This little angel was found on the streets of Ronda in June, where it appears she was abandoned. Ronda is similar to other poverty-ridden towns around Nakuru. Many people live in small homes made of mud or tarps with earthen floors and no water or electricity. It’s a constant struggle to have adequate food. School is a luxury, afforded by very few.
Initially, we thought this tiny girl was malnourished and that was why she didn’t walk. Her thin arms and legs stretched from her extended abdomen. Her vocabulary put her at around two or three, but we really had no idea. And we didn’t know her name. (We gave her the name Malaika, Swahili for Angel & Faith) She was a sweet, hungry child whose heart was beating so hard, you could actually feel it through her clothing. When you put your hand on her chest, it practically felt like you were holding her heart in your hand. We assumed it was the same excitement we find in many kids when they first see Springs of Hope, meals, and us wazungu (white people). But her little heart never slowed down.
Six days later Malaika Faith ended up in the local hospital with pneumonia, and the doctors diagnosed her as having a VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect) or small holes in her heart. After five days in the hospital, she was discharged as the pneumonia had cleared. The doctors told us to bring her back for a check-up in August, and said the heart holes would likely close by themselves.
But as soon as Malaika Faith was well enough to travel, we took her to the larger Kijabe Hospital for a full evaluation. Kijabe is about an hour and a half drive from Nakuru, and is known in Kenya for quality, affordable medical care. At Kijabe, we learned that Malaika Faith did have small holes in her heart, but more critically, we learned she was in heart failure. She was admitted to the hospital immediately and given an echocardiogram. Fortunately, a cardiologist was coming the next morning who could do a complete evaluation – a major praise. She was diagnosed with a patent (open) ductus arteriosus, otherwise known as a PDA and two small VSD’s holes in her heart.
We learned that the ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel that all babies have in vitro that allows blood to bypass the lungs, and flow from the pulmonary artery to the aorta. After birth and the umbilical cord is cut, the lungs start working to supply oxygen to the heart. The ductus arteriosus usually closes within the first hours of life, as it is no longer needed. But sometimes, this closure doesn’t happen, which is what happened with Malaika Faith. A newborn with a patent ductus arteriosus may have rapid breathing, frequent respiratory infections, poor growth, and tire easily – all signs of congestive heart failure. In the Western world, newborns with this condition are usually diagnosed quickly, and the condition is corrected with laparoscopic surgery.
But for Malaika Faith it didn’t happen that way. It’s very likely she was born in a household of extreme poverty, with limited access to medical care, if any. he was getting sicker and sicker as her heart was failing. Chances are her family never knew about her underlying condition, but just that she was a sick child they couldn’t provide for.
Malaika’s family most likely didn’t have access to medical care, and they may not have had food or even a home. Who knows, but maybe they had faith that someone would help their sick child. God may have led them to the place where they had the courage to leave their precious child, guided by the sense that a Good Samaritan would find her and take to the authorities, increasing the chances she’d get the care she needed. Malaika’s family may have trusted God wholeheartedly, knowing He would do what was best for His child.
We’re joyous that Malaika’s heart is healing, but she still requires a large amount of medical care and we are praying that she doesn’t have to undergo any further surgery. She needs to go to Nairobi for ongoing cardiac care. While we are busy making sure she is getting the care she needs, she is busy learning how to walk! She keeps us busy and we love it. She’s a true delight!
A word about her name: As soon as we saw this young girl we thought of Faith and Angel. Malaika is Angel in Kiswahili, so the perfect name appeared for this hopeful child.
Hebrews is 10 years old, and his cousins, Bright and Branton, are 13 year old identical twins. Bright and Branton’s mother died recently. In Kenya, it’s not uncommon for parents to relinquish their parental rights when faced with extreme poverty, and take their children to an orphanage. This is what happened a few years ago when Branton’s and Bright’s father died, and their mother felt overwhelmed – she was also caring for the three children of her sister who had died earlier. She took the three girls, Harriet, Berlyn, and Brivian to Springs of Hope so they could receive the care they needed.
When we took the girls to attend their mother’s funeral we found the boys in old worn clothing, including shoes we’d given them years ago. After the service, we couldn’t ignore the despair in their eyes, as everyone wondered who would care for them now that they were orphans. It was an instant decision to invite them to join their family at Springs of Hope. The relief on their faces was a joy to see.
Hebrews is a quiet, soft-spoken boy who likes to draw and does well in school. He’s missing his Auntie, but each day we see him becoming a little more comfortable. Brandon is a talented soccer player who takes pride in his appearance, and is remarkably practical – his favorite animal is a cow because it provides milk. He’s also a serious student who hopes to become a lawyer. His identical twin, Bright, is similar and has dreams of becoming an engineer. He loves Chapati, which is Kenyan bread. He is grateful to God that he and his siblings are at Springs of Hope.
