The Rest of a Story…

There are times when a Facebook or Instagram post just isn’t enough to share fully some of the amazing things that happen in the life of our kids and friends in Kitale, Kenya… and things in the MAF office can be so busy with admin stuff that sometimes those stories go untold. A situation that we’re working to change, striving to be better at sharing “The Rest of the Story”. Opening up the window of our soul and letting you see inside. Writing has been one of those things that’s been hard for me, it takes time, and when you don’t feel like you’re very good at it, you tend to do everything else that needs done and “it”, the writing part, never happens.

Well – today is hopefully the evidence of that changing, cause there is a “Rest of the Story” that has to be told and a Facebook post just isn’t going do it justice.

Back in June of 2014 we were made aware of a tragic situation in the small village called Coast, not quite an hour from Kitale. There was a family that had suffered the loss of their husband and father at the hands of a drunken neighbor. The family’s children were missing school and suffering from malnutrition and their mom, traumatized by the experience was unable to care them. Our partners, Pastor Richard and Hellen Makani were asked to go and check on the family. We were there that day and wrote a blog about unforgettable experience: http://mightyacornblog.com/201/

 

That was four and a half years ago. Since then Samuel, Dolphine, David, Joel, Baltomao and Isaiah have called Seed’s their home. They’ve received healing for their souls, done well in school and have really thrived in the care of our partners. It has been beautiful to watch.

Over these years we have inquired about their mom, Concephta. We had been reassured that she was getting counseling and was slowly getting better but the whole experience had really taken a toll on her emotional and mental health.

Last week Mum Hellen called and was so excited to share that Concephta had come to the church on Sunday, all on her own. In the recent past she had visited her children with the help of a neighbor – but last week she got all the way to Kitale on her own. She came with gifts, new jackets that she had purchased for each of her kids.

WHAT? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

This one who was so broken, she could no longer care for herself or her children. You could see in her eyes the depth of grief and hopelessness she felt. Her life since the loss of her husband has been very difficult. As is too common there, her husband’s family kicked her out of her home and off the land they had together. Forcing her to find a new place to live and leaving her with nothing.

Through good counseling and help from our friends, Hellen said she has overcome the trauma and her mind has been restored. She desires to stand for her kids and help them as she can.

During one of her previous visits to see her children Hellen had given her a little money for food. Concephta said she took most of that money and started a small business.

Hellen said “it is a miracle, she came full of joy and so thankful for all the help she and her kids have received. And because of her small business she could help with her children by bringing them new coats.”

The miracle of a life restored. “The Rest of the Story”; a story worth telling. We’re excited to see more of this family’s story unfold… and as it does we will continue to share it.

~dw

Lois Leeds

I have seen first hand the horrible conditions that these beautiful families live in while on my many visits to Kenya with The Mighty Acorn Foundation. I am so happy these 6 children are now in our care and they are safe and happy. It is amazing that their mother Concephta came to see her precious children and brought new jackets for all f them.
GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME !!!!!

Say Hello To Damarus

Damarus

With the heart to change the world one child at a time, there is no stopping her! She knows her purpose. She walks with a joyful confidence knowing exactly who God has called her to be.

Damarus lived in Kispongo slum with her mother, father, brother and sister. They lived a two-room home that was only 256 square feet. After her aunt passed away and her uncle abandoned his family, Damarus’s five cousins moved in with her family. The children did not have a place to sleep so they spent their nights on the sitting room floor. Their household became extremely hard to manage so her father left his family and now lives in Lodwar, where he does small jobs for just enough money for food. Her mother would provide for her family by making beads and selling them to local artists. They often times would go hungry if her mother did not sell enough beads. Damarus’s main source of food was from school, where she was able to get breakfast and lunch. However, some days Damarus would have to skip school in order to help her mother work and care for the younger children. Damarus would often act as mother and teacher to her younger siblings and cousins. She would wake up early and help them get ready for school, help them with their homework, and do daily chores. She carried a lot of the burden for her mother and often felt guilty going to school because she knew she was needed at home. Her mother wanted a better life for her. She saw how much her daughter longed to go to school and had a true passion to one day be a teacher. Her mom prayed for a way to afford her daughters dreams and those prayers were answered. Through sponsorship Damarus’s life has changed into a life she only could dream of. She is able to go to school every day and her grades have improved over 200 marks since moving into the children’s home. She is working her hardest every day to achieve her goal of becoming a teacher. When we asked her why she wanted to be a teacher she says, “So I can help children to earn a way out of their life in the slum just like I did.” She had the heart of a true world changer and we are so proud of her.

