Veronica Home

Live Creatively!

2014-08-09 07.10.08"Live creatively, friends!…" Galatians 6:1 (MSG)

Creativity goes so much farther than just art or music.

A truckload of beds arrived yesterday at the Veronica Home. A Canadian donor was creative in how they raised funds for this and today we see his creativity at work! As a salesman for a mobility network, he was able to donate expired phones and sell them to raise funds for these beds. We are SO grateful for this!

We have another friend that has a passion for cycling. He thought, "how can I marry my love for cycling and raising funds for ReACT?" He decided to organize our Centurion Cycling event that occurs in another month. As a result, over $4,000 has been raised to date because of creativity and thinking outside the box!

I know a special 10 year old girl that put a proposal forward at her school principal at the end of this last year. Her proposal at this Catholic School was to have a "dress down" day at this school. Such a day is promoted as a fund raiser and students can forgo their usual uniforms for a day if they donate $2 toward the given cause. This ten year old just found out about a month ago that her proposal was accepted! In this upcoming school year, a whole school will be collecting and raising funds for ReACT as a result of a 10 year old girl's creativity!

God said to Moses when He called him..."What is that in your hand?" It was Moses' shepherd's staff; just an ordinary tool he used each day but when put into God's hands, it performed the miraculous!

What's that in YOUR hand?

Samuel!

Samuel

Here are some pictures and an email that I recently received from Mark in Kenya. Mark is our full-time Kenyan manager that helps oversee the work on the ground in Kenya...

"This is two year old Samuel, the latest and last addition to the Veronica Home. Samuel was abandoned in the district hospital by his mother. The mother left him in the ward of the hospital after discovering he was HIV positive. When I heard that he was abandoned because of HIV, my heart was broken. I remembered what the Psalms that say, "that though your father and mother may forsake you yet I will not". Since we are serving kids that are on Anti-viral drugs we decided to take Samuel under the Children's Department's supervision.

The Veronica Home has an ultimate capacity of 15 children, and so we know that the house parents will be able to manage them. At this time, we also have an "Auntie" that comes to help with household chores through the week and this ensures that there is none that are over worked. We have realised that the needs are more than what we have at the moment. Our vision as ReACT Kenya is to add a second home using the same model as the Veronica Home to help more kids. Will you pray and trust God for this in His time?

If anyone would like to sponsor Samuel or the part-time Auntie that helps care for the children, please contact us as we trust God for their support.

We want to thank God so much for our partners that have stood with us to serve this children. To those that are willing to partner with us you are such a blessing! Love you all God bless you and bless your heart.

Shalom, Mark"

Kuku house video

In our last post about the kuku house we shared with you about the new chicken coop at Veronica Home. Here is a short video of Mark sharing his vision for having chickens. The plan for most of ReACT's projects is to develop small businesses for two reasons. First, a profitable business will move various projects closer towards independence with less reliance on foreign aid. Second, small businesses that are operated in close proximity to the children give them exposure to business from an early age. The business of raising chickens for meat and eggs will be largely operated by the children of the Veronica Home, thus empowering them as well as preparing them in simple business practices from a young age. As they participate in these businesses, our prayer is that they will value this work and develop skills for the future.

Enjoy this short video!

Kuku house

One of my favourite words in Swahili is 'kuku', which means chicken. They are comical creatures at the best of times, but there is added entertainment in rural Kenya where they have free reign. Kukus can be found checking out the living room, roosting in the garden or eating last night's leftovers.

Our favourite kuku event was definitely the day a woman arrived with a bird under her arm and then released it for all the children to catch. My children, in particular, took great delight in the chase that ensued - crawling under fences, developing capture strategies, and generally squealing with glee. I'm not sure what they thought when we were served kuku at lunch that day, but I'm pretty sure they steered clear!

Since one of ReACT's goals is to see partners in Kenya become self-sufficient, no longer relying on foreign support, there were many conversations around next steps for Veronica Home.

We talked about the ideas of more land (just this year they have rented two acres for a maize crop), the purchase of a cow, and finally a home for the chickens (kukus) that are running around the property.

Mark, one of ReACT's Kenyan staff members, showed us a book he's been reading about keeping chickens and the various ways of housing them. Chickens have been on his mind because he knows that eggs provide a lot of nutrition for children who are immune-compromised and they can also generate income through the sale of eggs.

While we were in Kenya a donation for a kuku house came through and we were able to join Mark in the brainstorming as he worked out size and location and associated costs.

The kuku house is now complete and as of this past Monday, 26 additional chickens have been added to the current brood of 20. Mark is hoping to eventually have enough chickens so that the children's diets can be supplemented and so that eggs can be sold to the community. This will mean that ReACT will be able to take a tiny step back, allowing the Veronica Home to take a tiny step forward towards self-sufficiency.

Kathryn

Meals

The best part of being part of daily life at Veronica home was the meals.

There were rice, beans and maize, kale and cabbage, potato soup. And on Saturday morning there was chai and mandazi (Kenyan donuts!)

Without refrigeration all of the meals were made fresh and required many hands. I took such delight in sitting around a table with children sorting through beans or maize, removing small stones and twigs. We sat in the shade of a tree or on in the indoor kitchen with everyone chopping kale that had just been picked from the garden. Doing these things together made our connection to the meals that much stronger.

Meal times are an important part of life at Veronica - breakfast and supper placed exactly 12 hours apart so that the children could take their medications on full stomachs. Children on ARV's (antiretroviral drugs) require substantial meals, but also healthy ones. And thus the meals at Veronica have more variety than one might find elsewhere in the villages.

