Partners and Friends,
We wanted to send you a quick update on how things are progressing here in Kenya. We are doing well, trying to continue making the most of this season. We have found a good rhythm of homeschool, family life, and work and ministry.
The situation in Kenya is much the same. The new regulations are that face masks are required, and no one is allowed to travel into or out of Nairobi. We are allowed to move within Nairobi, but no more than 3 people in our car (no family outings), and limited travel is being encouraged. The cases are climbing slowly, and the government has put more regulations in place. The people that are suffering the most are those from the most vulnerable communities, due to loss of employment, immobility, and increased cost for goods. National Geographic recently published an article that accurately presented much of what we are seeing in Nairobi/Kenya through this crisis. If you are interested, you can find that article here: Nat Geo Article: Covid/Kenya
In response to the growing needs here, we have been conducting Covid-19 Relief Kit distributions over the last couple of weeks. These kits include food, handsoap, safety masks (made by our partner, Alice Wambui, and the ladies of Smile Star!), and information concerning how to be safe during this pandemic. We have currently distributed to 300 families in Nairobi, and 700 families from the communities we partner with in Tana River County (food goods, not complete kits).
Of course, we have aimed to approach the distributions with wisdom, striving to keep everyone (our partners, the recipients, and ourselves) safe. Our approach has been to deliver the goods to the pastors/leaders that we partner with within vulnerable communities around Nairobi. We meet each leader one on one to deliver the goods to a safe and secure site (usually church or school), wearing a mask and keeping safe social distance. Then each leader conducts the distribution one family at a time at this secure location. The benefits of this approach is that it places our partners at the center of the outreach, being the ones to bring hope within their communities. It also ensures safety for everyone involved. The person-to-person approach limits the chance of virus spread, and decreases the risk of insecurity due to the gathering of large groups of (understandably) desperate people (more on this below).
The response to these distributions has been tremendous. Here are a few responses that have been shared with us:
“I didn’t quite know how serious the situation on the ground (was) until we started doing the delivery. Some families were actually going to go without a meal tonight, but thankfully they have received provision.” -Tobias
“The community is so grateful” and “happy that the Christians remember them during their time of need.” -Bocha
“This is an answered prayer. I was really fretting about how to help some of the families weather this storm. We also got a lot of calls and text from parents being so grateful for these gifts.” -Moses
“I know the lifestyle of people on this plot. We live close together. And, this whole virus thing is waking people up to God. One woman said, ‘Is this how God comes through for people?’ Another woman said, ‘SO… YOU can think of us?’ I’m the only Luhya (tribe), the others are all Kikuyu (tribe). Walls are breaking down.” – Lydiah
“Everyone on my plot today can smell that the others are cooking their beans and are all happy together.” -Lydiah
There has recently been several instances of riots and stampedes at large distribution sites. Because of this, the government has recently announced that food distributions are no longer allowed. (You can read about this here: Voa News: Distribution Stampede). Fortunately, we confirmed today that the way we have been conducting them is still allowed. Each location just needs to report to their local government representative and get approval. We are very grateful for this. Our plan is to continue doing these as long as the needs are present and we are able.
A special thanks to the People to People Covid-19 Relief fund, WMM Missionary Ron Wooten, and the many generous individuals, that have contributed to this work.
We wanted to share this update, because none of our work would be possible without your support and prayers. Thank you for letting us serve as an extension of you. We know this is a difficult time for most. We pray that each of you, and your families, are safe and finding moments of joy and peace.
With Love and Gratitude,
Jamie, Jessica, Sophie and Ethan