News

We do love Kenya!

I really love Kenya. Driving home from the family home today, two young boys came running up to the car. Hussein and Brian had attended Stepping Stones for a couple of weeks unti we discovered they were not street children at all and were supposed to be at school!
They jumped into the car for a ride to the end of the road, closely followed by a young girl. Before we knew, there were around a dozen kids all trying to get in the car for a ride! Then as we drove to the end of the road, they shouted through the windows to all their friends, showing off that they were in a car! They were so thrilled, we just had to smile!

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A Place to Reflect.

We have found the perfect place to sit, to pray and to plan. So this was our office this morning – just a 15 minute drive away. Yes, we have to take our own coffee (or coke!) but it is the best setting in the world to just chill out and plan the next steps for Gap Kenya.

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Victor’s Story

Gap Kenya will always try to repatriate street children back to their parents where possible. Victor has been attending Stepping Stones for some time now. He says he is 10 years old and whilst we were registering him, he gave some clues about his life before he came to the streets. We decided to try and trace his mum so we visited a town called Bokole. We took Timothy and a man called Ali who knew the area well with us. It was decided that it would be better if Paul and I didn’t wander around the town, so we sat outside a shop and drank a coke whilst Tim and Ali set off to see what they could find. We became quite an attraction – Bokole obviously doesn’t see many white people!! And Bokole is a very poor town where people struggle to survive. But we found Victor’s family – his mum and two sisters! Bokole is in the bush and we drove down what can only be described as footpaths or through piles of refuse to reach their home. Victors story: Victor is really called Henry and is 9 years old, He has been on the streets since the age of 6. He is originally from Tanzania, but his parents split up and his father left. As his father no longer paid the rent on their home, they were evicted, and his mother made her way to Mombasa with her children. Homeless and hungry, they were found by the pastor of a church in Bokole who found them a place to stay but was unable to provide food for the family. Victor was sent to stay with his father who had remarried and also moved to Mombasa, but Victor says he was disrespectful to the stepmother so he was beaten and thrown out of the house. Having nowhere to go, he went to the streets – he was 6 years old!! The mother and the pastor have looked for Victor – the pastor saw him once in the town, but when Victor saw him he ran away. Victors family still have days when they have no food to eat. His mum. Judy, tries to find work cleaning or doing washing for people, but her life is very hard. We had a meeting with Judy, the pastor and elders of the community to discuss whether Victor returning home to them would be possible. They believe that Victor will not stay with his mum due to the lack of food and have asked that we try to help him. Judy seems to be a lovely lady who is struggling to provide for the two children she has. Her youngest child is 2 years old and has obviously been born since Victor left her care although she has not remarried. We have since spoken to Victor and offered him a place in our family home. Victor however does not wish to do this. Neither does he want to go back to his mum. He likes living on the streets. It is so difficult for children who are on the streets from a young age to see that their futures are pretty bleak as they get older – times are hard for them now………they are sodomised by older boys and men during the night, food is hard to come by and they are beaten by the police. Yet they have total freedom and find some excitement in being with the older boys, stealing, mugging and generally doing whatever they like. We are continuing to work with Victor as he attends Stepping Stones to try and help him to see a different future. Please pray for him, and us as we do this. There are so many Victors out there and I pray that we will learn so much from him as to the best way to reach children like him and show them a better life.
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Please meet Brian Carter!

3rd March, 2015

Please meet 13 year old Brian Carter (14 in 3 weeks time!) who is the latest member of our family home.
Brian has been attending Stepping Stones for a while now and we had come to notice he was a little ‘different’ from the street boys – polite, well mannered and he took better care of himself. He didn’t really mix with the other boys although he was friends with many of them.
Brians Story?
Brian, an only child lived hundreds of miles away with his mother, a teacher who worked in a school with deaf children, and his grandmother. He attended school and had a good life.He had never met his father.
When Brian was 8 years his mother contracted meningitis and died. Brian met his father for the first time at his mother’s burial. His father said he would support Brian and send money to the grandmother. This he did until 2011 when it suddenly stopped. Brian does not know why. He had finished primary by this time and was attending High School. However, in the third term of his first year there, he was sent away as his fees were no longer being paid.
His grandmother tried to make money by growing maize and vegetables to sell, but she was old and it was a big struggle. So at the age of 12, Brian found work on a farm. The work was backbreaking and he earned very little money. He spoke to his grandmother and they agreed he should go to Nairobi to find work as the prospects might be better.
Arriving in Nairobi, Brian found the prospects to be much worse and ended up living on the streets with no money to return to his village. He stayed in Nairobi for 9 months, but the police there are brutal and beat the street children very severely on a regular basis. So Brian ran from Nairobi and made his way to Mombasa where he has been living on Makadara street in the centre of town.
On Tuesday, we told Brian we would like to take his into our home and send him to school. We have found a day school who have said they will take Brian for half the normal fees so hopefully next week he will be back at school.
Brian’s dream was to become a lawyer and his mum was encouraging him in this. His dream now is to become a lawyer and know his mum would be very, very proud of him!
We are hoping in the future to contact the grandmother and let her know her grandson is safe and well.
Please message us if you would like to help Brian in some way!

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Robbed at Gunpoint.

3rd March, 2015

So about an hour ago, Paul and I were held up at gunpoint. The two men both had guns. As we drove into the compound to the house, they grabbed the watchman and held a gun to his head. As we started to get out of the car, they pointed their guns at each of us as they took our phones and my bag. They searched the car and then left.
Bad points: they took our driving licences and alien ID cards; my purse containing our Kenyan debit cards, although only had about £50 in cash in it;
Good points: We were not hurt although Boscoe the watchman is badly shaken up; I would normally have had my iPad in my bag, but had left it in the house tonight cos we were in a rush leaving! I was not wearing any jewellery because we were in a rush leaving! They had just robbed another house and were in a hurry, so didn’t demand we unlock the house so they could steal anything else, something they had done previously. They stole Paul’s little black bag and thought they had gotten something really good – they will wonder what they have when they open it and find his colostomy bags!!

Paul and I are genuinely okay……..I am just really cross!! Hate that they have my phone!! Unable to track it as it is not connected to the internet – they will know that it can’t be tracked unless it is so will make sure it isn’t until they disable something. If anyone knows how to track a Galaxy S5 without the internet please let me know!

Police not interested of course…….this is not a big thing in Kenya!

Ah well, another experience I suppose – never been held up at gunpoint before. Hopefully, never will again! And it could be worse…….at least they weren’t terrorists out to kidnap us!

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Oh no Dennis!

27th February, 2015

Well, Dennis, our lovely, cheeky little chappie has returned to the streets. He says it’s because there isn’t a big television in the house! I can’t say he has run away because he told us that he was going to leave and of course we are unable to stop him. We can only talk to him about the benefits of a home life, but as I said in my previous post, we didn’t really think Dennis was ready for that. Anyway, he is continuing to attend Stepping Stones so we will continue to work with him and who knows…….one day he might just realise!!

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Visitors

The boys love when we have visitors to our centre and it was great to welcome Kim along with her four children, Anna, Melody, Hope and Geoffrey. If anyone would like to come visit us you would be most welcome!!

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