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A Home Where the Heart is

Posted: on July 22, 2013

Story by Paul Beck

A computer, a chicken coop and some colouring books… A collection of items that seemingly have nothing in common, except that they have all been donated and transported by MAF and MAF donors to assist Marsabit Children’s Home in northern Kenya.

Established two decades ago, this orphanage is a source of hope to children who face a bleak future. The sources of their destitution vary, including parents who can no longer afford to look after them and those who have been orphaned through the AIDS crisis affecting East Africa. The current population of 35 youngsters range from infants to teenagers and the home provides them with a safe environment and an opportunity to continue their studies in nearby schools. “Our hope is that those who stay with us will become self-supporting and self-sustaining adults, successfully rehabilitated into society,” explains Pastor John Arero, who leads a team of six that oversee the orphanage.

The pastor’s vision is a bold one; although his work has received local and national commendations, the orphanage’s source of income is by no means a certainty. Feeding 35 mouths remains an endless financial challenge, but so too does finding the money to pay the children’s school fees. In the latter case, Pastor Arero has met with head teachers and asked for extra time to secure the finances to keep the child’s place. “We don’t have funds or guarantees, but we trust in God, by faith,” he explains. Thus the reason for the new coop, which has been funded by MAF staff and the local community to provide the orphanage with a source of revenue. With everything almost in place, the arrival of the chickens is imminent and MAF will be on hand to transport this very special cargo delivery too. The orphans meanwhile are looking forward to having pet chickens just as much as having eggs to eat!

Another source of financial support for the orphanage comes from those who have stayed there as children and are now sending financial gifts from their own salaries. Pastor Arero is especially encouraged to see those he has loved and nurtured now returning the assistance. Nobody else demonstrates this better than Gabriel Galgallo, a lanky 24 year-old who came to Marsabit Children’s Home when he was ten. Gabriel is also filling a key role in the orphans’ spiritual growth, leading a praise time with them every week. “My desire is to serve people,” he says, without hesitation or pause for thought.

home_where_the_heart_is1_250MAF is assisting Gabriel to achieve that goal. He is just a few months away from completing an extended course in Community Development and Project Management, which requires trips to Nairobi. MAF greatly subsidises the cost of the two-hour flights, support which is vital to keep Gabriel on track with his studies. “We greatly appreciate the noble work that MAF is doing in this area,” the young Kenyan declares, before gesturing to one of the dormitories on the orphanages grounds. “Many people will be saved through this home,” he adds. In addition to the low-cost flights, the computer, the coop and the colouring books, that is testimony to the greatest gift MAF has shared with Marsabit Children’s Home – the love of Christ.

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