Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drought in Kenya

Visiting with Bishop Timothy and Mary Ndambuki
at the African Brotherhood Church headquarters
in Machakos Town, Kenya.

Maize the principle staple in the Kenyan diet

One of the reasons that Kenya has become so vulnerable to drought conditions is its dependancy on maize that forms the basis for the average Kenyan diet. While maize is a good source of starch, the crop's popularity has pushed out much of the traditional drought resistant crops that once provided a diversity of grains and cereals that made up the Kenyan diet.

Last week, Bishop Timothy Ndambuki, shared with us how the Africa Brotherhood Church has been working within Kenya to better educate the country on sustainable farming practices and help communities that have been hit hardest by the current famine. The Church can not be silent on the most central and basic needs of life. Caring for our environment, ensuring food for the hungry, and sharing out of our abundance with those who have so little is at the heart of what Christ calls his followers too.
Erica and Emma learning about the impact and use of Farming God's Way conservation farming in helping to improve food security and crop production within the arid regions of Kenya.

Drought resistant crops like cassava root, millet, sorghum, and green grams are a key to helping African families become food secure.
A hungry lion in the arid hillside of LuKenya

Please pray for Africa.

We pray for rain to restore the land, to feed the wildlife, the feilds, the livestock and the people of this region.

We pray for leaders and pastors who are trying to help their communities use more sustainable farming practices, in caring for the land and providing for their households and communities.

We pray for peace and reconciliation in war torn areas and countries like Somalia, that are doubly crippled by conflict and famine. May God raise up brave leaders who will demonstrate the wisdom and humility needed for justice and peace.

To learn more about the current famine in the Eastern Africa
and CBM's response to this crisis:

Weekend Getaway!

Walking along the shores of the Indian Ocean
in front of the Bahari Beach Hotel, Mombasa

This past weekend, we enjoyed three nights away from Nairobi with our kids at the Bahari Beach Hotel, a small German resort on the coast of Kenya. With only a few weeks left in our kid's summer vacation, we were glad to get away and enjoy some fun in the sun.

Riding Tuk Tuks in Mombasa, Kenya

Along with riding Matatus, the local mini buses, we enjoy taking tuk tuks when getting around Mombasa. A tuk tuk is a little three-wheeled taxi motor bike. Given the way that people drive in Kenya, this style of public transport is a thrill!

Making castles in the sand at Nyali Beach, Mombasa

The high winds of this time of year can churn up the ocean, but our kids still had a great time digging in the sand and swimming in the hotel pool. It is wonderful to see how well Tristan, Emma and Ava look after each other. This was Ava's first time really swimming in the pool. She left her floaties behind and bravely swam with the big kids. We had lots of pool competitions and games, Emma still reigns as our family speed boat in the water!

Beach Babies!!!

Guardians of Hope, New Life

Over 18 million children in the world have been orphaned by HIV and AIDS. While in many instances aging grandparents are left to care for grandchildren, all to often children must look after themselves, and often younger siblings.

Canadian Baptist Ministries partners with churches to care for people living with HIV and their families through our Guardians of Hope program, coming alongside the most vulnerable in Rwanda, Kenya, and India. Children receive food, school fees and uniforms, benefit from increased household income, and find emotional support in knowing they aren’t alone.
Guards of Hope New Lifer
Africa Brotherhood Church, Kenya

Mercy Mwikali (next to Emma in the centre of the photo), is the project officer for the twelve Guardians of Hope projects within the Africa Brotherhood Church, Kenya. The ABC's Guardians groups stretch from Nairobi throughout the Eastern and Coast Provinces of Kenya. The church is living out the Gospel through strengthening the vulnerable within their communities. Along with help with school fees, access to medical services and basic assistance, groups receive training and support in areas of group administration and governance, caregiving, health, food security, and micro enterprise development.

Ava learning how the Guardians make beautiful decorations with screen printing. This one of many income generating activities being done by the New Life group.

