It is Christmas at Mukuru Kwa Njenga – in pictures

World Concern celebrates this year’s Christmas with underprivileged children at Kenya’s Mukuru kwa Njenga slum

At Mukuru kwa Njenga slum, some children hardly know it’s Christmas.

A few days ago, World Concern staff made their way to the slum to celebrate. What we didn’t know was that the children would teach us how to be children again!

The sun was out in a yellow dress, and through the well-thought coordination by G-Thamini Youth group, the day turned out wonderfully memorable.

Our Christmas party in pictures, below. Enjoy 🙂

First, we invaded a room at St Mary’s Catholic church and made some culinary delights

Ken at the onion cutting department
Ken at the onion cutting department
Damaris does it with a smile
Damaris does it with a smile

Christmas_2015_MukuruKwaNjenga-25The production line

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Faces. . .
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Dance, skits and more music
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The games. . .

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The game: “I sent a letter”

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Cake, balloons and gifts
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A section of the cool crowd

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“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” [Mark 10:14]

Merry Christmas from World Concern!

The music stopped playing – Garissa University Attack

On Kenya’s darkest Thursday, 147 bright young men and women had their lives stolen in cruel fashion. It’s 8 days since. Each day dragging on for months – months of pain, rage and an unending nightmare that can never be eloquently expressed.

Photo credit | @MaudJullien
Photo credit | @MaudJullien

Yet it feels like yesterday.

Gunmen stormed into a Christian Union group gathered at Garissa University for early morning prayers, shooting them, and then proceeded to murder students in the University’s dormitories. They even forced some to phone their parents goodbye before ending their lives.

Isaac Bushen Kosgei was one whose lives was cut short. Reports say he loved his music. “He always wore his headphones, even when asleep. He loved country music and it is likely that he did not hear the gunshots. He died, probably with music playing.”

He and his roommates often discussed their plans, with Mr. Kosgei saying he would join the music industry while the rest planned to teach Geography and Business Studies after graduating.

Such young, energetic souls gone.

We are numb with pain.

Photo credit | Capital FM Kenya
Photo credit | Capital FM Kenya

Not sure how exactly to handle this, groups are keeping vigil  in memory of the departed; we are telling their stories; we are trying to find strength together. Artists too are painting their sadness.

Credit | Daks Lineker
Credit | Daks Lineker on Facebook
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Credit | Ben Omoke & Sam Kihanya

Really, our hearts are heavy with grief. Every one of the students is a precious life in God’s eyes. Please pray for their families and for the injured victims – who just days ago could walk, but now have to use wheel chairs.

00291923-fe291ca8a969a19334a40c0d6c746e64-arc495x324-w495-us1Pray for peace, safety, and protection over this beautiful country.

Praying through transitions

Every year, World Concern staff members across the world dedicate a day or two in prayer. In Kenya, we felt led to pray for our partners, and then meditated on a sermon from Mark 4:35-41 titled Fixing our eyes on Jesus during transitions.

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It will interest you because transitions are part of your life and mine, each day.

The take-aways:

  • There is a call to move to the other side for a new experience
  • Transitions are difficult
  • Storms in life lead to a deeper understanding of Christ

“God is calling us to make adjustments not for ourselves but for Him. He will be with us, and we’ll come out stronger on the other side,” said Africa Regional Director, Peter Macharia, while giving the message.

Peter Macharia“When we fix our eyes on Christ and not on the storm, we are able to handle it,” he said.

Praying for Partners
As the day closed, we felt convicted to pray for the churches that have stood with us.

We clasped our hands on top of tiny pieces of paper, each with a name of a church partner and prayed. Individual members of staff then picked one piece each, at random for a church they will be praying for.

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We feel perhaps, that the best way to thank these churches is to pray for them and use the resources they have bestowed on us as intended.

Thank you!
Thank you!

We’re grateful to each of our partners. We pray that God may refresh you, heal and provide for you. Thank you for providing tools that empower thousands of our beneficiary partners in Kenya, Chad, Uganda, South Sudan and Somaliland to lead full and productive lives!

Westgate – one year on

Memories of heavy smoke billow-on a year after the Westgate Mall attack in Kenya:

Of how Kenyans, and the world helplessly watched, clueless as to what exactly was going on inside the mall; a swing of relief each time a message of hope came, then another pendulum swing into gloom and tension as the hope faded. We remember the country was paralyzed for days.

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Photo credit | The Daily Nation

The photo above and minimal words would probably have been ideal to commemorate this day, but leafing through ordeals published on Kenya’s dailies today, some accounts beg to be written, especially remarks from parents of Former Bidco Sales & Marketing Director, 38 year old Mitul Shah.

The late Mitul passed on after he offered himself as a hostage to save lives of a group of children at the mall. Only pain can so vividly express pain, his elderly parents know this:

He was the best son any parent could have asked for. He was the life and strength of this family, the glue that held everything together. With my son by my side I had the motivation for life, I could take risks even with my business because I knew that he had my back. Now, I am much weaker and take no joy in anything – Amu Shah (Father)

We know it is a year since Mitul died, and we know we are supposed to feel better, but to us he might as well have died yesterday because the wound is as raw as the day we found out about his death. No pain compares to that of losing a child – Sudha Shah (Mother)

Even deeper scars from families of the 67 lives lost in this ordeal live on, and today, as more chilling stories emerge, we grieve with families, friends who lost loved ones, and the tens of survivors who remain maimed for life. May God comfort and give you strength.

A year on, #Westgate

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