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Entries in orphanage (11)

Monday
Jan282013

Our Surprise Father Figure

 

Sometimes the greatest part of my job is watching the Lord orchestrate the people He puts in our path to hire.  This past fall as we were frantically trying to get the Arise Home open and kids moved in we were looking to hire house moms, housekeepers, and a gardener.  I was getting updates in the USA about the search and quite honestly the gardener was a person who I didn't think much about.  I knew we needed someone who could take care of our yard and grow vegetables for the kids to eat.  I was told that we had hired a guy by the name of Jeff and he didn't speak GREAT English but he would catch on.

When I arrived in December to Zambia I met Jeff.  I was a bit taken aback at Jeff's physical appearence.  He is about 6 feet 4 inches tall, and this is VERY TALL in Zambia.  Most men are about 5 feet 8 inches tall so Jeff really stands out! (no pun intended)  He is an older man for Zambia standards and I was impressed at his work ethic. 

Jeff has a few kids and two grandchildren that he is very proud of.  He moved to the compound close to our home and lives in a tiny one room place with no running water or electricity.  He never had a bank account until we helped him open one.  He didn't even have a registry card, which is like our social security card.  Jeff can't count or tell you his ABC's but he works tirelessly everyday in our yard and garden.  He is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen.  He runs across our huge yard when someone honks at the gate and it needs to be opened.  He lifts huge bags of cement when building things.  He checks the irrigation lines in the garden and weeds constantly.  He plants all the grass in the yard and levels out the driveway.  He cuts our grass with machete, not a lawn mower.  When I mentioned to Jeff I would buy him a lawn mower a huge grin came across his face. He has been a gardener his entire life and has never used one. 

What I am most impressed is the influence and impact Jeff has on our kids.  He is calm with them and let's them learn in the garden.  He helps them plant seeds and teaches them how to pull weeds and get the roots out.  When we tell all 8 kids to go in the yard and help Jeff, he is out there helping each child learn what to do.  If you told me I had to take all 8 of our kids and help them work in the yard I would run away.  He works with the boys on cutting the grass with the machete.  (this scares me!).  He teaches them how to water the plants and take care of the garden.  He is gentle with our kids and has become a father figure to them.

After some days of convincing, Jeff now eats lunch and dinner with the kids when they are home.  After learning he doesn't have running water at his home we offered for him to shower in the boys bathroom.  He was so thankful and brings his own soap to not use ours.  He helps us take the boys into the compound to get haircuts and takes them to get cokes afterwards.  He even comes to our home every Sunday morning and helps us take the kids to church.  He likes going to church with them.  That is Jeff's day off.  Jeff is willing to stop work and go meet the kids walking home from school if our house moms are caught up with something.  It is funny to see this very tall man walking with our 8 kids through our community and even funnier to see him carrying all the girl's pink backpacks.  And one night we had an emergency and Jeff and another staff member of ours took the night shift and got dinner made and ready and got the kids in bed. 

Before working for us Jeff had never had clothes that fit him.  It is hard to find clothes that fit a man of his size in Africa.  Luckily on this past mission trip we had some tall guys who graciously left their clothes for him.  Jeff proudly now wears t-shirts and shorts that actually fit him.  He told me he didn't know that clothes were made to fit a guy of his size!  There is no "Big and Tall" store in Africa!  For the first time ever, Jeff has tennis shoes that fit, size 13 and all.  I found a pair of mud boots in town that were size 13 as well.  When I purchased them and brought them back to Jeff he told me he never had boots for the rainy season because the bigger sizes were more expensive. 

Sometimes we know who will have an impact on our kids in the Arise Home.  Jeff is loving on and teaching our kids to be good kids.  I see him talking to the boys and helping them get through conflict without fighting.  He is a father figure that the Lord has blessed us to have in our family with our kids.

- Alissa

 

 

Thursday
Jan032013

Trip Update--First day in Zambia!

