“Let’s Go Build an Outhouse”
That is what I told the men on our team that went to Tharaka, Kenya with us this summer. Eager to help and do anything, not knowing what they were about to experience, they agreed.
Esther, a widow suffering from esophageal cancer, lives quite a distance from us out into the bush. She is on a feeding tube that we change for her each month. The fathers of the children have abandoned them. Esther was chased from the nearby hills of Tigania in a tribal war. Squatting on a small one acre plot of land, Esther was doing the best she could to provide for her children. She had been walking one hour each way to collect unclean water. We now pay someone to bring it to her. Esther was too sick to adequately care for her children who were all malnourished and sick, so we took them in to live with us. Note: We do not have sponsors for any of them.
Naphtali is 16 years old and just in the 8th grade. He is a gentle and kind young man, so very grateful for all we have done for his family. His sister Grace is 10. Sophia is 12 and has a learning disability. Peter is a small boy, but so very smart, one of the best performing students in our school. He is 14 and in the 7th grade. Peter wants to be a neurosurgeon and I promise you that he is capable of doing it! The youngest child is Mwenda Clinton, age 3. He will come to be with us and enter preschool in January. Will you sponsor one of these children today?
The Journey – So we loaded up the Nissan truck with everything we needed, a wheelbarrow, metal sheets, nails, screws, timber, sand, cement, gravel, a plastic bucket, and other tools. We drove for about 1.5 hours, on rocky and sandy roads and narrow paths into the bush over two rivers and through two more creeks.
At times we had to get out and wade into the water to check for rocks so we did not get stuck. Only our four wheel drive truck could have made it. I took Naphtali out of school early as well as Kiambi, another older boy. I wanted Naphtali to be able to see his mother, the boys to learn how to build a latrine, and most of all I needed to know how to get to his home.
We finally arrived at the entrance to Naphtali’s home. Marvin Hayden, Paul Martin, and Andy Bishop thought the hard part was over. Not yet. We could not take the truck any further. We then had to carry all of the supplies on our shoulders up a one mile long hill. Naphtali led the way pushing a loaded wheelbarrow. Those with the heaviest loads could hardly keep up with him. This was nothing for him since he had done this with 40 lbs of water (a 5 gallon matungi or jug) daily for years. Exhausted, bruised shoulders, and thirsty we arrived at the home. Esther was overjoyed! We had come to do what we said we would do. Build her an outhouse. Will you help to provide medical care for widows in need like Esther?
Start with a hole – To the side of Esther’s two rooms made with mud and thatch was a hole dug by hand ahead of time. The price for this was 5,000 Kenyan Shillings. ($50 USD) The boys and Andy had to make another trip back down to the truck to bring more supplies, this time without the wheelbarrow since the bearing seized on the wheel. We laid down the metal sheet, the wire mesh, built the concrete form, cut the hole, put the bucket in the hole, and started mixing concrete. One problem, we had not brought enough water, and Esther had very little. We emptied every bottle and bucket we had. Paul was floating out the concrete praying the water would be enough. Naphtali and Kiambi worked hard and learned a lot.
Before returning to the truck, I witnessed one of the most touching things I had every seen. While we worked, Esther had built a fire in her dilapidated hut, boiled four small cobs of corn, and gave them to Naphtali and Kiambi before they left. The boys feasted on them like it was the finest food in the world. This mother loves her children and has done the best she can for them. A cob of corn was all she had to give to express how much she loved her son.
I need your help to continue providing for this family. Will you sponsor Naphtali, Sophia, Grace, Peter, Mwenda, or all of them? What about giving a gift each month to help us provide medical care for Esther as she battles cancer? $40 a month, $80, or even $120? You can give here now. I honestly cannot say how long Esther will live but God has great plans for these children. I invite you to be a part of God’s plan for them.
We are sad to announce that Esther died last evening before I could even send this email out. Notice I did not change it except for the appeal for medical care. Esther’s story is so very typical of those we are helping. I had this newsletter delivered to Napthali on the way to the funeral today and sent a message to all the children that their mother, Esther was a good mom who loved them very much.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”