Updates from Kenya: COVID-19
2021 COVID Update
May 26, 2021
THE NATION OF KENYA
Kenya continues to suffer due to COVID-19. As the virus spreads, those that live in poverty are reminded how little access they have to an already weak health infrastructure. COVID-19 has disrupted the lives of all people including our staff and children. The Lord has been faithful to allow Chariots to continue to serve and love our homes above and beyond what is expected.
There has been an increase in overcrowding in informal settlements which does not allow for social distancing and poor access to basic services such as clean water, sanitation, and hygiene. At our homes, we took swift action to create a safe environment. This included limited movement outside of the home, added sanitization practices, masking as appropriate, and following local and national regulations.
In addition to this, pandemic-related disruptions in Kenya’s transportation system has caused a separation between the poor because of the drastic rise in prices due to a half-capacity restriction. Even through these changes, Chariots for Hope provided safe, private transportation for our staff.
School has also changed during the past year. Due to the virus, schools have fluctuated from being fully open to closing completely several times. These closures have destabilized the children’s structure leaving a lot of unmonitored free time. When schools shut down, Chariots invested in hiring extra tutors—several were alumni from our homes who have degrees in or are studying education—to give more personalized attention to the children and to add creativity to learning. Capitalizing on the increased time at home, our staff brought our children together in purposeful, intentional, and creative ways. They ensured the children had activities to fill their times that taught skills, reinforced their education, and poured into them as people.
Like many countries, Kenya has faced a significant negative financial impact because of the measures created to reduce the virus’ spread such as lockdowns, curfews, and closure of business. The measures have led to people losing their jobs or facing pay cuts as well as business owners losing their source of livelihood. Although the lockdowns are no longer in effect, there are still massive long-lasting repercussions from the loss of income. We are so thankful that Chariots has been able to continue to pay our staff without interruption and the excellent care of our children within our 8 homes has not been negatively impacted. In fact, our staff have voiced reasons to be thankful during these uncertain times.
BEING THANKFUL—INSIGHTS FROM OUR HOMES
- Kaptagat: Staff had an opportunity to build deeper relationships with children and the home received new bathrooms with hot showers.
- Kitui: 8 babies were rescued and the staff had the opportunity to bond in special ways with our children because of the additional time spent at home.
- Maai Mahiu: Staff had special game days and received new much-needed wash basins.
- Mahiga: Alumni came to help and encourage staff and children and the home received new dining hall tables and chairs.
- Mogogosiek: 7 children were rescued out of desperate situations and the home welcomed 7 new staff members.
- Mukaa: The home celebrated Mama Beth’s retirement and the children learned how to plant vegetables.
- Mulango: The home hosted the first ever Mr. & Miss Mulango talent show and eliminated water problems by adding in solar power.
- Ogada: Staff versus children’s games brought fun and laughter, and several children received new glasses.
Overall, Chariots for Hope has used the unique opportunities this pandemic has caused to invest deeper and more holistically into the lives of our children and staff. We are thankful for the Lord’s sovereignty and faithfulness even through this unique season of COVID-19.
What Does Quarantine Look like?
April 18, 2020
You might be wondering what quarantine looks like at our homes. Our homes are taking careful precautions to keep everyone safe. At the same time, like many families here, they’re using this time to enjoy one another’s company, learn new skills and have fun. Today we wanted to share a glimpse of that with you!
Each home seeks opportunities to teach important life skills to equip children for adulthood. At Kaptagat, Maai Mahiu, and Mukaa, students worked alongside staff members in the gardens, learning about preparing soil and planting. At Mulanggo, the students learned how to make detergent and at Ogada, the older girls worked with staff members on a sewing project, developing skills they can use in the future.
Just like for many of you, education moved home in the month of March. Our children’s homes have set aside time each day for children to work on their studies. Tutors are finding creative ways to help children learn. In several of our homes, high school and college students are helping the younger ones with their lessons. New resources were compiled by volunteers in the US and sent over to ensure the tutors have access to the tools they need.
TIME FOR FUN
Of course we want our children to have time for fun, games, and activities. At Mahiga, children participated in an Easter egg hunt around the campus and at several homes children are taking turns making chapati, a favorite treat, for everyone. Games, sports, and story time make for lots of smiles and laughter as they enjoy time together
Each of our homes have created their own church services each Sunday as local gatherings have shut down. The homes also continue to do their daily devotions together. They have greatly enjoyed singing together, hearing God’s word from a staff member, and spending time together in prayer for their communities, families and you!! They continue to trust that God is in control!
At our baby homes life actually looks quite normal. The staff continue to provide around the clock care for the youngest and most vulnerable children.
An African Response
April 7, 2020
These are unprecedented times. We know that each of you, in different ways, are feeling the struggles that have come with this virus. Just like we as individuals are experiencing this pandemic differently, so is each culture and country. The implications of quarantine to nations with little to no infrastructure can have severe effects for both the short and long term. We’d encourage you to read both the article linked below as well as the updates from our homes. We are so thankful that all of our children and staff have remained safe and healthy so far, but Kenya as a country needs your prayers.