An update from our mission trippers who are here on the Kershaw's Challenge mission trip:

I know we are a day late on posting this blog, but we are just now getting internet here… there is lots to tell you all about, so here we go!

Yesterday was a day we will remember for the rest of our lives. It was filled with an overwhelming amount of joy, praise, hope, and lots of love.

Let us start from the beginning…

After 2 long plane flights with not much sleep, and a layover in London that allowed us to do a bike tour throughout the city, we touched down in Lusaka at 6:30am. Our team of 23 people stood on the runway, and watched the sunrise over Zambia before entering the airport & going through customs. Having our closest friends & family here with us truly made this place feel like home. Anticipation filled our hearts as we waited in the customs line—our team looking like a bunch of ragged travelers who had no sleep or showers in days. For those who were making their first trip to Africa, there was probably a bit of anxiousness for what they would see when they stepped outside the airport onto Zambian soil. For those of us who have been here before, there’s no other way to explain the feeling we had except for the verse in Psalm 23, “my cup runneth over.” When you feel the calling of the Lord so present in your life—like you are living out exactly what He made you to do—there is an overwhelming sense of peace and joy.

We had packed 38 bags of donation items, so attempting to track them down was an experience, to say the least. It’s actually a miracle that only 5 of our bags got lost along the way. Anna is the trooper of the group. 4 out of the 5 bags lost were donation bags, but the last one was her personal bag with all her clothes. As we say here all the time: T.I.A. (this is Africa). Going with the flow is crucial here.

The Arise Africa staff was there to greet us with “Muli Bwangi’s” and hugs. The greatest surprise was seeing Peter, Brian, Armond & Andrew, the 4 boys who now live at the orphanage, waiting to help us with our bags & welcome us to Zambia! They were shy at first, but quickly warmed up with hugs & smiles!

We made our way to our lodge to unload, shower & take quick naps. Clayton & I could hardly rest our eyes, as we knew what we would be doing next—visiting the orphanage for the first time.

We loaded into a big blue bus and Alissa, director of Arise Africa, gave us a tour through the nearby village. She wanted to show us the type of environment where the kids who now live in the orphanage came from. I pray I am never calloused to the poverty I see here, but it helps to see it through the eyes of those seeing it for the first time. Our bus was silent as we drove through the slums of Lusaka. Children are running around everywhere. Children with babies slung on their back, all walking around barefoot, and squealing when they saw a bus full of “muzungus” (white people). We drove through the market place where we saw everything from chickens & coal, to old shoes & car parts being sold. Amazing to think that only 2 weeks ago, the children who now live in Hope’s Home, lived ther, on the streets, fending for themselves. 

After an eye opening experience of driving through the compound, we were finally driving down the road to the orphange. My heart was beating out of my chest as I saw the red roof of the house—a place that only a year ago was a plot of land we stood on & prayed over.

As we pulled through the gate, we heard children laughing and singing, all waiving to us and banging on the side of the buses. From my seat, I saw Alliness’ smile that is larger than Lusaka. We saw the 4 boys who graciously welcomed us at the airport, and we saw Dorothy & Nelly hugging each other, and giggling uncontrollably. I got off the bus, and out of nowhere, heard a squeal and saw Hope flying into my arms. Reunited at last! Our prayers were answered—here was our healthy Hope, living in a home built for children just like her—kids who need a chance at life and to be loved like every child should.

We warned our group about something before they traveled with us to Zambia…the first time you hug a Zambian orphan, your life will never be the same. All the sudden, this massive blanket of poverty, becomes very personal & tangible. We took turns hugging all 8 kids, and telling them how great is was to FINALLY meet them! For the next 5 hours, we got tours of the home. They showed us their beds—which were the first ones they had ever slept in. They showed us the garden that allows them to plant their own fruits & vegetables. We sat around the long wooden table they all sit around 3 times a day to bless their meal, give thanks, and eat as a family. The home is simple, and warm, and filled with children’s laughter and loving house moms. Lucy, Jennifer and Dialles are the 3 house mom’s who truly love the kids as their own. They pull them aside individually to give them the attention they need, and wrap their arms around them as any mother would.

