We are fast approaching the end of the year. Like a birthday, we look back with thankful hearts but we also look ahead with the anticipation of new things in the year to come. The past year has seen 78 handicapped children put through another year of school. For some, it was their first year in school while others were there for their 5th year.
The Juma Home underwent wonderful transformations as they moved out of the town of Kitale and into the countryside onto 3 acres of land. This is another step towards independance as they move towards being able to produce enough food on their new land to feed the 20 extra children they have in their family. The family businesses are going well and constantly growing. The bicycle business is going well. There have been motorcycles added to the delivery fleet. The children are involved in various small businesses such as raising chickens, selling cows milk and selling popcorn in town. I am constantly impressed with the leadership of Daniel Juma!
Martin and Ruth Shikuku are busy with the many aspects of their home. In 2010, their home was radically transformed as friends from the U.S. both raised the funds and provided the manpower to build several buildings on a new lot of land. This family and their twenty-something extra children (the number varies with the school season) moved from an area called Soy to a new home about 50kms away just south of Kitale. This year has been a year of settling and bridge-building with the community.
Last winter, Daniel Lipparelli, our partner from Transformed International came to Canada to spend some time together discussing the work of ReACT. He and his new wife, Ashlie, have been a God-send to us as they continue to manage and oversee the work of ReACT in our absence. In January of 2012, I, Michael, am planning to travel once again to Kitale to spend a couple of weeks both with Daniel and Ashlie as well as the various aspects of the work there. Please pray that God would continue to give us wisdom as I see again with my eyes the work and children we have a heart for.
Regarding the deaf children we are working with, we have been investigating a technology that has the potential to radically transform many lives. In speaking with the government professionals that assess the deaf children prior to their admission into school, there is one comment that we have not been able to forget. Many of the children supported in the schools would not have to be there if they were able to use a simple hearing aid. The problem with hearing aids relates to the practicality of these simple devices in a land where most do not have daily access to electricity let alone the batteries required for them. A local friend brought to our attention a wonderful and potentially life-transforming answer to this problem with a hearing aid that is recharged with a small solar panel. I plan on bringing several of these to Kenya this winter so that we can monitor over the next year the viability of using these. Should they prove to be viable and effective, the work of ReACT as it relates to the hearing impaired may change dramatically. Please pray that God "connects the dots" for us in this experiment!
From the start, we have always recognised that the strength of ReACT has also been our weakness. Each dollar donated is sent to the purpose for which it was intended with nothing skimmed for administration. All of those involved with ReACT do so as volunteers. Our weakness in this has been keeping you, our partners, properly updated and informed. We hope that in 2012, this will change as we have been talking with a friend about keeping you effectively informed. We look forward to keeping you posted on this new chapter as the New Year begins.
For anyone still hoping to make a donation for 2011, we remind you that we need to receive your donation by Christmas in order to process it before the end of this year.
In short, we want to thank all of you, our friends, for believing and entrusting your hard earned funds to ReACT. We are honoured to serve as a part of the bridge between you and these children and pray that we can continue in 2012 in the many directions that God is taking us. The children of Kenya join us in saying "Asante!".