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Spring 2015

GLOBAL CONNECTIONS Rethink ing Humani t ar ian Aid

www.GlobalConnectionsOnline.us

In This Issue 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

| Global Connections Update | LCC at a Glance | Celebrate | We Can Make A Difference | LCC Goes on Field Trips | High School • College • Poly-Tech | Update From Tesni | Update From Patrick | Hannah Wairimu


GLOBAL CONNECTIONS UPDATE As you will see in Patrick’s Limuru Children’s Centre update, a lot has been going on at the LCC. One team from the U.S. has already visited Kenya this year and they got A LOT checked off the list. Three other teams already have trips planned to visit Kenya this year, and Meri Hollis West is spending three months living at the LCC! As always, if you haven’t been to Kenya with us, we highly recommend you go. Please do not hesitate to contact any of us if you would like more information and I encourage you to read Meri Hollis’ article about living in Kenya. Don’t worry, if you join us on a trip you won’t have to wash your own clothes or walk to town – that’s just if you decide to live there! We have recently included a financial update on the LCC. There are a total of 278 kids cur-

rently being served by the LCC. Since we began work in 2005, we have worked with over 1,000. In 2014 we served a total of 266 kids. Some of these children had just been born when they were brought to live at the LCC, and some of them are 20 years old. Some of them only attend our preschool program for a year so that their single moms can go to work. Some of them we will only provide a school uniform, and some have lived there for most of their lives. Last year we spent $180,000 caring for the needs of these children. These funds went to pay employees to care for the children, feed them, provide education for them, as well as countless other things required to raise a child. We spent $50,000 improving our buildings

and renovating part of our facilities to be able to care for the babies. A special thanks to Ian Hedderly who provided a majority of the funds for these improvements. The Limuru Children’s Centre has provided hope for over 1,000 children. Whether you donate your time, one dollar, or $50,000, without the help of each and every one of you this would not have been possible. Thank you for helping us serve. Sincerely,

OPERATIONS $85,000 Operations of main branch: k-branch, pre-school, food, medical and salaries $55,000 Operations of baby home: salaries, medical, food $140,000 TOTAL OPERATIONS

SCHOOL $40,000 School fees for college, secondary and primary, including food, transportation, uniforms, and books

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS $50,000 Building repair, baby home renovation, capital improvements

$230,000

TOTAL FOR 2014

2014 2015

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53 12 66 121 14

61 14 66 129 8

Boarders

266

278

TOTAL

Babies Pre School Program (K-branch and Main branch) Day Scholars (Free primary school, supplies, uniforms, and food) Scholarship Students in High School and Polytech


LCC AT A GLANCE

75 children continue to call LCC home

14 Babies and 61 children aged 4-20 with all attending school 3 Children are new residents to the LCC (guardianship and

sponsorship yet to be determined by social workers) 15 Babies have been adopted 6 Cribs need an ‘Adopt A Cot’ sponsor at $100 per month 3 LCC children need a ‘Godparent’ sponsor at $100 per month

TOTAL EDUCATIONAL NUMBERS:

252 Children receiving free education (Pre-school thru College)

11 Pre-school 27 Primary School Class 1 thru Class 8 (10 will be sitting for National Exams in fall – for entrance to High School)

11 High School (6 just entered in February) 9 Polytechnic Institutions 2 College 1 Sewing Teacher (graduated and trying to earn her own living) 27 Presently in Boarding School Class 8 and up 8 Scholarship students in High School and Poly Tech 30 LCC Pre-school classes with free education and food 36 K-Branch Pre-school with 2 classes 34 Day School Program with free Primary School education, supplies, uniforms and food 95 K-Branch Day School Program with free Primary School education, supplies, uniforms and food

46 families in weekly Food Handout Program which allows children to live at home

28 Number of LCC employees NEEDS: • • • • •

Borehole (water well) at the LCC Dental team to the LCC Uniforms for all preschool children Shoes – boarders need school shoes and tennis shoes Preschool children need shoes

