Saturday, April 21, 2012

Compassion Delivers

  It is so exciting to see the donations roll in for the Compassion library at KE214 in Kenya! Thank you for sharing with them in such a way that they will be able to fill their empty shelves with textbooks, resource books and grade level readers for the children and teens enrolled there. I love your generous hearts and I hope you realize how valuable these books will be to them.
   If you are new here, you might want to scroll down and read the previous post on my day at KE214 and their efforts in building and stocking this library.

  This particular Compassion project is also home to a Child Survival Program.
  The Child Survival Program helps save the lives of babies and mothers living in poverty utilizing the local church to assist mothers of at-risk infants and toddlers. Mothers can give their children a fighting chance for healthy development with supplies and training which includes:

Prenatal care
Nutritious food and supplements
Ongoing health care
Spiritual guidance and education
The loving support of a local church

   These are some of the babies and toddlers we were privileged to meet, hold and play with during our day there. The mothers were obviously proud of their healthy little bundles and delighted in the attention we lavished on them.

   The home visits for this project took groups of us to one of the humble dwellings of the mothers enrolled in the Child Survival program. I gained a clear understanding of just how much these women learn from the training Compassion gives them in caring for themselves and their new babies.      

   This woman welcomed us with a  song and led us proudly into her compound. She talked almost non-stop, eagerly explaining all of the ways she was implementing what Compassion had taught her to do.
   Here she demonstrated the process of hand washing, after using the "choo", with the water and soap perched on the left. It's something that we are taught to do before we can even speak and it's hard to imagine that in developing countries, hand washing after visiting the latrine is an unheard of practice.

   I followed this woman around her little compound with admiration; for her determination to do the very best with what she had to work with, and for Compassion's success in carrying out what they preach and promote from home. You can read about Compassion's programs and promises and agree that they sound like wonderful interventions and methods of rescue. But when you step into the world of one woman's story and see it all with your own eyes, everything changes. My resolve to partner with Compassion in releasing children from poverty went to a whole new level that day.

   In addition to the hand washing after using the latrine, she explained that Compassion taught her to wash her hands before preparing food (the picture reveals her "kitchen") and before handling and breast feeding her baby. We were led into the area where her little boy sleeps which was covered by a hanging mosquito net and with a newly cut window for ventilation.

   She demonstrated the process she goes through to grow, harvest and grind the different grains she uses to mix with milk from their goat. The end result is a soupy porridge that she feeds to her family and also sells by the roadside to people walking to work in the mornings.
   Her roadside stand also offered different beans and grains Compassion helped her start, as well as handmade soap and eggs from her chickens. She told us the eggs were useful for her own child in providing him with needed protein. (Another score for Compassion!)

   I have so many more pictures and stories from this one home visit. This woman and her husband were living testaments to Compassion's success on every level.  I was reminded that Compassion's goal is not to make these people like us, with our carpeted homes and closets full of shoes and clothes, two kids and a white, picket fence around our miracle grow, green grass yards.
   Compassion's motto is this: The opposite of poverty is enough
   Not only was this once splintered family, due to alcohol abuse by dad, reunited and thriving, they were also exuding contentment and hope. It was a beautiful sight. One that I am sure is not fully conveyed in these few paragraphs.
   I am still not done reporting on KE214. I met two very special girls on this visit, Risper and Doreen, and I was blessed to hand out many, little, handmade dresses sewn by my good friend Gina. Those stories are up next!

   I am still in pursuit of your gifts towards the remarkable little library housed at this very project. The chip-in button on the right is a simple way to buy a few books and leave your own footprint in Kenya. These resources will be well used and treasured, I can promise you that.
   This effort will remain in place until May 31st. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to those who have given already!