Nancy is volunteering in Maseno, Western Kenya, right now with our hosts JNMCC, an orphanage set up by Edward Buyengo. I get a huge amount of perspective reading volunteers experiences and would like to share it.
AVIF has put JNMCC in touch with Nancy and she is there with them now getting other people involved .. this is what I wanted AVIF to be able to do. We are a success already. With the help of Liz Ward, I am working on AVIF’s growth so we can receive funding and so help financially but its inspiring to know we can help even when we have nothing.
Some of the information here is both sensitive, personal and confidential so has been removed, but the remainder will hopefully provide some perspective.
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Mercy Home
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2007 01:47:27 -0700
From: nancy heffernan
…. There are many people here that have to live away from home. ….[JNMCC] have 13 girls in the house and 24 girls who still live with what family remains. They [JNMCC] pay for the 24 girls uniforms, clothes as needed, and school supplies and lunch money and sometimes medical. They pay the same for the 13 girls in their own home. …Sometime ago, volunteers started coming a little and they have helped, along with community people. The last volunteers were last summer. ….There is no wasting of money here. There is a list of 40-50 children wanting to be helped and they come and sit and wait .. to see if they can stay. Most parents have died of AIDS, some of TB or malaria. …… [names removed] have a mom who is dying of aids and I am going to … visit her- they have 2 sisters and a brother at home with the mom. They [JNMCC] help those children too. The reason they have those girls is they were the top of their classes and are now changed girls who could take on the world with their drive, determination and intelligence, therefore making Kenya, and the community a better place. And that is the goal of the Mercy house.
Girls are told it is their responsibility to do well in school and care for each other and all. They thrive and laugh and help each other and take turns cleaning, cooking, washing and helping each other and around the house. They are up at 5:15 (high schoolers at 4 to start the fire and get tea and leftovers ready.) They sing these incredible songs – so African I love it and then have a short prayer and start their day- They leave by 6am to 6:45, depending how far their school is- they go to many schools- and return at 4:30- the youngest of 10 and 11 years old – or 6:30.
They take turns filling the kerosine lamps – often if late, using my headlight … so cute! Then they start the fire, cut the vegetables in their hands, no cutting boards, as they sit on the “patio” outside of the kitchen.They go to church on Sunday and go to the different ones of the girls home churches. The girls visit home and their family, if one can come and visit. It is amazing to see these girls and how they are and how their family is so poor and so different…..