PRAYER REQUESTS: • • •

Land adjacent to the LCC in order to enlarge Baby Home Borehole at the LCC Continued success in counseling p3 | Spring 2015


CELEBRATE Over the years we have been able to walk with the Limuru Children’s Centre family through a lot of joys, disappointments, successes and trials. The children have grown in every way and have worked hard to make choices about their education and careers. Everyone involved with the LCC and Global Connections have worked diligently to provide the kids with their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing and with educational opportunities to find success in this world. A lot of people have consistently backed up their faith with meaningful action. (James 2:14-17) Mark asks in chapter 8:36 of his gospel: “What good is it to gain the whole world but forfeit your soul? “ This year we are seeing the fruit of this action as we join seventeen of our children in celebrating the most wonderful decision they will ever make... The one decision that will provide them freedom and direction for the rest of their lives...The one decision that makes the other decisions matter. Seventeen of our children have decided to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and are making that decision public through baptism at Limuru Town Baptist Church. Thank God and thank you all for being the hands and feet of Christ and for letting Him love the children of LCC through you.

Children who were Baptized: Lucy Wanjiku Florence Auma Daniel Kiarie Gladys Wangechi Dickson Kabaiku Daniel Mwangi

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Stephen Njenga Susan Njoki Anne Njoki Gladys Wangui Peter Nyanjui Simeon Irungu

Becky Kasuu Derrick Mutahi Josephine Wanjiru Laveenda MBone Mary Wambui


WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

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leeping on the streets of Kenya, eating from garbage piles, wearing flip-flops in the winter, and not a person in the world to care about them. It was the end of July when 3 dirty and poorly dressed little boys entered the gates of the Limuru Children’s Centre (LCC): Joram (age 7), Brian (age 6) and Kelvin (age 4). As the oldest, Joram was trying his best to take care of the younger guys. Kelvin‘s upper front teeth were completely rotten, but he still smiled! Brian never said a word and created trouble by always hitting the other children. The government brought them to the LCC for food and shelter, but they have found much more than that! Because of the Mississippi Team’s concern for these brothers, we requested frequent reports from Kenya on their progress. Jorum was placed in preschool at the LCC so his level of education could be determined and for an adjustment pe-

Jorum

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met Peter in the summer of 2013 on my first trip to Africa. I knew God had been calling me for over a year, but I pushed it aside and questioned whether it was what He really meant. I could never fly 20 hours over the ocean to another continent; I hated to fly. Then one Sunday in Sunday School God made it crystal clear as our teacher was talking on Jonah and how he disobeyed God when He called him to go to Ninevah. God gave Jonah a second chance and he was obedient. God was now speaking clearly to me – He was giving me that second chance and I could no longer be disobedient. So in June 2013, I loaded up with 11 women I did not know and traveled across the ocean to the place that was calling my heart. I remember the first time I met Peter. I was drawn to his quiet spirit and his God-given talent to play futbol (soccer). We were immediately drawn to each other. After prayer and talks with my husband, my first trip to Africa sent me home as Pe-

riod. He often met Patrick at the front gate first thing in the morning and explained that he really needed to be in a real school. As of the first of December, Brian still had not spoken a word (over 4 months!) but was attending pre-school and receiving counseling. Kelvin was attending preschool – still smiling but not as often.

in December and hasn’t been quiet since! He has advanced a grade in pre-school, loves life, is happy all the time, loves other children and loves all the moms. Kelvin has seen a dentist and will have his teeth fixed when he turns 7. He is in preschool 1. He continues to play alone a lot but is adjusting and does feel loved and at home at LCC.

Upon arriving at the LCC in January the Mississippi team was blessed to spend time with these three precious boys who had been living alone on the streets just 8 months earlier. Today, Jorum is attending Jeremy Academy primary school and is in class 3. What a young little man at the age of 7 – so very kind and polite! He studies hard, is so very proud to have a Godparent who loves him (showing photos to us all!), is a hard worker around the centre and loves taking care of all the younger children. The LCC has given Brian a true second chance at life. He finally started talking

YES – these are the kinds of miracles that you usually hear about – but thanks to the staff and children of LCC and every donor and volunteer of Global Connections we have been blessed to see this happen with our own eyes. These precious boys truly found more than food and shelter – they found a real home, and they now have a real chance in life!

