Sunday, May 6, 2012

Look at the height of that maize in the background!
 Greetings Friends,

It has indeed been a while since you last heard from us and you may be wondering whether we are already in Kenya or still in Zambia!   The reality is that we are still in Zambia and a lot has been happening since you last heard from us in February. Here is a little outline of what has been happening as the count down towards our transitioning to Kenya.  (By the way, you may have noticed the new name for our blog which is, "Habari...from the Kamaus."  In Kiswahili, which is one of the languages spoken in Kenya, this means news or happenings from the Kamaus.)

March 2012

 We started off the first week of the month with a trip to Harare, Zimbabwe.  We traveled there to attend the Foundations for Farming three day conference; this is because at Hope Anew, we believe farming will be one of the key components to our ministry especially once we reach the second stage which will involve a farm in a rural setting to grow crops for sustenance and food security for the children at the school and the children’s home.   There were about 19 countries represented from all over the world, Mexico, Paraguay , India, U.S.A, Germany, Burundi etc.  Do not think that the conference was all about farming.  In fact, it felt and looked more like a missions conference! We had vibrant praise and worship, testimonies and excellent bible teaching!  Kimberly and myself and I believe many others, felt like it was a rallying call and commissioning to go out there and announce that the Kingdom of God has come and it is our duty as Christians to advance God’s Kingdom where there is darkness and hopelessness in every sphere of influence the Lord has placed us.
 After the morning devotions, we would participate in various breakout sessions/tracks depending on one’s interest. The different tracks were family, education, health, business, finance, and farming.  The questions we all tried to address is how it would look if the Kingdom of God was advanced in these areas, strategies that we could use, and what impact did we think would result in our communities!  The discussions were very lively, energized and inspiring!
After the conference, Mark Maisonville,  a friend of our family who had traveled from Michigan to attend the conference, and I traveled to Kenya to visit the slum where the children’s center will be built. Kimberly and I first met Mark when he and his family visited Villages of Hope for two months in 2009. Mark is an excellent builder and his wife Maureen is a teacher, their son Kris is an artist and they have been praying about joining our effort to rescue and bring hope to the children in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya.
We arrived in Nairobi on March 16th and were together for 10 days; while there, we took measurements of my brother’s shacks.   We had initially hoped that we could build the children center there, but we found it to be too small and congested for the buildings that we will need to put up and it didn’t help that it is right next to a tavern.   Surely, that doesn’t sound like a conducive environment to bring children for bible clubs/tutoring and recreational activities!
Mark on the right speaking with my friend Emmanuel

We did however find out that there several people willing to sell their shacks in other areas which are a tiny bit better and somewhat less congested and these are the options we are presently exploring.  Mark was invaluable!  Due to his building experience, we were able to take measurements of one location which enabled us to approximate how much land will would be needed; we also visited hardware stores as well to check out the cost of the building materials.  Mark will now calculate the numbers and help figure out how much it will cost to the build the children’s center. 
Children eagerly greeting us at one of the slums that we visited

We also took the opportunity to travel to the countryside about two hours away from Nairobi, I had previously visited this area in January and had learnt that there was a piece of  land available for sale, we found the land was still available and even met the father of son who is selling it.  It is 25 acres of land situated on a beautiful land near a river flowing from the nearby hills.  I couldn’t help envisioning what a wonderful place it would be for a school/children’s home and farm.

April 2012

Kimani and Kamale hard at work sorting and packing
I returned to Zambia from Kenya on April 5th.  Kimberly, Kimani, Malaika, my nephew and Dick were on hand to pick me up from the train station for the two hour drive to Villages of Hope.   It was about 9pm at night and we were happily chatting along as we drove when we unexpectedly came upon this huge pot hole in our lane.   I slowed down to negotiate it when, suddenly, a car right behind us rear ended our vehicle.  Fortunately, nobody was hurt but both vehicles were damaged. Since then, I can’t remember how many man hours I have wasted between the police station and the insurance company in an effort to get our vehicle repaired.  The driver who hit us was drunk and driving without proof of license or insurance.  When I pointed this out to the police officer and even asked that he take a sobriety test, the officer could care less and even let the man drive away in the car! 
I was wondering about this obvious display of a cavalier sort of attitude, when several days later, I met the wife of the driver who hit us.   It turned out SHE was a police officer! She showed up at the police station in her uniform and that’s when it dawned on me why none of the officers were particularly zealous in pursing the matter although the guy who hit us was clearly in the wrong!  Instead I was given the run around when I tried to get a police accident report to take to the insurance company, especially when they realized I was not a Zambian.    Nevertheless, like the persistent widow, they realized I was not just going to go away and finally, with God’s intervention, they gave me what I needed.   I am now waiting to hear from the insurance company as to when I can take our vehicle for repairs.

On the positive side of things, I found Kimberly and the kids had been busy sorting out and packing our household stuff which we will take with us to Kenya. It is a slow and tedious process which nonetheless which must be done. We are only able to take our books and instruction materials for the ministry and clothes.  When we arrive in Kenya, we’ll be starting all over again.

Prayer Request
·         Please pray that the insurance company will move forward in repairing the damage to our car.  Also, in regard to taking our car to Kenya, we have heard stories about import taxes that cost the same amount as the car itself, so understandably we are hesitant to try to take it so we thought selling it would be best.  We want to do what the Lord wants, however, so please pray that God will give us clear direction.

Grace & Peace

  The Kamaus

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