There is so much more we could write about. We are overflowing with joy over what we have witnessed here in Zambia, at the orphanage. Please tune into this blog tomorrow, we will have more updates & pictures to share with you all. Everyone is doing great, and pouring out love for each child. Until tomorrow…

“Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for JOY and I will give THANKS to him in song.” Psalm 28:6-7


- This blog post was written by Ellen Kershaw from Zambia

Sunday
Nov182012

The Biggest Day for Arise Africa 

This past Thanksgiving Day was one of the biggest moment's for Arise Africa probably in our history. 

We were accepted to have 7 kids in our full custody and in our family FOREVER! They are moving into the orphanage in a matter of weeks!

On Thursday morning our social welfare worker and a judge went out to the compounds and met the 7 kids we have been working so hard to get in our home.  We were nervous for many reasons.  We didn't know if they would actually come or if they would accept all the kids we wanted.  We were worried about who might show up and claim these kids were their's when they weren't.  We didn't know if the judge would like us or not.  We weren't sure if Peter Mumba, the oldest of the 7 would make the cut because he might be considered too old. 

As I waited to hear the news in America I had to continue to tell myself that God has this.  We hadn't come this far and seen his provision through the entire process to get to this point and not believe.  At 3:12 AM on Thanksgiving morning my cell phone rang.  When it rings in the middle of the night that means it is someone from Africa.  I picked up the phone and was immediately heard someone saying "We got them all!"  Words cannot express the relief, excitement, and gratitude I felt at the moment.  We GOT THEM! 

These kids have been in our child sponsorship program for years and we have watched them suffer and struggle. They can now be taken care of correctly.  They are the worst off, with no love or care other than what we can provide at the schools.  They have slept on the school hallway floors, at the city dump, and in the streets.  They have eaten only one meal a day, which is the one we provide at achool.  We no longer have to worry about what happens to them when they walk out of the schoolyard everyday.   But NOW, they are going to a home and sleep on a mattress for the very first time.  They are going to go to a great school and never have to worry about where their next meal will come from.  They will always have soap and clothes to keep them warm.  They can learn to read because there will be books in the library for them to pick up anytime.  They can learn how to use a refrigerator and indoor plumbing.  They can be kids.  And they have a family, for the first time in their live.

Please take some time to meet the 7 newest members of our family:


 

                                 Alliness Zulu   

Alliness has lost both of her parents and she has been living with her aunt who is a widow and has 5 other children.  The aunt does not work and struggles.  Alliness is the last to be fed and usually not loved at home.  She was very quiet when we first met and her and has opened up as we have
worked with her in our child sponsorship program.  She is a shy child that needs a lot of love. 

Alliness is 10 years old and in the third grade. 

 

 

                       Dorothy Musonda

We have known Dorothy since 2010.  She has the most contagious smile you’ve ever seen.  Dorothy’s father died years ago and her mother has disowned
her.  The mother has remarried and they will not allow Dorothy to be in their new home.  The new husband wants nothing to do with Dorothy, and unfortunately this is rather common.  Dorothy has spent the past few years sleeping in neighbor’s
houses, and at the school. Arise Africa has taken care of Dorothy the best we have been able to.  She loves math and science and is a sweet child. She deserves a loving home where she never has to wonder where she will sleep tomorrow. 

Dorothy is 9 years old and in the third grade. 

 

 

                        Nelly Poudamaly  

Nelly has had a very hard childhood.  Her mother is mentally ill and stabbed her father to death.  The mother serves time in prison and sometimes is released when the government doesn’t have enough funds to pay the guards etc…  But she is picked up pretty quick when she commits another crime.  Nelly also struggles because she has epilepsy.  This child needs to be in a constant loving and caring home.  Due to her illness she needs to be watched carefully and given her medication to control the
seizures.  She has a fun, loving, and sometimes cute and mischievous personality.

