In 2009, when I came on my second trip to Kenya, I met a family from Endebes that God placed on my heart that summer. The oldest girl, Protenciana was going to Purpose Driven Academy and told us her story, so the next day we went to go visit her family.
That was the first day I met Pamela, she was living with her two children and three of her nieces and nephews that she raised as her own since they were very young. After meeting her family and seeing their situation, I brought Stella, Allan and Junior to join Protenciana at Purpose Driven Academy.
When I met them they were living in a tiny mud hut that was barely big enough for one person and there were six people living there. The kids were in boarding school, so they were gone for most of the year, but when they came home during the breaks the house was packed. I was able to help them build a larger mud structure with two rooms and a living room where the kids would have room to play. Since they had more space, Pamela told me that if I had other kids with no place to go she would be happy to have them stay with her. She said that I had blessed her with more space and she wanted to pass on that blessing by taking more children into her home. She said that she was given a chance to begin again and wanted to help other children have that same opportunity.
Augustus’s parents died when he was young and was living with his Aunt who wasn’t treating him well and Hillary had been living on the streets of Kitale since he was six years old until he was sponsored to go to school. His mother is around, but she is an alcoholic who is not able to give him the care he needs. Pamela had met both of them when she went to visit her children at school and took them to stay with her and her family.
A short while after Ezekiel was taken to school by a friend of mine after she found him at the District Hospital. He had been hit by a motorcycle and his leg had been broken in three places and his parents never came to get him. He doesn’t even remember how to get back to where he was living before, so he had no where to go and Pamela took him in with open arms.
The last addition to this little family was Emmanuel. I got a call from a friend one day about a boy whose mother had remarried and kicked him out of the house. For three days straight when she went to town she found him sitting outside alone. He had nowhere to go. His mother didn’t want him so his only option was to head to the streets. So I called Pamela and asked her if I could bring one more kid to the house and she quickly agreed.
It is rare to find someone who has so many struggles to overcome who is still willing to reach out to those in need. Over the years I watched Pamela struggle and come to terms with being HIV positive. She already had so much on her plate, including five kids to raise on her own, yet she took in more without hesitation and treated them as her own.
When I was in California, last November I talked to Pamela and learned that she had been sick for months, but I still didn’t know what to expect when I went to see her. It was heartbreaking to see this joyful woman stuck lying on a mattress on the living room floor in pain: unable to walk or even sit up on her own, unable to care for herself or her children and totally relying on her eldest daughter, Protenciana, for her every need. It was even harder to sit there and know that there was not much I could do. Her legs were causing her severe pain, but there were no visible wounds. She was eating well, but it looked like she hadn’t eaten in weeks. She was in the hospital and I talked to the doctor and he said they were just giving her IV fluids so that she wouldn’t feel neglected, but there wasn’t anything they could do from a medical standpoint. So I kept visiting, praying and showing her that I was there for her and her family.
Pamela went to be with the Lord on April 22. I am glad that she is now out of pain, but there is still the pain of knowing that she is no longer here. When I think about how far Pamela had come and how much God has taught me about his love and redemption through her kind, loving and generous spirit. I pray that God will give me faith like hers to rely on him to be my source of strength.
Now all of the kids are under the care of Precious Kids Center. The boys moved to Greenfields School so they could be closer to town and with the other kids at the house. Stella is in a boarding school about an hour outside of town and is in the 9th grade. Protenciana will be starting university in November and will begin classes to become a physical therapist.
It has been great to see these kids grow in these last six years and I am sad that Pamela won’t be around to see the wonderful people that they will grow up to be, but I am proud of how far they have come and glad that I get to be a part of their journeys.