February 2020 (Part 1)
The boys are excited. Guests are coming! Arriving February 18 (and staying for a while) are guests from Abundant Life Church, including Pastors Mark Haywood and Amy Carter, and others. The visit is intended to have several purposes. For starters, they need to see how the boys are doing. Secondly, the property itself could use a fresh set of eyes, so that determinations can be made as to next steps, what could be improved, what additional resources may be required to bring everything up to an ideal status, and so on. Thirdly, and arguably most importantly, the pastors from ALC are coming to visit with local Bungoma officials, both in government and the church body, to discuss the third and final phase of the RICC project vision. As the slogan states, the three core aspects of the vision are: Rescue, Rehabilitate, Restore. At the time of this visit, eighteen boys have been rescued, many have been rehabilitated, but now, the time has come to restore those who are ready to family, and society.
This idea of restoration can go two ways. Ideally, the boy will be returned to family, whether under immediate parents, or possibly under aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc. Unfortunately, not all families are viable options. Sometimes the boy doesn’t even have a family. Sometimes it’s not safe. Sometimes the family wants to care for the child, but there’s an issue in the home with alcohol… and so on. That would bring the process to the second option, and that is, foster care. A rehabilitated boy could be moved to a family unit that is safe, checked out, and most importantly, loving. The hope and desire for this project is that local, Kenyan families would take the children in and love them as their own.
But there’s the tricky part. The notion of foster care is understood in the United States of America, but is it a recognized and practiced concept in Kenya? Should it be treated instead as foster care on paper, but with the spirit of adoption? What sort of awareness in the community, and in the church, needs to take place so that viable families are even made familiar with the boys, and their history? There’s a lot to explore, and the representatives from ALC intend to do just that.
The Boys are Thriving
Pictures of health and happiness, the boys in Reach International Children’s Center are well fed, educated, and in great shape. They participate in dance class, soccer lessons, art, music education, Bible study, and more. There are becoming quite good at riding bicycles (a Christmas gift from ALC). Their days are structured, but not without a good balance of fun. When appropriate, the boys are taken off-site and get a chance to play, swim, enjoy a nice treat, and more. They are well-behaved, and continue to receive counseling from professionals, in the home. It’s very clear that several of these lads are fully rehabilitated and ready for the next chapter in their lives.
The Property Needs Help
As with any piece of land, or any building, there is the topic of maintenance. Things break, and they need to be fixed. Sometimes, they need to be replaced altogether. Sometimes, something new needs to be purchased. The boys are doing great, but aspects of the property in Kenya are cause for concern.
For one, the driveway is in very rough shape. It’s a bit of a stretch from the main road to the property itself, and that stretch… is quite difficult to navigate. A vehicle traveling that driveway is subject to highly unpleasant bumps and dips, and really can’t proceed much faster than a crawl. After a rain, it’s even worse. There is a significant need for funding to help repair and rebuild the path to the home.
Secondly, the roof needs work. It doesn’t do well with water, and yes, it rains in Kenya, especially at this time of year. The wear and tear is starting to get noticeable, and if it isn’t addressed soon, the damage will only get worse.
Thirdly, there is no incinerator on the property. Now for Americans, the idea of an incinerator is not a common one. After all, they have a municipal garbage service, and trash is taken away weekly. Such is not the case in Bungoma. Trash, quite frequently, needs to be burned. Without an incinerator, there is no choice but to simply make a pit, and regularly burn the materials from there. But a pit is far from ideal. The smoke can spread, filling the air around the home. And there is the risk of someone falling in. Boys run, they play, the jostle around, and if one of them were to slip and fall into the burn pit… that would be terrible.
If you would like to help support the RICC vision and lend a hand towards the needs of the property, we would greatly appreciate it. Click here to donate, and we thank you in advance!
Yes, indeed there is much to discuss. Pray for all involved that the visit is a successful one!