Joseph and Eunice, the house parents, were so gracious, so welcoming, and clearly so happy to be feeding us. While I didn't want us to be served anything different than what they would normally eat, I know that there were a few treats snuck in - that bag of peanuts with white bread and butter was just for us I'm sure!

It is true that my Canadian children grew weary of our diet at Veronica Home, but I know they would give anything to be sitting in that living room one more time - all 20 of us with our plates balanced on our laps, eating with our hands, the puppy and the cat scampering underfoot looking for scraps, all of us laughing about the events of the day and loving the fact that we were all together.

Kathryn

Stories of Veronica

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If you asked Anna, Joseph and I separately what the best part of our recent trip to Kenya was, we would each tell you that it was staying at Veronica Home with Daddy Joseph, Mama Eunice and their 14 children. To travel to Kenya is one thing, but to live with a Kenyan family, to be welcomed right into their daily life is another.

Receiving the e-mail from Mark Kamondi (see last post) regarding Hope and her living situation made my heart leap a little because now I know firsthand what a wonderful place Veronica Home is. For those of you who support the children there, for those who may be considering it, and for those of you who can't imagine what life in rural Kenya looks like, I want to share our stories. Following will be a series of posts on the home that will hopefully give you a glimpse of what beauty lies there.

Kathryn

Hope!

This is Hope (not her real name). I just received this email from Mark in Kenya this morning…

"Bro mike,

Last week we talked to mary and Nuann concerning a girl called "Hope"! She is a total orphan (both parents are deceased) and she is on medication. My biggest concern was to save her so that she can not die! She is so weak at the moment and she is sickly because of lack of proper food and she is on ARVs. I will send her photo. We are going to save her life by bringing her over to the Veronica Home! If anyone is willing to sponsor her, I will really appreciate that. I will write her full story, but am sending her pictures.

Hope is a total orphan, her mother died of HIV positive. She was staying with the granny in Tuwan slum and later on the granny passed away last year with the same disease! She was left in the hands of her guardian who has six kids of her own. You understand being in the slum means sometimes no food! Hope had to take medicine with food but she is without food and thus is growing weak.

I will be moving her to Veronica Home, for her to have a place she can call home. We do not want to see Hope die. If any one is willing to partiner with us in sponsoring Hope, you are welcome.

May the Abba bless your heart. Mark" I read this email this morning and realized how trivial our Western problems are and how much we can do here to help the many like Hope.

Children at the Veronica Home live in a wonderful home environment with House Parents (Joseph and Eunice), attend the local school, receive food as well as the regular medication and doctor's attention that is required for them to survive. All this costs us about $100/month (CAN) per child. We visited the Veronica Home this past April and were deeply impressed with how well the existing 12 children are doing here. This is a fresh chance at life for Hope!

The reality is that there are many like her that we want to sponsor but we still lack sponsors for the existing children we care for. Our prayer is that many would step up and sponsor our existing children so that we could also expand and reach many more like Hope.

If $100 per month is too much, please consider sponsoring a deaf child at a local boarding school costs $250 for a uniform, books, room and board for the entire year!

If anyone would like to be Hope's sponsor or sponsor another child in one of our projects, please email michael@reactkenya.com.

To all our existing partners, we are humbled and grateful to serve with you. We cannot help children like Hope without your generosity.

Remember that Jesus hides Himself in children like these!

Veronica Home hut

This is the hut that was repaired and completed this past year on the Veronica Home property.

The laundry hanging in the background, the bright blue door, the squashes growing in the foreground make the property look so full of life. So full of REAL life. We are so happy that so many young lives are able to make use of this beautiful space.

Veronica Home

Much has been happening at the Veronica Home and the work of ReACT in the past months. The above pic shows the new hut that was completed on the property of the Veronica Home about a month ago. We are grateful to the generous donors from North Bay that have undertaken this project! Many of them recently visited the Veronica Home about a month ago and were able to see the fruit of their efforts and funds.

Also recently, Mike and Kris Stawski travelled with a team from Newmarket to visit this project among other projects in the area. This team was able to complete the construction of a greenhouse that they brought over and erected in the two week period they were there. Again, we are excited and humbled to play a part of the work God is doing here and want to say "thanks" to all those that sacrificed to enrich the lives of the children at this home.

We are SO blessed to have partners like you!

Five Loaves and Two Fish

As I put my daughter to bed last night, I read the story of Jesus feeding a crowd of 5,000 people with a little boys lunch. I read it as though Jesus took Elia's pink lunch box that she brings to school and fed, not just her whole classroom or school, but all the schools in Barrie from it. She was incredulous that Jesus did a similar thing in the Bible! The key, I said, was that we have to surrender what we have to Jesus first...the boy could have selfishly held onto his lunch and really missed out being a part of what God was doing in his neighbourhood.

This morning, I received a very encouraging email from Mark Kamondi, one of the full-time Kenyan staff on the ground. I couldn't help but think again of last night's story. God loves to surprise us...He really does know what we need!

"The entire family of Veronica are so greatful to God for his provision to us. Actually we lack words on how we can thank him fully. He knows exactly what we need. Yesterday (Monday) the people from Kenya seed company donated twenty bags of Maize and two bags of Millet to the Veronica Home. We are not going to buy maize for about ten month to come as a result! They have heard what we are doing, and they have been going around to homes, so Veronicah was among them because is a special home.

I want to thank our ReACT director and the leadership team in Kenya for all they are doing for the growth of ReACT. May our good God bless you richly. Shalom. Bro mark kamondi."

God continues to surprise us this year! We are richly blessed and humbled to all be playing a part in caring for these children. You may be tempted to think that the role you play is insignificant, but remember the fish and bread. Keep surrendering what you have into the hands of a wonderfully mysterious God!