Sammy’s School Helps Flood Victims

07 Jun

Sammy’s School Helps Flood Victims

Sammy’s School Helps Flood Victims

Jerry’s 4th trip blog from Nairobi, Kenya

Irine and her baby stand in front of where their home was before the flood.

Our journey in Nairobi, Kenya began with a heartwarming welcome from Sammy and his wife, Grace, at the airport. They guided us to our hotel for check-in and shared their personal stories, making us feel like part of their family. After settling in, we were eager to visit their school, a place that held a special significance for them and was about to become a memorable part of our journey.

As we ventured into the heart of the Mathare slum, the human tide swelled around us. The further we went, the more congested the streets became. It was as if a living, breathing sea of people was parting to allow our passage. I found myself in the depths of a slum, a place I had never before experienced. Yet, amidst the chaos, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of vendors and churches. This place was alive.

When we parked in front of the school, I was surprised to see it was a solid block structure and not wood or simple iron sheets. Sammy and Grace welcomed us in and led us down the steps of their auditorium. They sat directly in front of the stage for the show that was about to begin. We were led in praise and worship by “Simba.” He sang out, “You are Alpha and Omega. We worship you, our Lord. You are worthy to be praised.” I didn’t know this then, but his house was destroyed before our visit. After we sang a few songs, the students danced for us. Then they pulled us up on the stage to dance with them. Jai decided to keep his amazing dancing gift to himself, but my sister Brenae and I joined in the fun.

Next, we had lunch and discussed some of the school’s details. There are over 400 students, many of whom don’t pay tuition because their parents can’t afford it. The school also feeds the children daily. This was a topic of interest for me as Grace said that she farms to help offset the food cost. They own two acres of land and rent three more a few hours away from the school. My jaw dropped when she told me she harvests 5-7 50 kg bags from 5 acres. I told her about our FGW trainer, Griffin, who expects to harvest 9 bags from 0.25 acres. She was eager to learn more.

They took us on a brief tour of the school. The classrooms were about the size of a bedroom. There weren’t enough chairs or desks, and the student-teacher ratio was about 44:1. However, another problem existed. Their limited space was also occupied by 30 families whose homes were recently destroyed during the flooding. So, the mothers and their children sleep in some classrooms and have nowhere else to go. This is when Simba, a teacher and worship leader at the school, shared with us that his house was also demolished by the government because it was too close to the river.

We left out a side door of the school and made our way about 30 yards down a walking path littered with trash. The smell of sewage was rife in the air when we emerged at the river. That is when we met Irine. Her house was next to the river until the flood destroyed it. As I scanned both sides of the riverbank, utter ruin is the best way to describe what I saw. Some homes were piles of rubble, and some were completely swept away. I asked Irene to stand where her home used to be. Then we asked some of the ladies who are staying at the school to do the same thing. The pictures are below. I ask your help raising enough funds to help these 30 families secure shelter and food for 90 days. This will help these families and help Sammy’s already cramped school regain their classrooms.

In my last trip blog, I mentioned Christophe’s training of his daughter in FGW and her training of 14 additional youth as significant. Here’s why. This addresses a root cause of people ending up in the slums. Many youths from rural villages grow up in poverty, suffering from hunger, though their parents own land that they farm unsuccessfully. So they run to the city, hoping to find employment and a better life. But often, they end up living on the street and making a home in slums like Mathare. They may have a valuable piece of land but have never been taught how to make it produce. So, running to the city is unnecessary when kids see prospering farmers and learn to become one through FGW.

We returned to the school to encourage and pray for the parents staying there. We discussed plans to train Grace in FGW and Sammy’s teachers in Disciple-Making Movements on our ride home. This is another opportunity to make disciples and learn development tools that work in an urban context.

I thank God for Sammy and Grace, but I also thank God for Heaven’s Family (you all). Your love and investment in people like Sammy and Grace empower them to bring education to a place no one wants to go, to those who cannot afford it. You are a blessing to our brothers and sisters in Nairobi.

Our next stop will be Saboti, Kenya. We will visit Griffin’s training center, and I will share what blessed me the most on this trip.

Grace and Peace,

Jerry Jefferson

Director, Farming God’s Way

Each woman is standing where her house was before the flood.

Left to right: Jai, Brenae, Sammy, Grace, me.

Simba (yellow shirt) and some students led us in worship.

We were singing a fast version of Hakuna Mata.

Sister Brenae joined in the fun.

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