Monday and Tuesday afternoons were spent at Street Hope. This is an organization started by the church and run by Pastor Moses, his wife Ruth, and Susan, who is the wife of Pastor Peter. This group has about 25 women and men that have decided to leave the sex trade and desire to start a business or become an artisan. Street Hope helps the business owners develop a plan, and grants them the start-up money they need. It also helps provide food until the business fully takes off. The artisan group are paid a living wage for their work. That is roughly $40 every two weeks.
Ruth is demonstrating how to make paper beads. These beads are then turned into bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry. The artisans have two sewing machines now and are learning to sew.
Here is a table full of finished beads...
Street Hope recently acquired a building where the women can work. It is a lovely space. It is a house with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living and dining room. The property is fenced with a concrete fence for protection, as most homes in Kenya are. Our team did some work at the house and bought some supplies as well.
Beautiful and Powerful scriptures were placed on many of the walls. Reminding the artisans that they are women of God and God has not forgotten about them.
Outside view of the house.
Monday night, we went to Moses and Ruth's home for dinner. It was a wonderful time and the food was delicious! They presented each of us with a gift.
Tuesday afternoon, I was feeling better, so the group came to get me when they finished at the Ark. We heard the story of Pamela, pictured here. She told us how she used to live and how she has given her life to God and wants to make a change. One thing interesting about her story was that she told us how she still struggles sometimes with running out of food. I spoke with Pastor Peter later about that and asked if they helped provide her with food or what did they do? He said sometime they offer food, but not always. They need to be careful to not create a dependency. He says they then work harder the next few weeks on teaching budgeting, how to spend the money wisely for groceries, etc...
Poverty isn't always just about not having money. Sometimes it is not having the right skills to manage the money you do have.
Another story was about the business owners. I have noticed how Kenyans are very hard working people, but some still struggle to get ahead in life. I asked how the businesses were doing and the staff mentioned some challenges they were facing with the owners. It isn't that the owners aren't working hard, but the mindset is all about today. They have never had anything, so they don't plan for the future. So for example, a business owner opens their shop in the morning. They sell enough and make enough profit for the days meals/needs by lunch time, so they close. Repeating the process the next day. Street Hope is trying to help them break this cycle by teaching about savings, raining day funds, etc...
Again, it isn't just about money...a mindset change is needed to help them break the cycle of poverty.
Tuesday night, we went to Pastor's Gloria and Joshua's home for another meal. This time we were able to help prepare some of it. Here is Auntie and another team member learning how to roll out chapati. A delicious flat bread, sort of like pita or naan.
Here is part of the group that had gathered for dinner.
We ended up at the hotel rather late, and were thankful the next day was a slow day for us. We were able to sleep in and then we visited a coffee plantation. Read about that adventure next week!