Do you miss anything about your life before?

I just miss my sister and cousins at home, but I am so happy to be in the orphanage. I am so much happier.

Do you feel different now that you are living at the orphanage?

I feel happy now that I am in the orphanage and I am glad to be there. Jesus has brought me a long way.

If you could say anything to your sponsor what would you say?

Thank you for sponsoring me. I am praying for you. The day I was sponsored, I was happy because when I finish learning, I will help my cousins and my sister at home. I still worry about them.

Who is your best friend?

Susan Atchiang is my best friend. We like to study together. She helps me with math, science, and social studies.

What is your favorite thing to do?

Help the house moms take care of the little kids and play with the little kids.

I also like to read the John’s gospel.

What do you want to be when you get older?

My dream is to be a teacher of high school mathematics.

What grade are you in and how old are you?

I am in grade 7 and I am 14 years old.

What is your favorite color?

red

What is your favorite food?

chapati and green grams

Connecting Across Continents

The Mighty Acorn Foundation provides children with the necessities to survive and the tools to thrive; restoring hearts, igniting dreams and empowering their future. That all begins with the loving families that choose to support our kids. That all begins with you.

When we sat together and talked about our goals for the summer, we were both in agreement that we wanted to bring sponsors and their Kenyan children closer than ever. We wanted to bring Kenya to America and America to Kenya! Our mission statement says it perfectly, “By connecting hearts around the world.” In other words, connections are huge to us at MAF. We can’t stress enough how vital these relationships are to making these kids feel that they are more important than their past. It means the world to them to know that they have a family who loves them. You all are so important to these children and they appreciate you so much! When brainstorming how to exactly go about creating and fostering these vital connections, we instantly thought about incorporating video chats. Every Saturday and Sunday we have been connecting eight different families together through Skype and FaceTime. To see the smiles on everyones faces is such a joy to our hearts and seeing the impact it has made on our kids is huge!

Here are some of the amazing things both the kids and sponsors have had to say about video chatting with each other:

“My heart was bursting and tears of excitement rolled down my face! <3 Thank you Mighty Acorns for the wonderful opportunity to speak with my girl Maureen!! I am so proud of the woman she is becoming! We love you and pray for you!!” -Dawn (sponsor)

“It meant so much to me to speak to my mums! I love them so much and this made me so happy to be able to meet them!” -Maureen (child)

“No matter what else today brings, I started my day with a ray of sunshine all the way from Kenya! Thank you Mighty Acorns for making this happen. Love my sweet girl and am so proud of her.” – Shannah (sponsor)

“I have never met my sponsor before and to be able to talk to them made me as happy as a king! I will always think about today and I will continue to pray for my family in America. I love them so much!” – Jacqueline (child)

“This was so great! Thank you for doing this! We loved getting to talk to Jacqueline <3 she is such a sweetheart<3” -Melissa (sponsor)

“I got to see my mum and dad’s house and the ocean! It was so cool! I loved meeting them and talking to my American family. I love them so much and I am praying for them” -David (child)

We are so blessed to have witnessed these beautiful connections being made. The amount of sponsors that have reached out us to video chat with their kids is so heart warming and far greater than anything we could have imagined. We know the kids feel more connected with their families and are so happy to have been able to talk to all of you! The impact this has made on both sides of the world will forever be in the hearts of all that were involved.  This will definitely be something we will continue in the future!

