It seems it is not "politically correct" or sensitive to refer to a community as a "slum". I (Deb) was told that the new reference is "economically disadvantaged communities." But "slum" does communicate what we all know as a place of great poverty and despair. And that is Kasarani. It has grown to perhaps 30,000 people in a very small area by the shores of Lake Naivasha, but nobody really knows. It is thought that up to 50% of the population are children under the age of 8. Flower farms provide opportunity for work, which also provides hope and sustenance for families, but there is also large unemployment as the population grows and others move in hoping for work. The majority of the residents are not from this area but come from rural areas to find work, making the village very tribally mixed, adding to the problems among a basically illiterate community.
Poverty produces despair, lack of hope, hunger, homelessness, and life styles to escape depression and real situations of not being able to even find food for your family. Alcoholism and drug abuse, stealing and crime, prostitution leading to an increasing incidence of HIV-AIDS and other diseases, lack of electricity and clean water ... all are factors in Kasarani. Alongside the employment the flower farms provide there is a feeling of growing dependency on outside help, so attitudes are a struggle for those of us trying to help.
But there is hope. Greg and Deb Snell are missionaries, serving with International Christian
Ministries (ICM) which focuses on leadership training for the church in Afrca. Eagles Wings, their personal ministry, enables them to bring both ministries into Kasarani. Through their involvement with St. Andrews School and the fact that many workers in Green Park (the home of Eagles Wings) come from Kasarani, Eagles Wings has many opportunities to be involved.
Eagles Wings Projects
There are 21 churches of different denominations in Kasarani. Through connections from Eagles Wings, we were able to provide Bibles for every student and staff member at St. Andrews, and 20 KiSwahili Bibles each to the churches for distribution in their congregations. They were a donation from the Bible League in the US, through their Kenya office.
Moms in Touch
Caroline Mosonik, the Kenya Director of US based Moms In Touch, International came to conduct a training for the moms of children in the Loldia Primary School and St. Andrews Secondary School. A group leader was selected - Margaret Githingi, the pastors wife of Full Gospel Church in Kasarani where the training was held. The moms will meet at least once a month to pray for their children, the school and the teachers. It provides an opportunity for fellowship for the moms as well.
Outreach to Pastors
Greg Snell met with the pastors from the Pastors Association to discuss their needs and to introduce ICM training programs. Many of the pastors in Kasarani would like access to additional training and seminars, which could be provided at Eagles Wings ministry center. We look forward to working with these pastors in the future.
Deb Snell has offered and will conduct Women's Ministry seminars and "Praying the Labyrinth" retreats on the property of Eagles Wings. The women of Kasarani struggle with many practical and emotional issues and support and fellowship through retreats and seminars are one way to offer information on available resources and support.
John Mosonik met with the pastors to discuss their issues with youth in Kasarani and the need for opportunities for outreach. He will return in October to discuss Vacation Bible Schools and sport's camps and games with other schools in the Lake Naivasha area.