By J Hill
We’re here in Kenya, halfway around the world in a place that’s full of beauty, contradictions, and surprises. It’s a place that feels both totally foreign and completely familiar. Today was our first day at Watoto wa Ahadi rescue center. It’s difficult to explain how amazing the center really is.
Geoffrey Mochama, the rescue center’s program manager arrived to take us to the farm just after breakfast. When we first left Maua, the blacktop out of town is busy but otherwise a fairly normal blacktop road. About a kilometer down the way, the road turns to dirt. From there on the road is not simple. It takes a truck, preferably a four-wheel drive, and if it rains, the road becomes impassable. As you travel there you go through one township after another. Each township is alive with activity. People carry huge stalks of bananas on their backs. Motorcycles whiz by with 3 or 4 or 5 passengers. If they don’t have multiple passengers, they’re carrying lumber or multiple crates. People of all ages come out of every shop as pass. What seems like choruses of children wave with excitement. The road gets steeper and rockier and then all of a sudden evens out. You see the first fenced property in quite awhile and Geoffrey says, “this is it, we’re here.”
After entering the gate it’s immediately apparent that this is the beginning of something amazing. Six months ago, 34 street orphans moved onto this farm. Six months before that there really was no farm, at least not one in any organized, recognizable fashion.
Today as we walked the farm, there is a dining hall, a dormitory, a school building, and staff housing. There are crops being grown and chickens are being raised. As we get out and walk around, several of the kids are under the tree with their teacher making beaded necklaces. They’re comfortable and healthy and happy to see us and we are happy to see them. After lunch we had time to spend with the kids. We played soccer. I got to draw with a talented young man named Jacob. We just had time to get to know one another.
For sure there is work to be done. More building needs to happen. More programs need to be put in place. But it is absolutely clear that there is a safe place for 34 of the world’s most vulnerable kids. That there is a place where they know what happens to them makes difference to someone. Watoto wa Ahadi means Children of Promise and Watoto wa Ahadi rescue center is a place where God is working through so many people to put a part of creation back together.