Nelly is 8 years old and in the first grade.

 

 

                            Brian Banda 

We first met the Banda brothers in August of 2010 in our child sponsorship program.  They have no living parents but a grandmother that spends the
majority of her time in a remote village a few hours away.  They have lived by themselves, in the school hallways or at the city dump.  Brian has a major sense of responsibility to care for his younger brother, Armond.  This sometimes keeps him out of school as he goes to the streets to beg for food. Brian loves to read.  He wants to be a pilot when he grows up.  Brian and Armond have never slept in their very own beds or have had three meals a day.

Brian is 11 and in the 5th grade.

 

 

 

                            Armond Banda 

We first met Brian and Armond Banda in August of 2010 in our child sponsorship program.  The brothers have no living parents but a grandmother that spends the majority of her time in a remote village a few hours away.  They have lived by themselves, in the school hallways or at the city dump.  Armond loves school and likes to color.  Brian and Armond have never slept in their very own beds or have had three meals a day.

 

Armond is 9 and in the third grade.

 

 

                        Andrew Mumba 

We have worked with Andrew for 2 years.  Andrew is HIV positive and both of his parents are dead.  He was living in a home with his aunts and uncles and many children.  There was no food left for Andrew
after meals and he was close to death about a year ago.   We took him out of the home and sent him to an orphanage run by Catholic Nuns.  They helped him back to health by feeding him every hour or two for months, which enlarged his stomach.  After his time spent in the orphanage we moved Andrew to another school where he has been living with the headmaster and his wife temporarily.  Andrew is 14 years old and weights 56 pounds; he is in desperate need of a home where he can be well nourished and loved.  Andrew is extremely smart and loves school.  He loves to play soccer and is very shy.  He wants very badly to be treated just like any other child and go to a good school.

Andrew is 14 and in the seventh grade. 

                                                           (note:Andrew and Peter are cousins)

                        Peter Mumba

Peter is our oldest child that will be living in the home.  Peter lives in a home that has way too many people and the conditions are not healthy. A few people in the home died of cholera last year.  He sleeps on a dirt floor and comes to school very dirty.  He struggles during the rainy season because his feet are constantly wet and become infected. He works hard in school and is a great leader.  Every opportunity we give him he is very grateful for.  He takes care of his school uniforms and supplies and is very thankful for everything we do. Peter hopes to be a pastor one day.  We are so blessed to have Peter in the home with his cousin, Andrew.  We know Peter will be a great leader in our house.

Peter is 17 and in the seventh grade. 

 

We are now in the process of getting all of these kids sponsored and financially cared for.  Having children in your full custody is not cheap.  I sure that every parent can attest that KIDS ARE EXPENSIVE!  The cost per child is $450 per month. We are trying to keep costs down but there are some things that we cannot cut corners on.  One of these things is their education.  They will attend a very nice private school that is walking distance from the home.  Their school alone is $120 a month. It is one of the best in the city.  We also want to make sure that in the first year running this home that we have enough funds to care for them.  One of our concerns is medical expenses.  We need to make sure we are ready for anything.  There are some other things that we hope to be able to provide as well like counseling and extra tutoring for the subjects these kids are behind in.  The kids will need some adjusting and the places they are coming from are pretty tough and most have had pretty traumatic lives.  There are going to be some emotional things to work through.  We want to help them as much as possible and be equipped to love and care for them well.  Unfortunately this costs money!    

