Scott, our minister has had links with Kisumu Kenya since his first visit there in 2001.
Scott and another member of our congregation, Stuart Parkins, have visited Kisumu and the Osare Children’s Home in January 2009 and February 2010; and a larger team from TBC went out in July 2011. Scott, Stuart, Josh, Jenny, John and Rob have recently (Nov 2012) returned from another successful visit to Kisumu. You can read the 2012 report here.
Kisumu is officially the third largest Kenyan City (after Nairobi and Mombasa) and has an estimated population of 300-400,000, it is believed that 1 in 4 are HIV positive with practically every family affected. It’s a busy port city on the edge of beautiful Lake Victoria. Although fairly popular with tourists there is a stark contrast between poverty and wealth.
The Osare Children’s home is a tiny orphanage that is home to 51 children, most orphans of either AIDS or malaria. Founded and run by James Osare, his wife Rose and a dedicated family of volunteers, it looks after children from the youngest abandoned baby through to early teen street youths who were once part of the estimated 2,000 homeless youngsters that inhabit Kisumu street life.
The home is situated 2-3 miles out from the town centre in a little rural village called Bandani. Facilities are basic, e.g. no electricity, though slowly improving with help from TBC and one or two other fellowships in the UK.
First a water bore hole and pump were installed, then a brick built dormitory; some workshops; an adventure playground and now a new kitchen, store and toilet block have been built.
Until now James and Rose have worked largely unnoticed to provide care and love for those on the fringes of their society: both widows and orphans. In 2011 they finally fulfilled enough of the governmental requirements so that the home was officially recognised by local authorities and received not only its licence but also a little government support.
With guidance and some oversight from the local children’s department and a newly formed board of local trustees they have set out to improve the organisation of the orphanages administration and upgrade the facilities to give better security and health protection to their children. Although the local community is generous and James earns extra money through occasional contracts as a civil engineer, the resources needed to provide kitchen, toilet, bathroom and fencing are more than they have available. However God has always provided a way, and the trust of both staff and children is in their heavenly Father to provide. Friends and family in England are attempting to fund raise for them and TBC has been a part of that. As you will see from the 2012 report, the most recent project was to provide the security fencing around the main home so that both the children and staff, as well as property, could be protected from local thievery. With the fundraising efforts of The Square Methodist Church in Dunstable, and some sharp negotiations on the 2012 trip, the fence is now due to go up before Christmas 2012. The next capital project is to provide some livestock (now that it can be safeguarded), which will provide both food and additional money for food for the children.
Scott keeps in touch with James via phone each month and receives updates on the children and how things are at the local pastor’s bible school (affiliated to Living Hope Ministries) which he teaches at via phone. Each of Scott’s visits has had a focus on teaching and training these local pastors and church leaders, though often it is the social needs of the community that affects those that travel with him. So much so that on return, most of those that have been to the Osare home and met James want to try and organise practical help for him.