Running an orphanage has its challenges, especially in Africa! When Maria Githua established Christ Our Refuge Children’s Home, she faced some culinary nightmares.
For one thing, there was no running water. Fresh water had to be fetched from the river about 1 kilometre from the compound.
Wait! That’s 1 kilometre one way! You may be right that this would be a good exercise, but when you are feeding around 50 kids, this becomes a horrendous task!
The kitchen wasn’t any better. There was none! Maria had to turn old cow stalls into a cooking area. No luxury here! The roof was a piece of rusted corrugated metal held up by two wooden sticks. The stalls were used as cooking areas. Hopefully the manure didn’t influence the taste of the food too much!
This was, in fact, their second kitchen. The first one was just a piece of corrugated tin held up by two branches and one metal wall.
This all changed when a mission team from Canada flew to Nairobi with the sole purpose of building this orphanage a new kitchen. Although only one member of the team had any building expertise, they followed the orders of the local contractor according to local building specifications. The concrete was mixed by hand… or should I say by shovel… and it contained more rocks and sand than concrete. After mixing, the “concrete” was then poured in forms, which had been stuffed with leftover concrete bags to keep the concrete from leaking out. Water had to be poured continually on the walls so that when they dried they would be stronger.
To their dismay the building inspector announced that their mix was a joke! To everyone’s relief, the building passed the inspection… However instead of beginning to build the second floor as they had planned, they began to put on the roof! We are all relieved to hear that the kitchen is still standing, as of today. Of course, it is still only 30 days old… To resolve the water problem, the old, dry well was torn out. This was the job of my son, by the way. He soon earned the reputation of being the “sledge hammer king”! They then dug a hole for a cistern and poured a concrete floor. The idea was that during the next rainy season, the cistern would fill up with the water that drained off of the buildings, providing plenty of water for the orphanage during the next dry season.
In the end, the two weeks of non-professional work resulted in not only a cistern, but a large kitchen with dining room and storage area (albeit, without a second floor!) Their efforts, along with the love that they showed, impacted the orphanage in a way that will not be forgotten. At the same time, they were witnesses to those around them that our God is a God of love!
“Share with God’s people who are in need.” (Rom 12:13 NIV)
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:17-18 NIV)
“No, son, I really don’t need either a new kitchen or a cistern! I know you are an expert now, but why not wait until the next mission trip to use your newly-gained skills once again?”
“I can’t wait!”
Are you as eager to make a difference?
(To view the entire “Nairobi, Here I Come!” devotional series, please click here.)