Monday, December 7, 2009

Kenya, Day 2

12-5 We planned to take it easy today to recover from jet lag. We spend the morning at Heshima for Children. Heshima is a ministry for Kenyan children with special mental and physical needs. Heshima is the Kiswahili word for dignity. The ministry was started by Tracy Hagman who, along with her husband Eric, is a fulltime missionary in Kenya. There are very few services for the special needs children of Kenya and Tracy saw the need for a place for these children to learn, receive physical therapy and to learn that they are part of God’s plan so she started the Heshima Children’s Center. We visited Heshima with Becky and Cailin. Becky and Cailin go to Heshima every Friday to work and play with the children. When we arrive there are six children from teenagers to five year olds singing and praising God. We all join and have a great time worshipping with the children and workers. The children spend time praising, learning and playing together. We spent time speaking with Julius, the administrator of Heshima, and Tracy. Julius explains that Heshima has teachers, physical therapists and other staff and volunteers and gives us a tour. The center has a physical therapy room, a small kitchen where they prepare two meals a day for all the children, a large room that serves as a classroom, dining room and activity room and a smaller room that is used a classroom for the older children. Julius explains that there are no services for mentally disabled children in Kenya and many parents are ashamed of having children with mental or physical challenges. Within this culture it is considered to be a curse to have a child with a disability. The abuse rate is also rampant because of the mindset that they have done something wrong. The children are kept at home where no one can see them. The workers at Heshima go door to door to find the children and offer hope, God’s love and help to these families. If you want to know more about Heshima and the work being done there you can go to This ministry is in the beginning stages and very exciting to see.

In the afternoon we go to West Nairobi School (WNS) to attend a school band concert. Cailin plays trumpet in the primary school band and Graham plays saxophone in the advanced school band. WNS is an American school in Western Nairobi for grades kindergarten through twelfth. The students body at WNS is made up of Kenyan children, the children of foreign nationals working in Nairobi and missionaries’ children. The concert is a hit with the parents, like school band concerts everywhere, even though there were a few sharp or flat notes. Following the concert the WNS senior class sponsored a school talent show. Watching the talent show we are reminded that kids will be kids no matter where they are or what there cultural background. The students at WNS really are a talented group.
Tim and Mike

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