Here is a brief budget per child monthly:
 
School Fees - $120
Salaries - 2 house moms, gardener/guard, housekeeper - $115
Food - $80
non donated clothing (underwear, school uniforms) - $20
Utilities (gas,electric,water) - $50
Arise Africa admin fund - $25 (help with home repairs, insurance etc...)
Health Fund - $40

TOTAL: $450

HOW DOES SPONSORSHIP WORK?
We are praying that we can get groups of people to sponsor one child.  Every child on this list will have multiple sponsors and we ask you to consider helping sponsor any of them.  We are starting orphanage sponsorship at $50 a month.  You are more than welcome to pay more than $50.  When you sign up for sponsorship you will receive monthly reports from the home and bi monthly reports on your kiddo.   We also will make sure you can write you child multiple times a year and send photos and small packages and communicate through mail.   The kids will write back which is really fun.  And of course we would love for you to visit the home anytime in Zambia!

IF YOU ARE READY TO SPONSOR:
If you are ready to help us out you can sign up for a child you can make a credit card donation.

Here are your directions:

1.  Click here to give a credit card donation

2.  Fill in your contact information and gift amount for at least $50 or more.  Make sure you choose the monthly option for your donation.  This will automatically charge your credit card every month.  

4. In the Notes section please let us know which child you are sponsoring. (if you forget we will email and ask you!)

You are finished! Remember that all donations are tax deductible.  


If you sign up to sponsor a child we ask you to write a letter to them quick!  We will be taking them over for the kids to open and have on Christmas day!  Make sure to include a photo of you.


IF $50 A MONTH IS TOO MUCH:
    We would still love for you to be a part of this incredible home.  You can go online and make a donation just like we explain above and put it in the the Kershaw's challenge / orphanage fund.  You can do a monthly withdrawl from your credit card as well.  We will use these funds to be able to have special events and things for the kids.  Some of these fund might be used to take kids to a movie, or a sporting event, or even a restaurant.  The extra funds would be used for tutors or allowing the kids to do after school activities that cost money.  We would use these funds to buy educational games and other things for the orphanage library.  We also would love to be able to but individual christmas gifts for each child as well.  IF you donate monthly to this fund we will send you the monthly report on the home so that you are aware of how these funds are being used.  

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS:
Great!  We love to answer questions!  Please email alissa@ariseafrica.org or call at 210-602-1698.  We are more than happy to answer any question.

Monday
Nov052012

His Chase Foundation

About a year ago I was contacted by a guy, Mark Jacobs who said he was with His Chase Foundation. Mark and his wife, Chelsea started His Chase, after loosing one of their children, Chase, before he was born.  Take a look at this video to hear the story about Chase (but I am warning you this is a POWERFUL story):

 

The concept of His Chase is to help provide aid to ministries in Africa that are working with orphans.  his Chase works in multiple countries helping kids go to school and many other things.  It is remarkable what they are accomplishing. 

Mark volunteered to pay for ALL the furniture and most of the supplies for the orphanage!  this was a HUGE donation and partnership for us.  This past May His Chase donated $22,000 for all of the bunk beds, couches, tables, bar stools, bathroom cubbies, custom shelving, dressers, refrigerator/freezer, stove, study desks, coffee table, single beds, dining room tables, library tables, and for 25 chairs!

The blessing this has had has been amazing.  We were able to afford to hire great carpenters and welders in Zambia to do this work.  This donation not only enabled us to buy great furniture but gave many Zambians jobs and work to do. Our carpenter had to hire extra hands for such a large order. 

Having the money readily available to us was also a major blessing.  Sometimes it is hard to have to wait to have funds come in.  Having all the money ready for us helped us purchase things much earlier and we were able to buy in bulk which drove down the cost. 

Most importantly for me, is that I have new friends who share the passion of helping orphans.  It is fun to have friends to call and talk to and work together for the greater cause.  We loved working with His Chase and can't wait for what the future has for both of our ministries. 

THANK YOU TO ALL HIS CHASE SUPPORTERS AND DONORS!

In Him,

Alissa

Thursday
Oct112012

Help Our Brother Out!  VOTE!

As most of you probably know Clayton Kershaw has been nominated for the Roberto Clemente award this year. We are SO blessed to partner with Clayton and Ellen and they have done so much for Arise Africa and the orphanage. 

So let's vote for Clayton!