Up and out by 8:45am this morning to a project we have supported for a few years and yet never visited. For many years we have supported two mentally challenged, young men. This year, we added two more, also mentally challenged to our list of commitments.
The four young men live at Thika Rescue Centre and attend school in Machakos, which is just over an hour north. Their school is run much like Kambui. The school year begins in January and runs through until December. Children attend school full time (in a boarding school environment) for three months and then return home for one month. That same cycle is repeated throughout the entire year. Therefore, while at Thika Rescue Centre this morning, there were very few children on site as most were away at school. The only ones remaining are those who are lacking sponsorship.
During their month “off” school, the children, while living at Thika Rescue Centre spend their days learning day-to-day life skills such as gardening, weeding, kitchen work such as washing utensils, floors, clothes, dorm floors and also personal hygiene. They also learn outdoor life skills such as caring for livestock, feeding and watering chickens and milking goats. The management is hoping to partner with Red Leather, to teach the children shoe-making, how to make key holders, belts and wallets and then in turn the staff will purchase these items and spend the monies made on special clothing for the boys.
While at school in Machakos, the boys are taught masonry skills such as theory and practical tasks, cutting and shaping stones to required shape and texture, mixing of building mortar, plumbing, alignment, and leveling of building units and finishes such as plastering and painting. Other life skills available for education include hair dressing beauty therapy.
The Kenyan Government is currently working on introducing an institution for assisted living but until this has been established, children will continue their programs at Machakos and when graduated they will return to Thika Rescue Centre.
All four of the boys currently sponsored by Our Kenyan Kids have been either orphaned or abandoned and range in age from 14-17 years of age.
Learning daily life skills will be a challenge for each of the three but we are assured that there is hope and reminded that there are 7 more orphaned and abandoned children residing at Thika Rescue Centre that are still in need of education. Without sponsors, (they have a place to live,) but will not receive an education.
At the Machakos School, we were greeted by Francis Peter, the Masonry instructor and quickly joined by Stanley, the Information Communication Technician, Fideaia, also an ICT instructor and Leah who is the instructor of Beauty and Hairdressing. They gave us a run-down of the school, what they do and how each of the boys are doing before giving us a tour of the facility and taking us to greet the boys.
Unfortunately as we were about to snap the picture of the four boys, we learned that there were in fact only three on site. That one boy, who had just recently became a part of the Okkids program, regrettably wandered away from the facility last Friday and remains missing.
Our hopes and prayers go out to him and all of those at the home and the school who care for him and are anxiously praying for his safe return.
It was one of our longer days, having left before 9am and not back until after 6pm, but well worth it to see one of the projects that we support but have as yet been unable to visit.