Friday, January 28, 2011

Kamangu: Reaching A Community Thru Mommies And Babies, Kenya Day 2

One thing I love about being with Compassion - each day brings a new joy.

Today we spent the day about an hour west of Nairobi in Renguti at the Kamangu Child Survival Center. (Child Survival Program or CSP is for pregnant moms or moms with children under 3 - they are sponsored as a community, not individually like in Child Sponsorship.)

Sorry - video won't load - connection is too slow.

We were greeted today in the same Kenyan Karobi (welcoming) fashion - with song and dance. But this time, with the little ones strapped to their backs.
We were given the blessed opportunity to hear testimony from the women. The first mother who spoke told us that the first "tool" she was given was the Bible. Before CSP, she could not even read, now she is able to teach the other mothers from the Bible. She learned cleaning and how to give a balanced diet. She learned the importance of playtime for her child and how to make toys out of household items. This made her proud. She learned social skills and how to choose her friends wisely. Friends that have positive influence on her life. She learned about family planning so her young child could get proper attention before having another. She was able to have a chicken when before, she could not afford even an egg. The chicken makes eggs for the family to eat, and they sell the others for income. This also made her proud.

After she spoke, the CSP director spoke on her behalf, and said that before she got involved in the project, this mother was very shy, and now she has grown into a leader who is able to teach the other women.

Something that was mentioned about CSP is how it doesn't just affect the families involved. It affects the whole community. When the women are cleaning their homes, or gardening, or making toys for their children, the other women see this and they copy the behavior.

Then a father from CSP spoke. Men - listen up here. This father was very transparent with us. Through meeting with the other CSP fathers once a month, he has learned how to be a good father and how to support his wife. He has learned what it means to be a leader and the head of his household. He cares about the well balanced diet of his family. And he takes pride in providing a home for them.

I can't tell you how adorable these kids are. They are strapped to mommy's back in what dad called a "baby bag," but it's simply a beautiful price of dyed cloth tied around the mom's shoulder. And they're all wearing long sleeves and a ski hat. It's a cultural thing. Keep the babies warm. The CSP director told me this was an issue when they first came. The babies were sweating and it was hard to gain weight. So they apparently aren't as bad as it used to be!!

At the CSP we saw where the babies go to play!! It was so much more than I could have imagined! We watched a couple small children (under 3) use pencils to draw cups and suns and their numbers! At 2 years old!!! In KENYA!!

And we watched another little boy play....and he watched us watch him.

Here is a homemade toy that frankly, is pretty dang impressive!

Later in the day we went on a home visit. We visited Grace and her 2 1/2 year old daughter Alice. Their humble home is about 10x7 feet. Tin roof. Several chairs. One small end table. And a coffee table that serves as a kitchen table. Grace showed us how she prepares and cooks a balanced meal for little Alice. She washed her hands and told us she didn't know before that this was important. Then she prepared the onions, the spinach, and got an egg from her chicken coop. (The sheep outside looking on suspiciously.) She took us out to an open walled tin roof area that served as the kitchen where she fired up her coals and put in her ingredients. The egg gets mixed in so the little one is sure to get the protein. Sometimes they only like the vegetables and then won't eat an egg by itself. Little Alice waited at the door.

She said she is careful to not over cook the spinach so it doesn't lose it's vitamins. (Take note America!!) After it was all done - it smelled fabulous - and she put it in a bowl with some cooked cornmeal for Alice to enjoy.

Little Alice put her hands in the bowl and whimpered as Grace ran back to her.

Too hot.

So little Alice ate her lunch. And I watched in silence. Without yet having children, I can only imagine the joy it gives a mother such as Grace to watch her baby eat.

We prayed for Grace and Alice before we left. And I was amazed at our awesome God as we thanked him for "saving Grace." How wonderful to have a name with such an impacting message of God's love for us.

Sponsors, you're making a difference. Whether you see it or not.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (in the usual Broadway song and dance style)


  1. Wow! Incredible how we take so much for grantedin our great country! Tears again, don't tell. God bless you both! Patrick

  2. I would love to be there seeing this!! Alice is adorable!! What a blessing that CSP is. Someday I would love to be a part of it...teaching these young mothers and their children. It's my dream. :o)
    Thank you so much for sharing with us this blog. I love getting to read and see all the pictures. I can't wait to hear all the stories when you get back.

  3. Amazing what I almost think as instinctive(cleaning,playing,using household items for toys), in reality, had to be learned! I am grateful for my family and parents. What a legacy for the future of the Kenyan family.
    Thanks for sharing in such a creative way!
    Jen Gould