Kenya & Uganda
An interview with John Shaw
So John, you recently came back from a trip to Uganda and Kenya. How was it?
What was the purpose of your trip?
“The purpose of our trip to Kenya and Uganda was to connect. We (TTH) have been supporting a couple of projects in Kenya the last year, and I hadn’t had an opportunity to meet them yet. In Uganda, Jeremy and I went to see about TTH partnering with some friends of mine.”
Was this your first visit to Kenya?
What did you think?
“I think there is so much we can learn from what they are doing in Kenya. First, we went to Antony and his team. They live and work in the poorest place I’ve ever seen in my life. He told us ‘this is where the rapists and murderers live.’ There was a sewage ditch going through every street, and the trash was a foot tall and covered almost all of the ground. Antony saw this and thought, ‘Where do I begin?’ I was amazed to see the level of hope Antony had. He saw hope where no one else saw it. He started a feeding program over a year ago motivated out of this same heart of seeing hope where no one else did. More Than Just A Meal isn’t just about handing out a plate of food. It’s about offering hope to children. We then went to visit Sammy.
Sammy was a street kid who had a hard life. There are a lot of kids like that in Kenya. Somewhere in his teens, a stranger helped him get off the streets and get an education. Then, after finding a good job and getting married, he and his wife started taking in street kids. Their place just got bigger and bigger. Sammy will go into town and find these kids who are in need and he brings them home, constantly believing in God for more. Seeing the level of faith they have just by step-ping out and doing the right thing even when they don’t have enough, was extremely impacting. Like I said, there is so much we can learn from what they are doing in Kenya. I am so glad that we (TTH) is a part of it.”
So then you guys went on to Uganda? And you’ve been there before, right?
“Yes. I’ve been to Uganda twice before. I’ve learned so much from them, and basically, the model we use for our community development at Ten Thousand Homes is based on what they are doing over there. They live life as family. When they take people in, they don’t say, ‘Let us help and take care of your needs,’ but instead they say, ‘You are my daughter. You are my son. Here is my name, you can have it.’ They love people so deeply that it’s infectious.”
How is TTH looking to start working in Uganda?
“Because we’ve been there before and they have invested in us, we wanted to see how we could help them, how we could partner together. We decided we were going to start by building houses, which is how we started in South Africa. We met four different women, who had their own kids and took in more even though they lived in poverty. What struck me was that, though these women were in dire need, they still would take kids off the street and do what they could to provide for them. So our plan is to build a house for each of these families this year. We are trying to raise the money right now.”
TTH is so excited to see the growth that will happen in partnering with other organizations of Africa!