Brian

ter’s Godparent. He stole a piece of my heart and I would be forever changed. In the summer of 2014, the Lord convinced my husband to go along with me to this place that I loved to meet this person I loved. I can remember the moment - Peter was wearing my Ole Miss soccer jersey and seeing my two worlds collide is a feeling I will never forget. I have always felt that God placed us in Peter’s life for a reason. Why do I live in America and Peter in Africa? God has recently been teaching me how His plan is perfect even when we don’t understand. My husband and I found out in January of this year that I had a miscarriage. This was such a heart breaking experience, but God had already prepared beforehand the means in which to heal my heart by giving me Peter. For the first time it was not God placing us in Peter’s life – but God had placed Peter in our lives. Immediately after

This is why we love and support the children of Kenya – to make a difference in a life, and we have done just that!

Kelvin

having the miscarriage my heart longed to see Peter; I wanted to lay eyes on him and I wanted to hug him. I knew I had to go to Kenya in order for my heart to heal. During spring break of 2015, I was able to travel back to Africa to see this gift God had already given me in Peter. I got to surprise him at his school on my first day there. On his belt he had etched the initials, PNK. There was a kid in Africa that loved me and called himself mine. Perhaps the greatest blessing of all was Peter accepting Christ into his life. Although I cannot be there to guide the steps he makes, God has placed LCC and others to invest in his life. Getting to celebrate his decision with him on my trip was truly a blessing. I have a God-son named Peter N. Kimbrough and now he is also my brother in Christ.

Hannah Kimbrough

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THE LCC GOES ON FIELD TRIPS

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wo field trips were among the highlights of the Mississippi Team’s recent trip to the Limuru Children’s Centre. Younger children, ages 3-11, and several LCC staffers enjoyed a bus trip to the Animal Orphanage at the Nairobi Education Centre in the Nairobi National Park while older children, ages 12 and up, along with LCC staff, traveled in vans to the Lake Nakuru National Park. These incredible experiences brought the children up close to African animals that attract people from around the world to safari in Kenya, where the native wild animals are protected. The Nairobi Animal Orphanage hosts a collection of wild animals that are orphaned, hurt, abandoned or strayed from their families. The facility provides care to rescued animals and strives to rehabilitate them to the wild. It also gathers scientific information and disseminates conservation education information. With an entertaining and hospitable tour guide, children saw lions, hyenas, lions, monkeys and baboons. Their guide provided insightful information about the animals and responded to many questions. Following the walking tour of the animal orphanage, the children enjoyed a picnic lunch and playing games at the park during which time a wondering mama baboon with her baby “stole” a sandwich and escaped, much to the excitement of the group. The yells are still reverberating around the park visitors’ entrance! Safari vans carried the older children to Lake Nakuru National Park, which is well-known for 50-plus mammal species, 400 species of birds and 500 species of flora. Van drivers/ guides provided a wealth of information about the animals, birds and flora as they drove through the park. One of the highlights was seeing flocks of Flamingos at Lake Nakuru, which is a major Rift Valley lake. Guides were able to find rhinos, African buffalos, giraffes, zebras, impalas, baboons, monkeys, waterbucks and luckily lions. No elephants were seen as they do not reside in this area of Kenya. A great picnic lunch provided a break at the park where the adults enjoyed watching the older children dance to music on a van radio. Even “Mom” Linda Holden got in on the dancing! These memorable field trips were made possible by the generosity of a Global Connections family, Katie and Lu McCrary. Both tours elicited tremendous excitement and joy for the LCC boarders and Mississippi team members. p6 | Spring 2015


