansing..."
I am in South Africa as I had spent Christmas with my family. I will post updates here and on my blog as/when news becomes available.
Please pray for
- safety for our children and staff
- God to give our Kenyan directors wisdom during this time as many are turning up at our bases to seek refuge
- food supplies to miraculously last!