I'd like to share with you a HUGE answer to prayer we have had recently. Back in 2002, I met a dear girl named Priscilla. At the time, she was 15 yrs old, top of her class academically and participated in choir. She had dreams of becoming an air hostess and traveling the world. I became her sponsor.
I saw her again the next year and then once again in the Fall of 2008.
Today she has a son, Daniel, who is 6 months old. She unexpectedly became pregnant and was forced to leave school. You see, in Kenya, if you become pregnant, it automatically disqualifies you from participating in school. Priscilla had graduated from the school I had met her at in Loitokitok and started Secondary (High) School in Kitale when she became pregnant.
In the Winter/Spring 2008, a political war broke out between the her tribe and the opposing tribe running for President of Kenya. Her tribe was brutally attacked and she was forced to flee Kitale for fear she would loose her life because she was Kikuyu.
Priscilla fled for her life and started living with her sister in Kibera. Her home consisted of a constructed square area about 8 x 10 feet. There is a mattress and a box to sit and a piece of tin covering her head at night. Did I mention she shares this space with her sister, who has a toddler?
Priscilla often spends nights on the dirt floor of this space, trading between the bed and the floor she shares with her sister and nephew.
This is her reality. Unfortunately, many girls like her, become pregnant as a result of a consensual relationship or rape and live the rest of their lives this way.
Priscilla is living this way today.
Enter Ernest Ambole.
Ernest is a man who lives the Lord with all his heart, all his mind and all his strength. He worked for the school in Loitokitok when I first met him in 2002. Ernest has since worked for little to no money with the organization and has kept a watchful eye on Priscilla to be sure she was safe. Ernest is married and his wife gave birth to a baby boy around the same time Priscilla did.
Recently I received an email from him.
Hi Lindsey and TJ
How are you and family, I trust that you are well and protected by the Good Lord.
We are well, looking forward to Christmas and the new year.
I managed to get to meet with Priscilla. She came to my house on Saturday and we went to visit with her. Her son has been having some health problems we perceive are as a result of teething. He has dropped in weight from 7.4 kgs to 5.7 kgs. He has a low appetite and it seems like it’s a struggle to feed him. However, she had taken him to hospital and the doctor had prescribed something that I cannot really remember for him to eat.
We went to visit her. She lives with her sister who also helps her take care of Dan whenever she goes out to find work to care for her baby. Her sister who is called Wambui however was not in but they live in the same compound with her brother who suffers from some brain related medical situation. Her mother went back to her rural home and because she also suffers the same case as the brother is also not able to assist Priscilla. Her other sister, Wangu also went back to her husband in Limuru.
The house they live in as mud walled and the roof has holes in it. She shares one bed with the sister sometimes one sleeps on the floor. It is quite cold inside even with the sunny season here in Kenya. I didn’t think that environment and I think it is not conducive for the baby and even for her. She uses a tin lamp that is very unhealthy for her as it produces black soot. This is not good for her baby and even herself as both could get severe respiratory complications.
We have started a process to find a suitable school for her. We have been talking about boarding Vs Day School. I prefer a day school that way then she can be with her child daily. Boarding school on the other hand will allow her sufficient time to concentrate. Both arrangements will need day care services. We could also go for a hybrid situation whereby we look for a nice place to house her and get for her some help to stay with the baby during the day and then she takes care of her baby at night but with some support so that she can concentrate on her studies just like you were saying. I wish I had like at least a two bed roomed house then we could host her because now I live in a one bedroom house and we are already out of space. I believe that we can find a suitable house if we look and we could then have Priscilla stay with us for the next one year. By the way, speaking of this house, it could start as an office for our non profit to serve young people in situations like Priscilla and even reach out and do much more youth and community empowerment. I am in the process of trying to meet Lucy and I think that hosting the two of them will be much more convenient and cost effective. We have tried to see who else can assist and maybe the mother to the Daniel’s dad. But this has its own complications.
Hopefully in the New Year, I can manage to start doing more empowerment with young people through the nonprofit but we ll see how it goes.
We felt, and had been feeling, Ernest's call to serve these young women who were forced to drop out of school. Ernest has no resources. He struggled to meet the needs of his own family but was willing to take her and another girl into his home to try to help them. We began to pray for a way we could help these girls who were falling quickly in between the cracks.
I spoke to Bud and Kimberly Huffman last week. Bud and Kim are the Program Directors for Mattaw Children's Village in Kitale where TJ and I are moving forward moving to. They knew of a lady who runs a program for teen girls who need to complete secondary school but have a child and many difficulties fulfilling their goal to finish school. It's called Esther's Home. After we contacted the Director, she stated they would accept Priscilla into the program as long as we could provide the means for her to stay there.
Guess where Esther's Home is!?!?! Kitale, Kenya baby! Could it be that the little girl I met so long ago would have her needs specifically met and live only a few short blocks from us one day???
I wrote Priscilla a letter asking her if she would consider this (the last time she was in Kitale, she was almost killed). I was very nervous. She stated she wanted to go to finish school. She stated she was willing to go.
I'm thankful that a program existed to serve Priscilla and many more girls like her. I'm thankful to serve a God who brings hearts together across the world to work in the life of one child.
I hope that one day, a few blocks may separate Priscilla and our family and not continents and oceans. It's been an amazing journey with her and I know God has big plans for her life.
Can you holler a BIG amen!?!?!?