S&K

 

Say Hello to David

David Ewoi

His energy is contagious, with a laugh and smile that could light up the whole room. The cool confidence he carries with him indicates the incredible leader he can and will be. David is brilliant with swag for days. He is a born world changer.

David is sixteen years old and has been in Seed’s Children’s home for about nine years now. His parents both passed away when he was young and he lived on the streets of Kitale with a group of street boys for several years. Many times boys that end up on the streets get addicted to huffing glue,  join a gang, and won’t agree to come into a structured living environment where they have to abide by rules and go to school – but David was different. He wanted to go to school and escape street life so he could have a chance of a better future. He had a dream of serving his country one day as a pilot in the air force but he knew the only way to achieve that dream was to go to school. He gave up his life of the streets and is thriving in the orphanage! He loves his life at Seed’s and is doing so well in school. Everyday he works so hard to get one step closer to his military dream and because of his sponsor he will be the best pilot Kenya has ever seen!

Do you miss anything about your life before?

I miss nothing. I am happy to be in the orphanage. My friends and I help each other and are there for one another.

Do you feel different now that you are living at the orphanage?

I am so much happier because I feel supported and I feel loved by Mum Hellen and Dad Richard

If you could say anything to your sponsor what would you say?

I love them and I am praying for them everyday. 

What is your favorite thing to do?

I love to dance to my favorite song Sitolia

What grade are you in?

I am in standard 8 

What do you want to be when you get older?

I want to be in the military so I can protect people and to help my country 

Favorite color?

Red 

Favorite food?

Chipati and Ugali

Who is your best friend?

Moses Makalo is my best friend. We like to play futbol together. 

The People That Make Everything Possible

It truly takes a village to take care of over 230 children. The staff at the orphanage, primary school, and high school work tirelessly to take care of, educate, nurture, and love on our kids. They’ll be the first to tell you there is never a dull moment when caring for with so many children, but every moment is well worth the work it takes. We wanted to take this opportunity to show you all of the amazing people that impact your child’s everyday life, because they deserve a huge round of applause and a major shout out!

Front row, left to right: Agnes Sarah Sisakwa (girls 15-18),Phanice Mukhando (cook), Martha Mbonge (boys 3-8), Pamela Odinga (girls 13-15), Josephine Masitsa (boys 3-8)

Back row, left to right: David Kipsarem (carpenter), Evans Shishievo (boys 9-11), Kevin Akula (farm and dairy maintenance), Anthony Ambuloli (head cook), Ivan Etued (green house maintenance), Michael Shikanga (social worker, boys 12-18), Isaac Etian’ga (green house maintenance), Vivian Chepotip (social worker, and staff coordinator), Loice Ng’elechei (social worker, general house mom), Noel Khayele (girls 3-8), Martha Zakaria (house mom for girls ages 7-9)

Not pictured: Peris Mulongo (house mom), Judith Salome (social worker), Charles Joab Orute (security), Anaccet Emukule (security), Benard Wekesa (security), Phillip Tuwet (farm maintenance), Denis Kirwa (farm maintenance), Rita Mwaniga (nurse for school and children’s home), A. Songa (cattle and dairy)

The staff at the children’s home consists of house parents (to the kids they are called “Aunties” and “Uncles”), ground keepers, cooks, security guards, social workers and an amazing nurse. Together they run a tight ship. The kids stay on a strict schedule; waking up at 4am, breakfast, on the bus for school by 5am, home from school between 4 and 5pm, then devotions, dinner, washing dishes, homework time, small group devotions, and bedtime at 10pm sharp. On the weekends there are loads of chores the kids are put in charge of, as well as having scheduled study and discussion times. But not to worry, there is plenty of time for playing and relaxing sprinkled in between. As you can imagine, it takes a village to keep the kids on this schedule. That’s where the staff at the orphanage fits in. In addition to that, the staff at the children’s home serves as the kids’ support system. They often act as mother and father to these kids, lending them a warm hug, an ear to listen to, a friend to play with, and a shoulder to cry on. They care deeply for all these children and want nothing but the best for every single one of them. We love and appreciate the staff at the orphanage so much for all that they do for our kids.

Front row, left to right: Caren Awour (grade 2), Mildred Simiyu (gr. 2), Lucy Wanja (gr. 1), Sara Sawanga (gr. 1), Steve Ouma (gr. 7), Abram Wambia (gr. 6), Collins Owour (gr. 5), Nehemiah Ijakaa (gr. 5), Selyne Amatonyo (gr. 5), Fredrick Aurba (gr. 8)

Second row, left to right: Lona Ekai (Tailor), Linet Oloo (Secretary), Mary Muyonga (gr. 4), Aggrey Ingutia (gr. 8 and Vice Principal), Mike Saisi (Bus Driver), Pauline Ekai (food prep), Jessica Auma (food prep), Mercyline Suzan (librarian), Dominic Aurba (cook), Praise Obote (cook), Petronilla Atamba (cook), Kennedy Wafula (gate guard), Nashon Wechuli (store keeper)

Not Pictured: Madam Beatrice (pre-k and kindergarden), Madam Esther (principle)

Our primary school staff is out of this world! The staff consists of teachers, administration, food prep-ers & cooks, a gate guard, and our bus driver. All of our kids are so smart, and the people in this picture are the ones to thank for that. Under their leadership, the school was rated 2nd in Trans-Nzoia County! There are currently 412 students that attend Seeds Primary School. There are 12 teachers that work tirelessly with the kids all day long on new lessons, test preparations, studying, and revising. Their ability to manage their classrooms, relate to the children, and teach in a way that ALL of the kids understand is a testament to how awesome they truly are. The administration does a fantastic job at making sure everything runs smoothly and the kids are behaving well, while all of the kitchen staff keeps the students very well fed. It takes a lot of hard work to run a school of 412 children and this 25 persons staff makes it look easy!

Left to right: Patrick (cook), Queen Makokha (chemistry and physics), Namanda Gershon (biology and agriculture), Daniel Kalakate (Principal. history, christian education, and business), Lindar Lumbugu (Secretary. composition), Lucy Luhanya (english and literature), Lionel Asena (swahili and history), Brian Libwege (math and geography), Kevin and Bob (ground keepers)

Seeds High School is only two years old and is pioneering the future education for a lot of our kids. What started as a simple sketch on paper, and big dreams from Mama Hellen and Pastor Richard, it is now a two story building with a brand-new kitchen, dinning hall, and a girls dormitory in the works. The high school was an answer to prayers, as there are so many kids in the orphanage that are getting to boarding school age and tuition for all of them is extremely expensive. The school allows so many of our kids and other kids in the community to receive an affordable and incredible education. Much like the high school students, the teachers are also pioneering their way to many successful years of graduating classes at Seeds. We are so thankful for their willing hearts to jump into a new adventure. They are learning the ropes of how to create the best high school Kitale has ever had and doing a mighty good job at it. They work extremely hard to give the students a thorough education that will carry them onto all their future endeavors. Recently they just added a computer class to their curriculum and are about to receive enough computers for almost the entire class to have one to work on. Much like the primary school they also have administration, ground keepers, and cooks that all pull together and do their part to make sure all the students have everything they need. Seeds has truly been blessed with incredible adults that pour into the lives of all our children and we are so grateful for them.

And of course none of this would even be possible without this amazing power couple! Hellen and Richard Makani’s dream of helping those in need and being the hands and feet of Jesus has exploded ten fold. What started as a few street children begging for food from Hellen has now turned into a feeding center for over 500 children, a primary school for 412 students, a high school for 40 students (so far), an orphanage of over 230 kids, and so many other projects all over the region. Their giving hearts continue to take on more projects and grow what they already have established. They are truly two of the most inspirational people we know. We are so grateful for them and are so incredibly luck to be able to work along side them and all their dreams.

-S&K