What a life it has been for Emmanuel!

What a life it has been for Emmanuel!

We at Bread and Water for Africa® began to get to know him as a 2-year-old toddler when he was brought to the Lewa Children’s Home in Eldoret, Kenya, and into the loving arms of Lewa founder and executive director Phyllis Keino after being abandoned by his mother.

Even at that tender age, Phyllis, who has become known as “mother” to hundreds of orphaned and abandoned children and who all have a special place in her heart could tell there was something exceptional about Emmanuel.

15 years ago, Emmanuel arrived at Lewa with his older brother and sister, and it didn’t take long for them to become a part of the Lewa family, and for Phyllis to become the only mother he has ever known.

While most children in Kenya, and throughout the African continent for that matter, want nothing more than to be able to go to school in the knowledge that getting an education is their only chance out of a life of dire poverty, for Emmanuel, it was not just attending school – but excelling the classroom – that was his passion.

Emmanuel attended Kip Keino Primary School from Nursery to Jr. High, and in 2015, as an eighth grader, Emmanuel tackled his biggest challenge yet by scoring among the best and brightest throughout the entire country in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations (similar to the SAT for high school students in the United States).

It is especially tragic for those who have the ability and determination but lack the money for school supplies and uniforms and have no choice but to take menial low-wage jobs to help support their families and themselves.

While of course we cannot say what was going through Emmanuel’s mind as he filled out his application for Kapsabet High School, we must assume it was with hopeful optimism. Kapsabet is one of the most prestigious high schools in the country whose alumni include Daniel Arap Moi, the second president of Kenya.

The odds against him being accepted to Kapsabet – (where only 300 new students are accepted each year – out of an application pool of 60,000!) – were long, but as his acceptance to the class of 2019 illustrates, not insurmountable.

For Emmanuel, beating those seemingly overwhelming odds was not a matter of luck, but a testament to his ability, and his steady belief that he can do whatever he sets his mind to.

Four years later, we have just received word from Phyllis that Emmanuel is headed to Taita Taveta University in Mariwenyi, Kenya – on a full scholarship!

Taita Taveta University, a non-profit public higher education institution accredited by the Commission for University Education of Kenya, is described as “A Premier Institution in Education, Training, Research, Innovation And Community Outreach.”

Beginning in August, Emmanuel will begin his studies, majoring in agribusiness; a vital field on the African continent as noted by a recent report by the World Bank on “Agribusiness Indicators: Kenya” which states:

“The importance of agriculture in the economies of sub-Saharan African countries cannot be overemphasized.

 

“With agriculture accounting for about 65 percent of the region’s employment and 75 percent of its domestic trade, significant progress in reducing hunger and poverty across the region depends on the development and transformation of the agricultural sector.

 

“Transforming agriculture from largely a subsistence enterprise to a profitable commercial venture is the prerequisite and driving force for accelerated development and sustainable economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

We have no doubt that one day in the not-too-distant future, Emmanuel – the same 2-year-old helpless child abandoned by his mother – will be leading the way as a driving force in helping to reduce hunger and poverty, perhaps even at the Baraka Farm right next to the Lewa Children’s Home where he grew up.

Despite all Emmanuel has accomplished, we know he will never forget those who helped him attain the success he has achieved today – namely Phyllis, and the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®. Without them, he would not have had a home, much less an education.

Upon his acceptance to Kapsabet in 2015, he expressed his sincere gratitude in a letter to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® writing:

“I write this letter to really appreciate for sponsoring me – for if it wouldn’t have been for you, I wouldn’t be where I am.

 

“This comes from the bottom of my heart. I promise to work hard at school and post good results as hard work pays.

 

“Moreover, I promise to not let you down.”

The town of Mariwenyi is 400 miles, a 12-hour bus ride on the rutted Kenyan roads, from Lewa where he grew up, but a world away from how his life began and how we are certain it will evolve.

Sierra Leone Maternal Care:  Meet Mamie Baindu

Sierra Leone Maternal Care: Meet Mamie Baindu

We don’t always realize how fortunate we are that our mothers had access to prenatal services and a hospital to deliver us in. In Sierra Leone, most women give birth alone in their homes with no midwife or medical aid, putting them at serious risk for complications. Many women die during childbirth due to these complications. Sierra Leone boasts one of the lowest life expectancies in the world.

Our partner Faith Healing Development Organization’s (FHDO) clinics in Kenema,Bo, and Rokel and Bunumbu, Sierra Leone are managed by a remarkable woman, Mamie Baindu. She works to provide pregnant and lactating women with services to ensure a safe delivery for mother and child, as well as post-delivery healthcare.

Many years ago, a woman named Ballu came to Mamie after hearing of the high-quality care provided by the clinics. Ballu was facing severe pregnancy complications that could have proved fatal. Thanks to Mamie and her nurses Ballu delivered a healthy baby girl. Ballu’s daughter, Hawa, who is now a grown woman living in the city of Freetown chooses to return to the clinic that saved her mother’s life for her health care.

Today Mamie and her colleagues deliver up to 15 babies per month at their clinics. They also provide 24-hour emergency care to their surrounding communities. The ongoing support by our friends makes the life-saving, and life-giving, operation of these clinics possible.

 

A Lesson of Love and Caring for the Children of Lerato Children’s Village

A Lesson of Love and Caring for the Children of Lerato Children’s Village

Alisa’s tale is a story of tragedy and hope. The little 6-year-old had gone through a lot in her young life – being physically and emotionally abused and becoming infected with HIV. She understandably is emotionally disturbed and has difficulty concentrating.But all is not lost for Alisa thanks to our partner in Zimbabwe, Shinga Development Trust which operates the Lerato Children’s Village.

There, she has found a home filled with love from her “sisters and brothers” and more importantly Alisa has found a place forever in the heart of her new-found “mother,” Shinga director Margaret Makambira. As Margaret told us of Alisa and the other Lerato children, “Their stories are sad, and they don’t know what real love and genuine caring is.However, we are certain that Alisa, who started first grade this month, in addition to what she is learning in school, is also learning that lesson of love and caring more and more with each passing day.

Personal Story

Women’s Self Help; A Success – Febiano, a very energetic ex-Frelimo fighter, carried this war-like spirit into our Community Development Project (Manica District). She became a strong member of our community church.
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