During the meeting, we helped Mercy Mwakali distribute school uniforms to orphans and vulnerable children being cared for by the Guardians of Hope members within the New Life group.

Emma and Ava helping to present new school uniforms to AIDS orphans being cared for Guardians of Hope in Machakos.

Emma with a Guardian of Hope Member

Click here to learn more about the Guardians of Hope

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Noor Designs

Noor Creations

On Monday, the CBC documentary crew and Amanda Lindhout joined us again with the Noor Creations Self Help jewelry project. The Noor ladies are excited to be partnering with Amanda's Global Enrichment Foundation which is looking at selling their bracelets in Canada.

Erica and Amanda working with
the Noor girls on bracelet designs

Zahra and Tunis sorting unfinished beads

Erica working on designs with the ladies

Hawa finishing Solidarity Necklaces

Some of the Noor bracelets

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Snap shots from Iftin

Snap shots from the
Iftin Women's Empowerment Project

Erica walking with a little girl in Mathare Valley Slum

Erica with photo journalist Gabriel Craven

Over the past few days, we've been blessed to have Gabriel visiting with the Iftin ladies. Along with taking photographs, he has been hearing their stories of courage, perseverance, and faith. We hope you enjoy seeing many of the faces of Iftin through his eye.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Telling Their Story

Dan Klinck, Aaron & Erica, Amanda Lindhout, Louis DeGuise, and Curt Petrovich (Gabriel Craven behind the camera)

Over the past two days, we have had the pleasure of hosting Amanda Lindhout and reporters from CBC television's The National, as they connect with the Somali refugee women of Iftin and learn more about their stories and experiences.

In 2008, Amanda was kidnapped just outside the Somali capital of Mogadishu and held hostage for fifteen months. During her captivity, she vowed that if she survived that she would dedicate her life to helping Somali women. Four months after her release, she founded the Global Enrichment Foundation and established the Somali Women's Scholarship Program.

Through the internet, Amanda and her team learned about the Iftin Women's Empowerment Project and became interested in how the project is impacting refugee women living within the Muslim ghetto of Eastleigh, Nairobi. We were thrilled to hear that they were interested in partnering with the Noor Creations ceramic bead self help project that Erica established with the Eastleigh Community Centre two years ago. This afternoon, they will be working with the women to develop a bracelet that should be available in Canada later this year.

Curt and Louis are travelling with Amanda to film a documentary on her return to Africa and the work of her foundation. We had a great time yesterday meeting with ladies from each of the projects and joining the group on a walk of Eastleigh and Mathare Valley. We were also joined by Gabriel, a free lance photo journalist. During the walk, we attracted a throng of young children. Several little ones that could not have been much older than two, grabbing our hands and walking barefoot through the slum.

To learn more about the Global Enrichment Foundation, you can check out their website below:

Three Years Old

Happy Anniversary Iftin!
This past Friday, we celebrated our third anniversary of the Iftin Women's Empowerment Project which officially started on July 7, 2008. We were thrilled to see so many new refugee women enter the project this spring. For many of the ladies, this was their first anniversary celebration.

The Iftin project continues to grow as it responds to the rising number of Somali refugee families entering Eastleigh. Please continue to pray for our leadership team at the community centre and for Laura, Nelius, Farhiya and Patrick as they continue to lead the day to day work of the projects.

In the next week, the Eastleigh Community will enter the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. This can be a tense time as the women have additional responsibilities at home. 

Erica and Laura lighting the Anniversary Candles

Laura, Farhiya, Daniel and Nelius
Cutting the IFTIN Anniversary Cake

Ava and a new friend from Eastleigh

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Drought in the Horn of Africa


A malnourished Somali child in hospital at the Dadaab refugee camp on July 11, 2011. Thousands of Somalis are fleeing the war and drought in their country.

