Literacy School & Feeding Program
Literacy School was offered free to the street children and orphans in Kisumu, Kenya. We were able to begin this program due to the generous donations from Christian Literacy Series of all the required materials. Each Saturday morning we would find many street children sitting on the ground by the field where we hosted this program for them. They were awaiting our arrival to teach them to read English. We spent the first portion of our time training native Saints to teach this program. Each one of them found the Christian Literacy Program to be one that not only is quick to learn but has fabulous results too. Tutors and children alike looked forward to this rewarding Saturday program.
The morning hours were spent one-on-one with students in the program, while those children who could already read were supplied reading books for their enjoyment. They loved to read and had the greatest fun when they were each given a notebook and pencil and requested to write down the words they did not know. Volunteers were available to share with them the meanings of these words. Imagine the fun when asked what a shepherd is...Or when asked what was meant by the flood being a judgment....we had such fun being able to witness to them through this wonderful opportunity of building their word knowledge.
Truly, the Christian Literacy Series opened a tremendous door for these children to be able to learn to read English so that they can enjoy reading the Bible for themselves. And that is the goal of this program. To teach them to read the Bible and to share the Good News of the Gospel with them.
Sharing the Gospel
Mid-day we broke for lunch...but first would come the sharing of the Gospel. The children would gather under a tree, in the church building where they are witnessed to, have the Gospel shared with them, and learn of the Holiness of God and how they, too, can walk with Him and be Holy as He is Holy even despite their tremendous burdens of being orphans and street kids. It is an opportunity to give them hope!
After the sharing of the Gospel, the children were provided soccer balls and turned loose to play soccer while lunch was prepared. The menu was rice and beef chunks with a fabulous seasoning called Pilau! We loved it and so did the kids! Cooking for 100 children over open camp fire flames and in one large pot was quite the lesson but the Kenyans know exactly how to manage all this so we left the cooking to them! Along with rice pilau we served cabbage "sauteed" with onions and garlic. It was simply delicious! Every few weeks we replaced the pilau with rice and beans and chapati for a scrumptious meal. The children would eat several plate-fulls. I can't imagine where they put all this food in their small, thin frames but they managed to eat BIG SERVINGS and enjoy fresh clean water with their meals.
After lunch, the children who were not in the tutoring program would hang out, playing, talking and enjoying the company of the adults who were loving and caring for them each Saturday. Many asked to come home with us, desperately wanting a home, love, and to be able to go to school.
Part of the offering of this program required home visits. It is interesting to note that often an orphan has a mom or a dad and a home. The street children, of course, have neither, or so little hope for food at home, that they leave to live on the streets. But those who remain in the home with only one parent are considered orphans because the parent is most often GONE all the time and the children are left to fend for themselves. They don't fare much better than if they were on the streets alone. So, we verify the status of a child by making home visits to determine if they indeed need the program to aide them in meals and literacy training. Those children found to have sufficient resources are removed from the program in order to make room for those who are in dire need of it.