For one brief, heartbreaking period in their young lives all that the three brothers Wilson, Samuel and Joseph had was themselves after unbelievably being abandoned by their mother.
And it was on a dark, rainy evening in Kenya when a neighbor heard their desperate crying that a concerned, compassionate neighbor came to their rescue.
Though she tried to locate the boys’ mother, she was nowhere to be found – and with nowhere else to turn, the woman brought Wilson, Samuel and Joseph into the loving, welcoming arms of Phyllis Keino, the founder and director of the Lewa Children’s Home, a longtime partner of Bread and Water for Africa®.
“On arrival, they were weak, hungry and very malnourished,” Phyllis told us. “They came with many ailments.”
In addition, never having been to school, they could neither read nor write and showed signs of being mentally challenged.
Phyllis does not select the orphaned and abandoned children who are brought to her. Whether this is by government officials, the police because their parent(s) are in prison, or caring citizens, she instantly gives them her love as if each is one of her own, because from that moment on they are.
The horrors of their past lives are thankfully unknown, but what is known is that these three boys have a present filled with a love they have likely never known, the basic necessities of life including health care and an education, and hope for a long life and a bright future – thanks to Phyllis and the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®.
Recently at Bread and Water for Africa® we first heard of Abomvomba from our partner in the country, Hope Services, about the great need for water for the people there.
To say the village is remote would be an understatement as it’s located on an undeveloped road linking Ebolowa with the town of Kribi where its inhabitants have no safe drinking water source, no electricity, no schools, no health care facilities and an extremely limited telecommunications network.
“So, it is essentially a poor population,” says Esther Ndichafah, CEO of Hope Services. “That is why Hope Services has been involved with this community through medical missions, community education and development programs since 2017.”
During the course of her outreach to residents, “the community expressed the need for a good portable water supply for their household use.”
Upon examining the problem further, Esther confirmed there indeed was a great need for water in the community as the nearest source of safe drinking water was in a neighboring village about two miles away – meaning people, mostly young girls, spent their days walking that distance one way to fill empty containers, and then carrying full, heavy ones back with the full weight on their heads.
To address this problem, Esther turned to Bread and Water for Africa® to request the $9,400 necessary to construct a borehole about 200 feet deep, thereby ensuring there will be no risk of the well becoming contaminated and/or polluted.
As expected, the community is very excited and supportive of the prospect of having water in the village more so than electricity, and residents are willing to help expend out of their own meager funds the cost of maintaining and protecting the well upon completion.
Residents have already formed a committee charged with locating the ideal site for the borehole, with the top priority that it be located far from any outhouses and latrines where waste could leach into the groundwater contaminating the water source.
Before any commitment could be made, Esther and her team met with members of the community to stipulate that in order for a borehole to be drilled, they must agree to create a committee to manage and oversee the security and preventative maintenance of the water supply facility, collect contributions from all families to be served by the well to have funds available for maintenance needs as they arise.
The bottom line is that the residents of Abomvomba “are in desperate need of water,” says Esther and at Bread and Water for Africa® we are working to see that that desperate need is met this year.
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.
Kobby was abandoned when she was only 7 years old and the first home she can remember was the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.
At Lewa, Kobby has everything she needs.
“I am happy,” she says. “We are fed well every day, we eat a balanced diet, and we are given enough clothes and shoes.
“We are not all the same age, there are small babies brought to the home and I enjoy helping them in the mornings and evenings because I love babies so much.
“In the mornings when we wake up we are well, we play in a clean field, the place where we sleep is clean, we have cupboards to put our clothes, there are toilets.”
In school, her favorite subject is Christian Religious Education where she learns about the Bible and the story of Jesus and his disciples.
“We learn how God created the earth and we learn so many things I can share with others,” she said.
She does acknowledge that some subjects are more challenging for her than others.
“I learn well, but sometimes I can’t understand some subjects,” she told us.
Only a fifth-grader, Kobby already has big dreams for her future.
“When I grow up I want to be a doctor because I want to help those who are sick,” Kobby said. “I want to treat them so that they can enjoy their life again. Even when my family, friends, relatives, and others become sick, I would like to treat them so that they can be healed.”
Kobby has years to make her dream a reality.
For now, she can enjoy being a child without worry or fear for the future thanks to Phyllis.
“I cannot remember when I lived, or my family, but I know my home is the Lewa Children’s Home,” Irene said. “Life here at Lewa is cool and I love being here.”