I want to tell you about Martin, one of the children who attends Open Arms Academy on scholarship. Recently, as the outreach team visited neighbors to complete wellness checks, Martin, along with his seven siblings, came running to greet the team with wide smiles and the classic African curtsy.
The oldest child is a young girl who is in her second year of high school. She informed us that her mother had gone out to find some work she could do for the day and had not come home yet.
The family lives in a small mud thatched house that they have creatively divided using a floor mat to create more rooms. The eight siblings, along with their mother, stay in this small rented house that has no running water, no electricity and no bathroom.
The children showed no sign of sadness on their faces. Actually, they were quite happy because they had just moved to this new house a few months ago.
”This house is much better than the other one we lived in”, she said. “It’s a little larger and there are no holes in the walls that we have to block using pieces of cloth.”
While she talked to us about her family, she was asked about what they were going to eat for supper. It was at this moment that her eyes became teary and her voice broke ever so slightly as she said that she did not know since her mother was not home yet. It was sobering to realize that of all the issues that they were facing, food insecurity was the most heartbreaking. Because the reality was that if her mother did not find any work for the day, she might come home without any food.
“I don’t know what we are going to eat tonight. I have to wait till my mother gets home. My favourite food is rice and beans. We only have meat once a year on Christmas Day.”
Martin’s family is among the over 100 families who received food during the food drives that Open Arms has sponsored in the past two years. In August, the Kenyan government announced that over two million Kenyans will likely succumb to extreme food insecurity and starvation if they do not get food assistance.
Martin, along with other sponsored children from the community, gets breakfast, lunch and snacks at the school and is often given food such as wheat flour, beans, maize, cooking oil, sugar, salt and rice for his family. The food that is provided for these families does not just sustain their bodies, it is a gift of hope.
I'm so grateful that you care about children like Martin. You have given him hope!
God bless you,
Executive Director, Open Arms International US