December 2011 Update
Local Faith Communities: The African Inland Church of Ngong Hills is Vapor’s primary church partner in the area. The local body is led by indigenous African pastors and is overseen by an indigenous denomination called African Inland Church.
Poverty Alleviation: As with Vapor’s other centers, we are fighting illiteracy and sowing into many of the slum’s poorest through Vapor’s child sponsorship program called Hasmin’s Friends. This year, we anticipate around 450 young people will be participating in our basic disease-awareness education and disease-prevention training. Through Vapor’s Gichagi humanitarian aid fund, we’ve been able to assist hundreds of desperate residents in gap assistance. From job provision and medical support, to gap feeding assistance and hygiene training, Vapor is alleviating poverty on a daily basis in Gichagi.
Anyone who would gaze upon this family of 13 children would attest that they are the poorest of the poor. A 10’ x 20’ tin shanty houses each of its members. What is seen leaves its visions to surface repeatedly in one’s mind—visions of a cold floor with kids sleeping shoulder to shoulder, visions of not enough food to provide nutrition for their bodies, and yet, one could not shake the vision that amidst their simplistic nature, a contagious smile illuminates their presence.
Lucy falls as the third youngest to 13 children and depicts the normalcy found in many families in Gichagi Slum. Each family member is responsible for the survival of his or her family’s livelihood. A child does not have the luxury of spending their day at a park or a playground, yet rather are faced with the heavy responsibility to rummage garbage for salvageable food, to carry water back and forth miles away, to prepare food, and to beg—if need be—for their daily bread. Their concept of storehouse is immediately in the present and one can learn tremendous truth of God’s manna from their daily testament.
Lucy’s sweet disposition is both refreshing and refining to anyone who meets her. When we first met Lucy, her little body was carrying two jugs of water up the Ngong hills. Red dirt filled every crevice of her attire, yet her smile could be embraced miles away. This little one captivated our hearts from day one with her hunger for love and acceptance. Like most Gichagi children seen during the day, a lack of school fees keeps them from the education awaiting them at school. Lucy was so eager to attend school, yet being one of the youngest of 13 pushed her opportunity aside.
Since Vapor has met Lucy, her days have significantly changed. Instead of carrying water and attending to her two younger brothers, she is sponsored through Hasmin’s Friends and is carrying her textbooks to attain her education. She can now have the opportunity to advance her future through intellect and many possibilities. Instead of scavenging for lunch food in the trash heap, she has a hot meal ready for her gathered around many of her friends at school. Lucy now has a team to call her own through the Vapor league, where she has a coach who also serves as spiritual mentor and encourages her in the faith. She has a safe place to channel life’s hardships and to find restoration through learning about God’s character and His love for her. Her playground is no longer the trash heap, but a soccer field/running track alongside other kids who can understand her plights and learn together about right and wrong as seen in God’s Word, and have an opportunity to grow stronger—physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Life is a vapor,