It was a cool day in Houston when I left for Kenya on 3 April, heading to Paris where I would meet up with my friend Matt, and then on to Nairobi where we would spend the night before heading out to our Children’s Home at Haven on the Hill.
As is typically the case, there was much work, including repairs, to be done and a limited time in which to accomplish the work. The boys, except for Hezekiel, would be out of school during term break. Kelvin and Godfrey arrived from their schools soon after we arrived.
After spending time greeting the boys and the Haven family, we set to work on completing several tasks that were lined up. The major tasks, all equally important, were to 1) Finish the kitchen building and move all the cooking operations to it. 2) Inspect and move our supplies and tools into the new Storage Building. 3) Prepare the soil and install some new playground items. 4) Spend time fathering, loving and nurturing the boys.
We hired a contractor to level the soil for the playground expansion. That was the easy part. This was done within three days.
To prepare the storage building and tool room for receiving the items to be stored there, we
first had to build racks to hold and organize pipes, lumber, metal and other materials. We also had to fabricate shelves to organize some of the smaller items and to drill holes in the stone walls to hang other items.
Before we could move into the kitchen, the installation of the Jikos (cookers) had to be completed. There were several issues and obstacles which had to be overcome by us working with Allan from
Jikocraft, the Jiko provider. Also, we had to build a table (storage bin) for produce in the storage area of the kitchen. All of this had to be done in time for the kitchen workers to establish somewhat of a daily rhythm before we left. We moved all of the kitchen activities into the new building on 15 April and we are very pleased with the new arrangement. The staff enjoy the additional space and the atmosphere and the Jikos are very fuel efficient in their consumption of Biogas and firewood.
The boys are bundles of energy and adventures eager to happen. They swarmed us as we were working, each one lending a “helping hand”. We had to limit the
number of helpers, usually to three or four, in order to get any work done and, at the same time, try to ensure that each of the older boys got a chance to help at something, whether it be carrying something, fetching something or someone, or holding boards in place. Kelvin helped install the security camera in the kitchen. When managed appropriately, the boys are a tremendous help.
Time with the Haven family
Throughout our visits, I always try to take the boys on at least one “Safari”,
whether it is to the rocks at the river, to the next village for chai and Mandazis, or just for a journey up the road to a neighbor’s house.
Night time is our opportunity to interface more with the boys and visit, play, share pictures and stories, sing and dance with them and father them. Friday night is our Praise Night and Saturday night is our Bible Study night.
It is obvious that God’s hand is on our trips to Kenya and this time was no exception. Soon, on 17 April, after handling hundreds of details, Matt preaching at a local church, and me preaching at the same church the next Sunday after seeing Matt off four days earlier, it was time to return to the US.
Returning from Haven is always more of an adjustment than returning to Haven. This time, I arrived at the tail end of a flash flood, just as the rain was abating. Janice had to take an alternative route to get to the airport, but on the return, we were able to take a more direct route, all without going through high water. After re-entering the US, it is always a sprint to wrap-up numerous types of documentation, including this post, while the details are still fresh in memory, followed by a mini-marathon preparing for the next trip. Thank you all for your prayers and support. May our God richly bless you!