“Whoever is kind to the poor is lending to the Lord — the benefit of his gift will return to him in abundance.” Proverbs 19:17
“My mother died when I was class two.” That’s how Mercy starts. Then she continues, “I knew she was not well. A Catholic priest, on his way to the airport for a trip outside the country, took her to the hospital. ”
Mercy is one of the students sponsored (sponsors donate $500/year) by Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope (CHHH). What sets her apart is her positive attitude and enthusiasm about life. “I don’t see myself as an orphan. That is not my identity. I count my blessings and know that I have been fortunate to be sponsored.” Then she declares, “I want to be a medical doctor.”
Mercy then narrates how her mother died when she arrived at the hospital and was buried a day after her death. “I was left with three younger siblings. One who was only two weeks old. My dad was alcoholic. He would come home late at night and leave very early in the morning.” The audience’s tears begin to flow when she says, “I dropped out of school in class two to take care of my siblings.” She was 7 years old.
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In her desperation, Mercy remembered that her mother had harvested and stored some maize. Mercy would sell some of the maize in the market to purchase other food with the money before heading home to cook it.
Then one day, her drunk father came home with a woman who had her own eight children. All Mercy remembers is, “Sasa hawa ni wanane and nyinyi mko wa nne kwa ivyo mko kumi na mbili. Pasi jipageni!” Now these are eight and you are four which makes 12. So now organize yourselves. He then disappeared.
Mercy’s maternal grandparents lived more than eight hours driving distance from her home. They had never heard of their daughter’s sickness, death or burial. Because they knew she was expecting, the father decided to visit and learn what had happened after months of no communication. Mercy is the one who showed him the grave. He left without explaining what was going on.
A few days thereafter, Mercy thought her mother had risen from her grave. But it was her mother’s sister who had come to visit. The aunt gathered the children and made it look as if she was just taking them to the market for shopping. That would be the last time Mercy and her siblings would see their never-present father or that faraway place they had known as their home. She believes that he has long been dead.
Not only have sponsors transformed her life, but through Mercy, many other people’s lives will be transformed for generations. That is the power of education. We are currently supporting 285 students who had no chance of ever joining high school. But 36 of them are now in nationally recognized universities.
We started Caring Hearts High School, our own girls boarding school and with $1.37/day ($500/year) a vulnerable child is provided a safe environment to receive quality education, three meals each day, clean water and clothing, and a safe place to sleep and study. That’s not just tuition. It saves a child from possible child labor, early forced marriage or use of their body as a commercial commodity.
Mother Teresa told us that, “We cannot do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Through Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope, your kindness and generosity have the power to save and transform lives for generations.
Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope (www.caringheartsandhandsofhope.com), a 501 (c)(3) EIN 27-3127770, uses 100 percent of all donations for the purpose they are donated for. To help, please mail a check to Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope (or just CHHH), P.O Box 7152, Boise, ID 83707.
Vincent Muli Kituku is an author and speaker for business organizations, schools and Christian groups. Contact him at (208) 376-8724 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Idaho Statesman’s weekly faith column features a rotation of writers from many different faiths and perspectives.