HIGH SCHOOL • COLLEGE • POLY-TECH Limuru Children’s Centre launched six boarders into high school, one high school graduate to college and one additional LCC student has enrolled at a Polytechnical School (vocational). Elizabeth Njeri graduated from Wangunyu Boarding High School. She is currently participating in a Youth Career and Mentorship Program for Form 4 leavers (high school graduates) at St. Paul’s University. This seven-week program offers additional basic life skills to give students a competitive advantage as they take their next steps. The program offers classes in computer training, career guidance, communications and public speaking, counseling, health education (sex, reproductive health, HIV and AIDS studies), drug abuse and leadership training. Elizabeth is making a 30-minute commute to and from the university each day and attends classes from 8 to 5. While attending the program at St. Paul’s, Elizabeth is awaiting her invitation for college/ university. “Mom” Linda Holden said, “This program is a great way for Elizabeth to further prepare for college. We’re so glad she has this opportunity.” Anne Njoki is now attending Muguga Boarding Polytechnical School. Anne completed Class 8 in December and is now enrolled in a beauty and hairstyling program at Muguga. She joined six other students from LCC. A flurry of Mississippi team activity surrounded Anne once her decision was made and she was accepted at Muguga. Shopping for school supplies (a highly specialized list) and personal items (a long list) had to be completed following her acceptance into the program. Having completed Class 8 in December, the six students enrolling as Form One (9th grade) students are Becky Kasuu, Maureen Wangui, Joyce Alukuna, Susan Njoki, Derrick Mutahi and Gerald Njiuguna.

identified, team members scrambled, along with the students, to purchase the required school books (a significant list for each student) and long lists of personal supplies (mattresses, sheets, towels, buckets, soap, toothbrush, tooth paste, and many other personal items). Then it was time to pack and finally, to take the students to their respective schools. “I can tell you that there were tears of joy when each student received his or her admission letter, but tears were also shed as we loaded the vehicles with each student’s belongings to go to school. When we left them at their new schools, concern and major excitement were reflected on the students’ faces and real tears were in my eyes. I felt as though I was leaving my own children,” said team member Allegra Brigham. Becky and Maureen are attending Kijobi Girls High School while Joyce and Susan are at St. Angela’s High School for Girls. The girls were all excited about this next adventure in their lives, but a bit nervous as well. Maureen and Joyce had attended boarding schools previously; Maureen at Limuru International School, and Joyce at St. Stephens. However, Becky and Susan had been day students at Limuru Town Primary School. Derrick was accepted at Thigio Boys High School while Gerald was invited to Githega Boys High School. Their lists of books and personal items for boarding school were as extensive as the girls. Meri Hollis West assisted LCC staff in taking Derrick and Gerald to their respective schools. “It is amazing to see how the children have grown up over the years and are now young men and women,” said Linda. “While they are still pursuing educational opportunities, they are transitioning into young adults.”

Mississippi Team members’ eyes were opened by the efforts required for LCC social workers Lillian and Agnes to secure secondary school assignments for these Class 8 graduates. Once schools were

Gerald Joyce and Susan

Becky and Maureen

p7 | Spring 2015 Derrick


UPDATE FROM TESNI The baby home is a noisy place with our 14 little ones rolling, sitting, jumping, running, and playing all over the place. We are so happy to see our littlies growing and developing so well, and many of them will be going up for adoption in the next month. We are excited to see the families that God brings for them - please pray with us! We are grateful that our babies have been

healthy and are able to enjoy the sunshine. Our volunteers have also been giving them baby massage several times a week, which they LOVE. Our ‘bigger’ babies are also reaching milestones - Elijah is now walking and Holly has learnt her colours. Ethan loves nursery rhymes, and sings Intsy Wintsy Spider and Round and Round the Garden with much enthusiasm. Jabali is unstop-

BEEP BEEP, HERE WE COME! While sitting this term of school out, Geoffrey and Daniel decided to take a leap of faith and learn to drive!! They have been taking classes every day for two hours at Petanns Driving School. After they return to school to finish their mechanical degree, they plan to use their degrees and driving licenses to work with big machines in their future careers! We are so proud of all that they are accomplishing and pray for safety as they learn to drive on the, sometime hectic, roads of Kenya!!