Over the past weeks, reports in Kenya about the dramatic rise in Somali refugees entering the country have been all over the local media. Drought has been a cyclical phenomena in East Africa for centuries, but the political instability of countries like Somali seems to dramatically increase the impact of drought upon the lives of the most vulnerable. Below is a brief article from our local newspaper, the Nation, sent to us by our colleague Yattani Gollo. Please keep the people of Somalia in your prayers, and for wisdom as churches, organizations and government work together to serve people in crisis.


the Kennys


The UN calls on Kenya to open a new refugee camp

The head of the UN refugee agency Antonio Guterres was taken aback by the pathetic state of affairs at the camp, one of the word’s largest, when he visited at the weekend. “I have visited refugee camps around the world, but I must admit I have never seen people living under such conditions,” he said. According to UNHCR, the camp initially set up to cater for only 90,000 refugees, has now exceeded the number by nearly five times.

‘Poorest of the poor’

Mr Guterres described the refugees flocking to Daadab as “the poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable of the vulnerable.” The UN refugee agency is still pressing the Kenyan government to accept the completion of IFO II camp to admit another group of at least 35,000 people. The other camps are Dagahaley, Ifo and Hagadera. The situation has been worsened by the current drought in the Horn of Africa region, which is estimated to have affected at least 10 million people across Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia. International aid firm Oxfam expressed support for the UNHCR appeal, saying that opening up of Ifo II would enable relief agencies to reach the refugees. “It is tragic that vulnerable families are trapped in limbo, forced to endure appalling conditions while there are fully functioning services right next door. Their basic needs are being ignored,” said Joost van de Lest, head of Oxfam in Kenya.

The number of refugees at the camp continues to increase every day even as it emerges that it is not just the war in Somalia that is pushing them into Kenya — many are escaping the hunger and famine back home. They arrive in droves, with most of the women and children too weak to walk or even stand. At the camp’s hospital are malnourished children with spindly limbs, wrinkled skin and pale eyes on beds beside their sad mothers. Ms Isha Abdulrahman from Jubaland and a mother of twin boys is at the hospital. One of the boys is clinging to her breasts as she cuddles the other in her arms — the one who is recovering from near-starvation. Ms Abdulrahman said she travelled from Saqu in the middle of Jubaland in Somalia where she had been a farmer. “A harsh drought wiped away all our crops,” she told the Nation through a translator. She arrived here three weeks ago. By the time she arrived here, the weaker of her twins was almost succumbing to hunger.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Unexpected Fun!

It is pretty safe to say ice skating was not a part of the expectations that Brianna had for her short term missions trip to Africa. In fact, we'd bet that they are the first CBM volunteers to go ice skating as part of an African STM trip in the history of Canadian Baptist Ministries. Way to be the first!!!!! This afternoon, the girls joined our family for some of our kid's summer vacation fun as we returned to the Panari Sky Hotel's "Solar Ice Rink" to have a second ice skating lesson (The first was on Canada Day).

It was a lot of fun, and we had far less crashes and spills than our first time out. In fact, Tristan and Emma no longer needed the support of the penguins and steel support bars. They are all becoming much more confident on skates!

Tristan did have a few tumbles,
but he was keeping up with the adults!

Tristan and Daddy

Our friend Vance helping Ava find her balance

Emma, Mommy and TK on the ice!

This past weekend, we also celebrated our 13th Wedding Anniversary. We appreciated having a night away at the Sankara Hotel in Westlands as Brianna watched our kids.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Noor Creations

Ayan, Hawa & Fatuma in the Noor Creations Workshop

It has been such a blessing to see the Noor Creations ceramic bead self help project grow over the past two years. Through hard work and dedication, the Somali refugee ladies of Noor are not only providing for the needs of their families, but are examples to other refugee women entering the Iftin Women's Empowerment program.

Tunis & Fardosa

Beautiful beads

Aisha and Aisha working on beads

Please continue to uphold Noor in your prayers as these women
work to provide a sustainable income for their families.