Saturday, May 02, 2009

Visiting Orphans Dying of Starvation and AIDS

On Thursday, 16th March, we went for our second Mission to Augester Preparatory Centre. This centre is a Community Based Organization run by Pastor Augustus and his wife Esther. While growing up, both Augustus and his wife experienced the challenges of abandonment, neglect, and destitute poverty. Through their experiences, the Lord put on their hearts a passion to care for orphaned and vulnerable children. Now they work together with a team of counselors and nurses in Embakasi, where Augustus serves as a pastor, and where there are thousands of abandoned and neglected children. Their Centre assists orphaned children, some of them HIV Positive, by placing them in homes with guardians through adoption or fostercare. Currently they are supporting 68 children placed in 30 homes. Most of the families who have adopted the needy children are themselves living in very difficult situations. It was very sad to see the suffering of these children and their new families.

During our trip we visited four families, all of them affected in some way by HIV/AIDS and living in conditions of destitute poverty. Despite their own challenges, each family agreed to take in and care for at least one orphan or vulnerable child as best they could. One of the families we visited was run by a single mother named Mwende. She was supporting eight needy children along with her sick brother. Through encouragement from Pastor Augustus, she also adopted her niece when the parents died of AIDS. In total, there were 10 people living in one small room with poor ventilation and no running water. The family had not eaten on the day we visited and Mwende's brother was sick with atypical pneumonia. He was also drunk on a locally made brew and appeared to be near death. We shared a few words of encouragement and challenge for the family and also gave them some food to last for two days. . .It was difficult to leave the family in such a situation, not knowing if or how long they might survive. Many are dying in the informal settlements and throughout Kenya right now as a result of famine and high food costs.

No comments: