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.
The Faith Healing Agricultural Project (FHAP) is an offshoot of the longtime partner of Bread and Water for Africa®, Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO) in Sierra Leone and operates with mission of helping small farmers achieve food security.
FHAP does this in several ways including providing these farmers, the vast majority of whom are women, with materials to help them getting off to a good growing season with quality seeds and planting materials.
In addition, FHAP provides the farmers with hands-on training at its demonstration farm, an established support network and even helps them to prepare their land for planting.
FHAP is making a huge difference in the lives of these women farmers, notes FHDO executive director Rev. Francis Mambu.
During the last planting season, over 78 bushels of rice was planted, he reported. The yield was 806 bushels – a return of more than 10 times!
“From the yield during the last planting season, we were able to support about 330 women farmers in different villages,” said Rev. Mambu, adding, “It is also worth noting that the project distributed rice to vulnerable women in the communities to feed themselves and their families.”
Rev. Mambu and FHAP have also been recognized from the highest levels of the government of Sierra Leone for their efforts.
“The Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Professor Monty Jones thanked FHAP and its partners for the laudable strides they are making in the country, noting that the FHAP rice project is the largest in the entire country,” said Rev. Mambu.
Rev. Mambu noted in the 2018 FHAP Annual Report that about 75 percent of all Sierra Leoneans are engaged in agriculture in one way or another, accounting for approximately 40 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
“Agriculture is the daily life occupation of most of the people in Sierra Leone, especially for those residing in the rural areas,” he said.
Thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, 315 women were provided with micro finance loans to start their own farming businesses for seed loans and also received technical assistance for their farms.
The women farmers reside in the Yankansa village area in the Bombali District in the northern region of the country which suffered greatly during the decade-long civil war in the 1990s when farms and farming equipment was destroyed.
The land is fertile for farming, and the weather is favorable for crops to thrive, but Rev. Mambu and the women he helps continue to face great challenges.
“The people living in Yankansa and other surrounding villages are poor – they don’t have the money to invest in agricultural activities,” he told us. “Even though almost all of these people are engaged in farming, their output is small because of the lack of funds for expansion.”
For the future, Rev. Mambu and FHAP will continue to empower women in villages throughout the Yankansa community.
“These women groups are doing well and their farms are expanding,” he told us. “Hopefully in the next planting season more women groups will be able to register for support.
“Our deep appreciation goes out to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® for their support of FHAP for touching the lives of Sierra Leoneans striving to make better lives for themselves and their families.”
At the Legos Christian Academy in Rutile, Sierra Leone, there are hundreds of students who today have stepped into the digital age thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® and through our partnership with Computer Ministry in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
It all began last fall while our longtime partner in Sierra Leone, Rev. Francis Mambu, executive director of Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO) which operates the school, visited the United States to meet with Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Bethelhem.
While in the U.S., Beth took Rev. Mambu to meet with representatives of Computer Ministry to tell them about the need for computers in schools in Sierra Leone.
When asked how many computers the school needed, Beth told them that school has 300 students.
With that, they informed her they could provide 297 desktop computers which had been refurbished by their ministry and the partnership was formed.
Thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, we were able to pay a nominal service fee to Computer Ministry which enables them to keep their electronics recycling operation going, as well as the cost of shipping the computers to Sierra Leone.
It’s difficult to describe the feeling we got when we received this short video from Pastor Rogers the school administrator showing the Legos students using their “new” computers.
While students in the United States could not imagine attempting to do their schoolwork without a computer, for many years these secondary school students in Sierra Leone could only dream of being able to search the internet for research for their studies.
The supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® made this all possible, as part of a joint mission together with Computer Ministry and Rev. Mambu and FHDO to bridge the digital divide literally across the ocean and we could not wait to share this success with you.
As Pastor Rogers says in the video, “We are very much grateful to Bread and Water for Africa® for helping us. This is the first type of school here with such a system ever in the history of this place.”
And vowing: “We promise to make the best use of it.”