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pable and rolls or creeps up and down stairs and all around the centre. God has been faithful in looking after these children and we thank God for his protection and provision! Blessings,

Tesni


UPDATE FROM PATRICK

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think I might just start by saying that the new year started well with some very great success stories all round! Six of our primary school graduates were enrolled in secondary/ high schools which is a great step in their transition to young adulthood. They attained good grades for them to qualify to join high schools! So many are stuck now from lack of fees even if they still qualified!

A huge thanks to the Team (Mississippi) that came in January! I don’t know how we would ever get through all the issues in getting these kids to schools and making sure they have all their needed provisions! They helped in helping these kids transition and we are forever grateful that they can be with us during this great event in the LCC’s calendar! We are still awaiting the results of our scholarship and secondary school graduates which should be out sometime next week. The Team also helped us establish a much needed administrative structure of the program. We have engaged the services of a qualified accountant who is helping in streamlining the workload on accounts and overseeing the regular expenditure so it is well structured and manageable. John is now doing the day to day petty cash and staff management with the help of Lillian our Social Worker who by the way is on a maternity leave and has al-ready been blessed with a baby boy! Agnes our second to the Social Worker is doing a wonderful job with all relevant social related issues of the program. Maureen has a new office with the Social Worker but more to coordinate with all visitors, volunteers and mainly our sponsors on the daily happenings to the Centre with regards to general operations and children related issues.

other with those who have been away to far away schools and share in their new experiences! It’s such a joy to feel the ‘temperature’ when this happens and we are so grateful for them. The ‘Baby home’ with its share of joyful kids is doing very well indeed. Though these kids will be up for adoption at some point soon, we still feel the love and affection and just pray that God is in control of their lives and to give us the grace to let go when the time comes to separate with them... Always heart rending! A most exciting experience for the Centre is the upcoming Baptism of 17 of our kids who have accepted Christ in their lives... We may walk all over the world and know everything... but without salvation, we are nothing and hopeless. This is such a time for these kids and we are happy in sharing with them in this monumental step in their lives and pray that God will lead them the rest of the way. We thank God for a wonderful program and for His love and joy and protection. God Bless you all - Lots of love...

Patrick

Excited to share that my boy Peter asked Jesus into his heart!! Can’t wait to put my arms around him and celebrate the most important decision in his life!! We are so proud of the young man he is becoming! God is so faithful! — Hannah Kimbrough

Tesni is doing a wonderful job with her team and right now she is on a trip to do a marathon ‘Funds for Wheels’ which is noble and for a good cause. We wish her well... We have just a few days ago acquired a ‘new’ car as our old Nissan was showing signs of ‘tiredness’! This weekend, we have all our wonderful kids at the Centre for MidTerm break and it is always so exciting as they all get to meet each

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LCC HELPS CONNECT PEOPLE GLOBALLY The Limuru Children’s Centre and Baby Home have brought together hands from around the world to support the babies and children through Global Connections, Inc. as well as through independent volunteers. LCC has received financial support and on-campus volunteers from South Africa, Kenya, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the United States. At least six states in the U.S. have provided volunteers and support: Kentucky, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Mississippi.

“It is amazing to see people from so many places and so many different backgrounds come together in harmony, offering their time, talents and gifts to the children at LCC. At one point in January there were Kenyans, a South African, Germans, and Americans from three states playing with and loving the babies and enjoying the children. What an incredible experience!”

HANNAH WAIRIMU LOVES TEACHING

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hat a difference a year can make! In January 2014 Hannah Wairimu, 20, was about to graduate from St. Anthony’s Dressmaking and Knitting School, where she was completing an attachment (internship). In July 2014 Hannah has secured a job as a sewing teacher at a Catholic School near Nairobi. Today Hannah is an experienced dressmaking teacher. In addition to teaching full-time at the school, she has secured the job of making all the school’s uniforms and earns additional compensation in doing so. “I love teaching,” said the attractive 20-year-old. “When I teach and see that a student is learning something, I get excited!”

