Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Prayer on Global AIDS Awareness Day

What are you doing on December 1st? Wednesday is "World AIDS Day." It is important for reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done to help people affected by HIV.  For us, on this day we continue to pray for our friends in Kenya and are further reminded of our call to go and serve.
According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.3 million people living with HIV, including 2.5 million children. During 2009 some 2.6 million people became newly infected with the virus and an estimated 1.8 million people died from AIDS. The vast majority of people with HIV and AIDS live in lower- and middle-income countries. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.
If you are not sure of how you can participate on this day, an appropriate step would be to pray for the people affected by HIV living in the slums of Nairobi and for the workers on the front lines impacting women, children and families for Christ.  Perhaps it will inspire you to take a greater step and get more involved in reaching out to people affected by HIV.

Luke 9:2 (ESV)

2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.

Isaiah 1:17 (ESV)

17learn to do good;seek justice,
   correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
   plead the widow’s cause.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Life in the Slums: Part II "The History"

Slums are characterized by the serious lack of basic services, by substandard housing or illegal and inadequate structures, overcrowding, unhealthy living conditions and hazardous locations,  insecurity of tenure leading to irregular or informal settlements, poverty and social exclusion.  Almost 60% of the 4 million residents in Nairobi live in a slum.
Kenya is a former British colony and gained it's independence in 1963.  After independence, Nairobi grew rapidly and the growth put pressure on the city's infrastructure. Power cuts and water shortages were a common occurrence.  Most residents came from rural areas due to underdevelopment, where people lived off of their ancestral land and were not necessarily earning an income. They migrated from all over East Africa looking for opportunity, work and stability.  The numbers of people migrating to the city and the natural growth became too much for the infrastructure; therefore, officials had no choice but to allow informal settlements to crop up on unused land around the city.  Kibera, the larges slum, was once a forest.
Between 1971 and 1995, the number of slums within Nairobi rose from 50 to 134, while the estimated total population of these settlements increased from 167,000 to less than 2 million individuals living on 5% of the land.  Today Nairobi has a 4.1% growth rate and is expected to grow by another million in 5 years.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tekla's Artwork

Tekla is a dear friend in Kenya and love her very much. We have told her story many times before.  She lives in the Kiambiu slum with her teenage boys.  She has been HIV + for many years.  We believe that she has miraculously  endured the virus for so long because of her faith and hope in Jesus.  She is a light and encouragement to many widows in the slum and continues to be an inspiration to us.  A few years ago she won an award for her artwork, a new sewing machine. 
Her art is currently on display on the Summit Church wall supporting the Africa Week theme.  She probably never imagined that she would have such an impact.  Tekla is the true servant on the front lines, encouraging and helping others with HIV.  We look forward to serving along side of Tekla again soon.
Please pray for Tekla, the people on the front lines serving the LORD in the slums of Nairobi and the millions of lost people who live there.

More pictures of her artwork on our facebook page.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Life in the Slums: Part I "How did I get here?"

This is the first in a series telling stories of "Life in the Slums."

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” - Mother Teresa

"How did I get here?"

My name is Dorine and I am from Bungoma, Kenya (a rural area far outside the city of Nairobi).
I finished 6th grade but could not proceed for lack of school fees.  I was married at a young age and was my husband's first of two wives.  Life was always difficult but we managed to make ends meet living off the land and helping each other out.  My husband died on the 13th of April 2005 after a prolonged illness from HIV/AIDS complications. That same day his family cast my boys and I off of our land which left us homeless for some time.  My in-laws have disowned me and blamed me for his death.  Without any choices we were eventually forced to move to the city to find some work and a new way of life.

I live with my boys in a rented room in the Kiambiu slum.  "Kiambiu" is a Swahili word meaning "on-the-run."  I am HIV+ and have lived with this condition for over 5 years now.  I am still afraid to tell others of my status for fear of being shunned.  I am currently taking medication (ARVs) to help monitor the virus.  In order to survive and to keep my boys accepted I must keep it secret.  I always feel like I am running away fearing something.

My greatest struggle is to provide for my boys.  They do not have HIV.  For income I do some casual labor like washing clothes or beadwork for which I get very little (Kshs. 1000/ approx $12 per month).  I really can not afford to send them to school.  I have to make choices between the necessities like food and giving my boys an opportunity through education.  I do not feel safe.  There are always numbers of thieves trying to take advantage.  We just survive and look out for each other.  I worry about my boys and their future.  This life along with my poor health leaves me hopeless and forgotten.  I don't think I will make it out of here alive.