I am a police crime scene detective for Woodbridge Police Department. I am pretty unique in that I was a film major and (still) artist as well. Each seem to compliment each other. The art to battle the stress, and the film, enhance my attention to detail at crime scenes.
The photos that you see here, although beautiful to some degree, are some of the most sorrowful things I have witnessed in my life.
I had decided many years ago that I was called to a mission trip of some kind and waited for God to open up a door. I looked into South America, Haiti, and Japan, before getting the call to Kenya. My childhood friend, Pastor Andrew Columbia of New Life Today Ministries, had gone to Kenya one year previously to visit and examine a situation he had heard about in a far western part of Kenya.
Very few people have gone that far west of Kenya (as we told by a pastor there named Richard Mark). Many missionaries go to the cities as there is more than enough poverty to go around. The situation in many parts of Kenya is desperate. AIDS is at a very high percentage and because of it, the children most of all, suffer. Their parents die (first) and it leaves them vulnerable for every horrible thing imaginable.
There is a need for orphanages so that there is a refuge for these children. Pastor Mark , from Nzoia Kenya, who we met, has been taking care of the kids and widows with what little money he has and gets from us. We have made a commitment to help and now we are planning to build an orphanage and then some.
This last trip for me was only 10 days but it was an intense 10 days. As a former Marine, I can say it was like a missionaries boot camp as we were exposed to so much. To many of the people there, welfare as we know it in America, would seem like a king’s life.
We visited and worked at four places during our trip.
First was Nzoia where we looked at land and ministered to the widows and orphans there. The people are amazing and so grateful. We found land and are setting up the necessary things to get buildings built. The land will be in the end (hopefully) self sustainable (farmed , goats, chickens, etc). We are in constant contact with Pastor Richard and intend upon going back (hopefully) in September.
The second place we visited was the women’s prison of Nakaru. We brought them essentials to live. The women are mostly innocent: I was told about 70% are. Mostly, they were the fall guy for the crime or falsely accused. The others who are guilty are so because of need to live via prostitution or stealing. They are allowed to have their children with them in prison, so we also brought the kids some things.
For our third visit, we went to the city dump where many people live. They do so because the garbage is a food source. Some are so resilient that they make and sell things made of garbage.
And lastly, we visited the street kids of Nakaru. The children are abandoned and do whatever needed to survive. Most of them sniff glue (contact cement) . This numbs their appetite and the thoughts of what they need to do to survive. The boys range in age from 7 to 19. It is a pack- like mentality and many of the older boys abuse the younger ones.
I have a website starting for the future, WhyKenya.org, and you can read about Pastor Andrews efforts here.
We hope to pattern the success of The Nambale Magnet School of Western Kenya.