Saturday, July 12, 2008

Meet Byron

Vera, Givens, Byron and Mauren
A little man that has melted all of our hearts...
Byron is relatively new to St. Claire's. He and his siblings (shown above) arrived here a few months ago from an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp. They were returned here to Kisumu as there are many Luo people here. He is often quite serious for a little toddler understandably given what he has seen. Bryon, his siblings and his mom survived as they slept in fields as they were escaping instead of houses (which were being burnt). He loves to be held and to listen to picture books. His mom is with Bryon's older siblings trying to gather together money to re-create their life. No one has heard about/from his father since the post-election violence.
We're really looking forward to these kids attending school next year. These are the faces of some of the kids who are in need of a dormitory. (The proceeds of our project are going towards building another dormitory for the increasing number of children at St. Claire's).
- Joanna


Marc said...


Do you have any idea what it would take dollar wise to get a family like this back on their feet? I'm just curious because there are so many ways (from charities that take their overhead out of every donation - to microfinance, which lends the money directly to the people) - and I was just trying to equate what these people are going through to what it would take them to get back on their feet. How can we equate that over here, just on the money front?

Joanna said...

I will ask Sister at the orphanage and a few other locals their opinion (monetary wise) about what they think people would need to get back on their feet, specifically Byron's family.
There are a few children at the orphanage in similar situations -- one of their caregivers (often a mom or a grandparent) is alive but does not have enough money (or is too sick) to provide for their child (heartbreaking to all involved) so they drop their child off at the orphanage or outside the church with the hope that at the orphanage their child will get food and an opportunity to go to school. Once families are able, they return for their children. For instance, there are a few toddlers who will return to their grandparents once the children are a little older and more able to take care of themselves.
With regards to IDPs in particular, their situation is quite difficult as many had their homes and stores completely destroyed (we've seen a lot of burnt buildings around Kisumu). Some shops owners have not returned - not for fear for their lives (all is quite peaceful now) but fear that no one will shop at their store... and some are grieving lives lost and of course still processing the trauma of the post-election violence... to get back on their feet seems multilayered and I myself don't have a solid answer.
HIV/AIDS in Kenya had been highest in the region that we are in but has been declining in the past few years with significant education/NGO programs/people seeing the consequences... so there are ways for things to improve...whether the answer is charities, microfinance, policies, ... it is indeed a very complicated discussion - but an important one.
Thank you for your comment.

Joanna said...

Sister says to 'get back on their feet', 3 months rent... time for the mom to get healthy, get a job and save some money. The mom's health is the key factor here.

kate m said...

My heart's breaking on the other side of ocean Jo... I can just picture you holding little Byron. I pray for you constantly and look forward to joining you in action upon your return.
with love, kate