I can tell you that when God put this dream of coming to Kenya and opening a children’s home on our hearts, I never imagined all that would come with it. God had led us to this far away land to love and care for orphaned children. Joseph and I believed in this call with all our hearts. As a family we set out to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I was so energized by our cherished aspiration; I just knew that if we set out as a family with God’s leading we would be unstoppable.
Oh how naive I was. So naïve, I never knew that by following God’s call that I would have to make huge sacrifices; for example sending my son to boarding school, which Joe and I said we would never do. That our marriage would not stand the test of time and I would have to go through the most heart wrenching difficult time in my life-a divorce while away serving God.
I guess I thought we would have all these children that no one cared about, and that we could make it all better for them. Little did I know that I would be dealing with not only orphans, but also with children that had been brutalized; physically and emotionally abused, sodomized, raped, and abandoned. These are issues that I had only read about in the newspapers, issues that happen to people you don’t know, but they have become commonplace for me these days in Kenya. I did not think about what it would mean to care for and love children who are sick and who die right before my eyes.
I did not know that some days I would feel like I am drowning or that I would lose sight of the “The One” who sent me. My head would be spinning some days as I try to figure out how this will all work. All of these precious lives in my hands. I never envisioned that five years later I would be here in Kenya by myself-this was supposed to be a three-year plan. Yet here I still am standing on God’s Word.
SOHK strives to help the children of our community. Every Sunday we feed them spiritually and physically. Many children come weekly sick, shoeless and hungry. We try to meet their needs as we can and YOU are part of this! SOHK is a light in their often bleak lives.
I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
God, I pray that you continue to encourage the sponsors of Your great work here at SOHK, so the work You have put before us-to help transform lives of children in Kenya can be carried out to completion.
- Please pray for SOHK, Our children, and projects and all of our staff.
- Consider sponsoring a child: Sponsor a child.
- You can make a one-time or monthly donations to SOHK. Your donations go to supporting our children with food, clothing and an education and medical needs. Click here to: DONATE NOW
- Sponsor a “Bagamoyo” Party at your home in July, August or December or January. We are so proud of this project and the products we make. Every time you buy a bag or have a party for Bagamoyo you help a person living with HIV/AIDS support themselves and their children. Our goal is to help them live healthy lives and to prevent their children from being the future orphans of Kenya. Read this story to see what it is all about: Terri’s story or Lillain’s story Email me at Bagamoyosohk@gmail.com
- Become involved in our new project! We need to start our eco-tourism camp (“Thorn Bush Camp”) so that we will have one more way to become self-sustaining. This project will help support our children and their futures. We will also train and hire former street boys to be employed at this project. All funds will also go to help in educating our children and to assist more orphans an vulnerable children in Kenya. This project has 3 phases. 1st Building Phase is $7000 USD, 2nd Phase is $20,000 USD, and 3rd phase is $10,000 USD you can donate to this project through our GENERAL MINISTRY FUND.
- We are in need of a generator at our sewing project. This would be approximately $500 USD. DONATE
- Our children would like some bicycles. We have 40+ children so we would like to get them 8 bikes to share we need Approx. $800 USD. DONATE NOW
Love & Peace,
I am hom ein Florida for Christmas but all i can think about is our children at SOHK and the needs.
I have had success selling out beautiful bags here and jewelry I have brought back form Kenya. But still the most important needs remain unmet.
- We need more children sponsored!
- We need people to make donations to our food fund for Christmas!
- We need generous giving to our new land project that will help us become self-sustaining!
- We need people who want to see this Ministry grow so that we can continue to change and transform lives.
Thank you so much for having me and for continuing to be an inspiration.
Returning to the SOHK orphanage and seeing how the children are growing was a great feeling.
Loosing their teeth, getting taller, gaining weight, bigger smiles, confidence growing, all evidence of a happy and healthy life, which is a huge contrast to where so many of them have come from.
From all the pictures of their beautiful faces it is sometimes easy to forget the destitute and dreadful situations that so many of them come from, but they smile happily today, because of the motherly love and care form molly and SOHK.
Through good times and bad, Molly struggles on, ensuring she can provide these children with their needs on a monthly basis, and then continues the struggle to support new causes, another abused, abandoned or neglected child, who will become part of the SOHK family, and juggles the funds so that she can support them to.
Molly is a continued inspiration of un conditional love and an individual that puts everyone else before her self. Her orphanage is a reflection of this, and needs your continued support, to keep transforming these little lives.