A Letter From The Field

Rev Keith Knill writes:

Hi all! Greetings from Africa! We arrived in Kenya after 16 hours of flying plus 2 hour stopover in Zurich. We’re staying at the Fairmount Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi - rather like the Fairmount Royal York in Toronto - old and very traditional (men wear formal suits and top hats). Our room overlooks a beautiful courtyard with flowering plants, walkways, and fountains.

Village of Love volunteer, Moses Omondi, explains to visitors, Keith and Marjory Knill how micro-loans operate to expand this woman’s small business.The first day, we visited Kibera - a suburb of Nairobi and the worst slum in Africa (over 1 million people living in a square mile). A relative of our neighbor in Brampton very kindly offered us the services of one of his chauffeurs while in Nairobi - a far greater blessing than we could have imagined. In China it’s said that road signs are merely suggestions; in Nairobi, it’s the survival of the fastest and most daring. Our driver Frederick was impressive as a driver and a super person. He took us to Kibera and stayed to drive us back to the hotel.

We met Andrew Obara, director of Village of Love in Kibera, and 2 young university graduates Joyce and Moses ( incredible young people) who are virtually volunteering their time every day in this incredible ministry.

Marjory and Keith brought with them from Canada two suitcases of donated pencils and notebooks to distribute to the children- a very precious commodity.We spent the morning as they shared the challenges and opportunities in Village of Love. They support about 75 women who are all raising orphan children along with their own - over 600 children in total. We can’t begin to share all the concerns. We spent the afternoon seeing first-hand the enormity of the challenge. One woman who has just had surgery and so is unable to work selling bananas and dried noodles, is raising 4 children in a dirt hut with dirt floor approximately 70 sq feet. 3 of her children are attending school because of Village of Love. Most children in Kibera don’t attend school - it’s not free in Kenya. That’s certainly one of the major challenges. Even those fortunate enough to attend school to grade 8 are unable to continue because high school fees are even more expensive.

Village of Love women were very grateful for the Knills’ visit, for both the caring they expressed and the goods that they brought. A group of them are seen here posing with the Canadian flag, supplied by MP Arif Virani and brought earlier in the summer by Rev Don and Brenda Gibson.The living conditions in Kibera are appalling, worse than we expected. There are open sewers everywhere with the accompanying stench. The poverty is truly grinding. Unemployment is extremely high. Food is minimal (primarily maize and beans, if affordable).

We did visit 2 schools. We took 2 suitcases of school supplies with us from Canada, and gave each student 2 pencils - they were thrilled and very thankful. We were amazed at how polite and happy these children appear. The one school has rough wooden benches to sit on and write on - almost 50 children jammed into a hut-like building (one car garage size) with dirt floors. There were perhaps 6 or 7 classes all alike.

One of the perks in travelling to Kenya is the chance to meet rescue giraffes and orphaned elephants!We were delighted to meet the children but could cry because of their circumstances and lack of opportunity.

We were incredibly impressed with Andrew, Moses, Joy and 2 other leaders who care and love so much. We hope to meet Andrew’s wife, Leonora, when she returns next week. She and Andrew have spent years committed to this ministry among the poorest of the poor.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

« Gifts from Bloor West Village to Village of Love | Main | Empowering Women Politically »

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.
Editor Permission Required
You must have editing permission for this entry in order to post comments.