On Tuesday I was able to send some money to the orphanage. On Wednesday, the staff was then able to go to the market to get some food. After four days without eating, the children at last had some food.
I remember days in the past when at times the days of famine were closer to a week. But at least in these mornings when I awake, I am thanking God that the children will be able to eat today.
How long will this last? Joel tells me that they have enough until next Wednesday.
The food supply does not last that long at the orphanage. Remember, there are 42 children, many of them adolescents and even some teenagers. Their bodies have more demands than many of ours.
Vivian and I, for instance, simply do not eat much for our meals anymore. Our food budget is very low, and it could be even lower if I stopped buying maple nut ice cream. But we also remember what it was like when our four sons were in their growing years. Food would seem to vanish before our eyes! I even remember having to hide my maple nut so that they would only eat the vanilla.
Forty-two children need a lot of food, and food is not cheap in Kenya. In times before some crops are harvested, food in fact becomes very expensive because of the low supply.
There are no food banks in the area where the orphanage is located. There are no churches with food pantries, no NGO’s or mission organizations working there that supply food, and the government of Kenya has no food stamp program or any such thing.
I have serious doubts if there are any free food banks at all in all of Kenya, unless some large mission or organization has one in another area. Some of you with more experience in Kenya might be able to tell me.
I asked Joel to tell me a little of the disposition of the children during these times of hunger. He has never mentioned it to me before, although he has said that many times some children cry most of the night. A question that he is often asked is, “Why is God forsaking us?”
He has also overheard children saying things like:
“God, remember us!”
“Where is food, God?”
“Why did my parents die? Why, why?”
“God, you gave us food in the past. Kindly give us food today.”
“God, give us food. It is better to die!”
Some who have been rescued from the streets talk about going back. Realistically however, this is no good option, and the children know it. It is not only the children in the orphanage that go through times of hunger. It is common in the area, especially when the crops are not yet ready to be harvested and the food supply has run out.
“The days of hunger,” the Kenyans call these times.
The people try to grow enough to sustain their families, but most have land holdings that are so small that they are unable to have sufficient supplies.
Since the children now are not in school (no way to pay the fees at this time), they are in the orphanage all day. The pastors and staff have Bible studies with them, telling about the times in the Bible when the people had nothing to eat but God did later supply food for them.
“Be patient, God will supply,” the leaders tell them.
“Trust in God, children.”
It is in these situations that the words of the Lord’s prayer take on special significance: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
“Trust in God children, God will supply.”
*****************Thanks to those of you who have helped during this past week.
With the help that we have been sending for these children, several people have spoken to me to ask me or to warn me about creating a relationship of dependency.
After working with and even living among some of the most needy people of the earth for a good part of my adult life and facing many similar circumstances as this one, I actually have some opinions about this subject that you may find interesting.
Maybe I will write about that next week.