The biggest challenge Hannah says that she faces is that she often has students in her class from different educational backgrounds. “Some are primary leavers, some are high school leavers, some are university graduates, and some just want to learn how to sew for personal use,” stated Hannah, who reflects self-confidence, professionalism and a love of her work. “Having so many different backgrounds in a class is sometimes difficult,” she reflected. “Those with primary backgrounds are often my best students. Because these students p10 | Spring 2015

come to the school discouraged, I really like helping them.” Hannah, who lives in an apartment in Ruiru, commented on her future, “I am saving money so I can have my own workshop where I can make uniforms and sell them. I also want to help my mom.” In addition to teaching and making school uniforms, Hannah spends her free time striving to earn money by plaiting hair, sewing, knitting and beauty services. “I like doing all those things and I am really motivated to get my own business started,” she added. Filled with a grateful spirit, Hannah can look back reflectively and see the value of the things she learned living at LCC. “My time at LCC helped me to know what I wanted to do and provided me enough education to prepare me for my job at Ruiru.” “The Godparent Program was also a blessing. I have been blessed by my godparents. They show me BIG LOVE! When I was in school, they encouraged me. Because of LCC and my godparents, I have never lacked for anything. My godparents helped provide my school fees. We are now planning for me to have a shop so I can have a business. I just want to thank her for all she has done for me. I don’t want to ever let her down so I will continue working hard.” Hannah added, “Uncle Patrick has been a good uncle and dad because he listens to me whenever I need him. The LCC staff has always been an encouragement to me. I am grateful for all the support I’ve received through LCC and the Mississippi Team.” Now, as Hannah continues teaching, she is hoping to learn more about how to start a business and how to handle all types of customers professionally.


IT’S ALL ABOUT PERCEPTION Living in America my whole life and now living in Africa for three months, I have realized we waste a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of opportunities. Of course the cliché answer to “what I’ve learned on this mission trip” would be to say that I’ve learned to be more appreciative; however, it’s more than that. There may be little money and little food, but there is still a lot of happiness and a lot of smiles. Sometimes I wonder, “How can people living such difficult lives, be so happy?” And sure, they struggle and get frustrated, but they rarely make it known. I think I’ve realized that the simplicity of this life is what makes it so great. When I first thought about having to wash my dishes, clean my clothes, sort my beans, walk to the store, I was somewhat distressed because in America, that’s why we have dishwashers, washing machines, prepackaged/sorted beans, and cars; however, doing these chores myself is what makes the African life so fun. How many

times do we throw our clothes in the washer and wonder what to do the rest of the day? Here, you spend the whole day sorting, washing, and drying, and to be honest, the time goes much quicker because you’re always busy. How many times do we sort our own beans and get to have meaningful conversations with the ones helping us? This is one of my favorite things to do because it provides so many opportunities to build relationships. And the same for having to walk everywhere; at first I thought “how exhausting” but you’re really killing two birds with one stone. You get exercise and you get to talk for long periods of times with your walking buddy (which really is a lot of fun). Now I’m not hating on America whatsoever - I love me some ‘Merica, but I am saying that beyond wasting money, we really just waste time. Time to help, time to serve, time to be in the moment, and time to make new friends. What we view as the “hard

stuff” in Africa, such as basically doing everything with your own two hands is what gives the African life an advantage over Americans. And to be honest, it’s about your perception and how you want to complete your day. If it’s with machines, and automobiles, and pre-packaged items, that’s great (trust me, I know). But if the point of your day is to meet new people, spend quality time with others, and see how the little things count, doing things by hand will provide plenty opportunities for such. “It’s not about what you put into the things you do that count; it’s about what you get out of them.” And while the African life is not for everyone, and maybe not even me, there is still something to be said about spending three months somewhere else - it will teach you life-long lessons you could never expect to get anywhere else.

Meri Hollis West

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