Thursday, 2 August 2012

One persons suffering is another mans gain

After meeting with the children's officer Mary in Limuru; (area of where I am currently based) she made the procedure all seem very easy I have to say, she directed me to Mombasa DCO (District Children's officer) which was where I was heading next. I traveled to Mombasa and meet  with the DCO who gave me further information, and recommended I partner with a program that was already working with children, we meet that day and I was happy to work with them and see what their work was about, all seeming very positive at this point.
I then met with a leader of a street children's ministry of a church that I went to, and was involved in their ministry when I first came to Kenya in 2010. After playing on my mind for a long time I set a meeting, we talked about how we could work together, and again all seemed very positive. Although it appeared they had different views to the DCO and others I talked to, so seemed I had a lot of decision to make after that weekend.....

Over the next week or so I met with founders of children's homes - orphanages, NGO's, organisations specifically working with street children to gather as much information as I could as the information given by the DCO is very little, and very little guidance. The government leave you to it basically until you are ready to be inspected. From gathering this information and advice I then begun putting together my mission and policy statements for the home, my objectives etc, along with setting up many systems that would be used in the home! There is so much paper work, so many things need to be recorded! I was going to work and every night I would work on getting all the systems and files I needed done, when ever I had a spare moment, after about a month I managed to have all of that done. 
At this time I had also found my trustees Maureen and Joseph, Joseph will also be managing the home whilst I'm away.
A couple called David & Nancy who volunteer with my company and just moved to Kenya became very supportive of the home and what I was setting up, and have continued to be very much so they have been great. They linked me to a contact of theirs in England, Alan of whom would be able to send over a container of furniture and items for the home, the  only issue is that we will need £4,000 to get the container shipped over to us here in Kenya. This has put us on hold as we have not been able to raise these funds at the moment, we are trusting God and still hopeful for this as it would be such a blessing to receive all these items that would furnish our home.
So please pray for this and we raise the funds we need to.

After much communication I met up with the organisation (due to certain reason I cannot name them) that I was looking to partner with, we had been in communication and see that the best way forward was to see the projects they work with in order to move forward and see how we can work together. 
One of the projects they work with is helping street people get ID's and Birth Certificates especially those over the age of 18 which is a big issue and requirement in Kenya. We went to the local police station where lots of people were gathered around waiting for their waiting cards, which took a while, at this point I was just very anxious as to how and why things were being dealt with the way that they were, many people were staring at me and after a while begun to gradually come to me asking for money.
Their next project that we went to was a dump site as it was said, when we got there it wasn't quite an actual dump site, but still the living conditions were not great or to a good standard. This was government land where around 2-3,000 street people had built their own houses. When we arrived there was people crowding around me and following me, we walked from the top of what was like a big hill into the middle where there was a lot of people gathering around and watching the council and police demolish their houses at this present times things were very calm. However this all begun to change... The guy who ran the organisation (the one I was looking to partner with) went up in front of everyone, and begun talking to them. I didn't know what he happened to be saying but with in minutes it all begun to kick off, people were stoning the police, people with bulldozers, people of all ages were involved mums with small children on their backs came running. People then begun to turn and gather around me, and was like people were mad at me. It turned out that the person buying the land was a "Mzungu" (a white person) so they assumed that it was me. My friend who was with me took my hand, and told me we needed to get out as things were going to get out of hand. As we climbed the big hill up so many people were running, some following us throwing rocks we reached the top and so many people gathered round, people on the other side of the wall were then throwing rocks and people were coming with machete knives and guns. At that point we just run for our lives and I can honestly say I don't know how we got out of their alive at one stage!

The guy then came to me saying " I bet you haven't experienced something like that before! I bet someone is going to die today laughing, so what are you going to do to help these people" I just couldn't believe him! With that we then begun to make our way to the next project.... The real dump site.

After a long an bumpy ride heading out of Mombasa towards Voi we finally begin entering the dumpsite which covers acres of land, with around 2-3,000 people living within this dump site. Pure rubbish (garbage) piled up for far, the smell was horrific you could smell it through the car with the windows shut. We parked up and many people begun gathering around, one person trying to find some rubbish for me to sit on (the cleanest piece of cupboard he could find). I was then taken to see some of the homes these people and families live in. We walked across this dump site, walking on all kinds of waste it was just an experience and scene that can be described and the smell was so horrific it was beginning to affect my breathing and I felt like I was going to vomit, but I held it together and just thought of how people are living in such an environment and such conditions. We then reached the first home which these people had try to make shelter from pure waste, we went along to a few homes seeing how these people were living, and to see they were eating the waste, or any food waste they could find, small children running across the burning waste with scars and open wounds all over their bodies. This was home to these people, this was their lives, which so many of us can never relate to.
The impact this had on me I can't even put into words, and for the guy to say to me "are you satisfied, have you had enough? or you want to see more?" As if I was at a tourist site! 

Many of the men that came to us when we arrived continued to follow us pulling on me and saying many things throughout, high or drunk. A man appeared who was very well dressed and spoke very good english, claimed to be living within the site and was demanding for me to take his children to school and asking for 20,000 KSH (Kenyan Shillings). At this I then see the guy (who I was to partner with) giving money handouts to all these men, this really made me disappointed at seeing this within this situation. As we were leaving the dump site the guy said to me " so what are you going to do to help these people"
I then become annoyed and angered at his behaviour; this guy who lived on the streets giving money handouts knowing that this will never help these peoples situations, but instead add to it, or these men will just use it to get drunk or high, money is never a solution to helping these people.

Driving back he then asked me 'so how are you going to help these people?' I then just told him I never liked his behaviour and the way he addressed these issues, it was not right taking a person of my colour skin to such a place, going to peoples homes allowing them to think that I am their saviour, and that I have come to take them from these and pay for them for the rest of their life! I told him how what he has done by giving money handouts and giving people the impression I would do the same it only adds and causes more harm to their situation it doesn't help the problem, or empower people, and just builds on the 'mzungu mentality' of they can fix it with money, all our problems are solved!
He then begun demanding help for an office, saying he can then help these people, after leaving him he then sends me a txt saying 'if you think what you have seen today is bad, its not we have burried such children' I could just see through what he was doing he wanted to create such a bad picture of these desperate suffering children, and all these needs to make me feel so bad that I would give a very large money handout! Looking at the day begun to realise it was all a set up, none of these places were his projects there was nothing he was doing to help these people but instead using them to make money and to better himself, saying he is helping street kids changing lives and how his life is so changed but its just him taking all this glory, using people in such a way I felt so disgusted at his behaviour! For sometime he would keep contacting me with his demands, and for him to be known in the press for his great 'non existent' works and raising money and it was just going no where. I am glad I got out of this before I was in it, sadly this happens so much in Africa people using such circumstances and children to make money for themselves, its not the first time I have seen it happen. It has taught me so much, and learnt so much about the people we are in contact with and how people are easily lead astray and believe such people. I just hope one day justice will be done, and such people will not get away with using the poor and vulnerable, and Gods orphans for their own gain.

But from it all what I can see is that there is so many children suffering in such dire situations, they really need help, they need God, they need to be loved and cared and given the basic needs every child is entitled to and deserves, to be taken from their suffering.

Seeing this with my own eyes it made me more determined to help such children, no matter what comes my way, I know that I cant give up, these children need hope, they need life, they need God to come and rescue them, I believe God has given me the heart to do this work for him, therefore I know all things are possible through him.

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