Helping Families Grow Strong in Bungoma
Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2014
A sound grows in the distance as children play in the yard near the kitchen at Madeleine School. Rarely is there any noise on the rutted roads other than the voices of the villagers as they walk to their homes or to the sugar cane fields to work. The hum of the motorbike is a joyful disruption as it turns into the entrance; the students rush to the gate to welcome Miss Elizabeth. She has become a welcome presence at the school since her first visit in September.
Elizabeth is a social worker with more than two decades experience in caring for children and families. Kenya is her home, and tending to the students at Madeleine School is an answer to prayer for her. “I have always wanted to return to my own country to serve and work,” she shares as she hugs one child after another. She and her three children moved from Busia, Uganda, after she worked for years at a ministry dedicated to protecting children from abuse and neglect. “This is the first time in fourteen years of marriage that my husband and I have lived in the same village. He works in Bungoma at the sugar factory - he has been there for 20 years now. Many couples live apart and work in different cities because it is the only way to provide for the family. We have prayed for years. And God has made a way.”
Elizabeth’s connection with the students is immediate and evident. Her calm demeanor and nurturing spirit invites even the most fearful child to talk about their family, their worries, and their dreams. “I was orphaned as a child, and I understand the struggles of those living in this village. I want to know the children well. And I want to know their families too. I am not here to simply speak to the students. I am here to help families grow stronger - because when homes are healthy, children thrive.” And getting to know the students in this rural village has meant far more than simply conducting assessments. In the short time she has been at Madeleine School, Elizabeth has braved torrential rains to visit homes in crisis, held crying children as they have received dental care, bandaged scraped knees, played “netty ball” (volleyball) and football (soccer), and even assisted in the feeding program.
Tom Wekesa, Director of Kenyan Programs for Orphan Outreach, is thankful for his new partner in ministry. “Her work here has already made a large impact. I wish we could create more hours so she could help the children we serve in Nairobi, because they too would benefit from care like this. Our country - and our ministry - needs more women like Elizabeth.”
Your sponsorship of students at Madeleine School enables Elizabeth to provide care and counseling for the children there. Learn more about our sponsorship program and the Madeleine School, and get involved by sponsoring a child and joining us on our next trip to Kenya!