Jackline’s Story

JACKLINE_NAITOTI
Jackline

On her tenth birthday, my mom was given as a bride to my father. As his youngest wife, it was her job to have children and shepherd his herd of goats and cattle. So, just before my mom turned eleven, I was born in a small hut made from sticks and mud deep in the remote bush lands.

My mom tells me she was afraid much of the time. There wasn’t enough food, barely any water, and nowhere to turn for help because within my tribe, it is the husband who decides what the wife can do and where she can go. But after the birth of my little sister, Diana, my mom made the decision to escape her situation.

With hope for a better life for us, she walked 113 kilometers with my little sister and I on her back, to the town of our grandmother and home of a local pastor. Pastor Daniel is a good man. He helped my mom go to school while his wife helped my grandmother care for me and my sister. Then grandmother died, and Pastor Daniel helped us to come to Heroes of the Nation to live.

DIANA_NAMNYOK
Diana

Our lives are much different now. At Heroes of the Nation we have everything we need: food, shelter, safety, and a really good education. Our school scored #1 in the region this year, and we are only getting better! I love science and math, and I want to be a doctor when I grow up.

Last year, my mom graduated from high school. Now, through the Heroes Post-Graduate Endowment Fund, she is earning her degree in Early Childhood Development so that she can be a teacher in the same community where I was born.

EVRLYNE
My brave and beautiful mother, Evrlyne

Though I miss my mom when we are apart, Diana and I spend a lot of time with her during school breaks when we visit our tribe and see family and friends. When we are there, we see that change is needed in our community.

My mom and Pastor Daniel are making a difference there, and my sister and I will too, thanks to all that we have received at Heroes of the Nation.

 

Evrlyne’s Journey

EVRLYNE.jpgEvrlyne Waithera of the Samburu Tribe (a sub-tribe of the Masai), was born in 1995, and the sad truth is that her father was a drunk. Atlhough he had some cattle, he didn’t take care of his family, so Evrlyne’s mother did the best she could to get food and water for Evrlyne and her younger twin siblings, Rose and Eric.

Still, there was not enough food, so at age 4, Evrlyne was sent to another family to care for their children in exchange for food. However, she was treated as a slave and abused there. Desperate, little Everlyne ran away to her maternal grandmother, who let her stay, enrolling her in kindergarten, and for six years, she was safe.

However, when she was 10-years-old, Evrylyne returned to to see her mother and father. Instead of a happy reunion, her father immediately forced her to marry a 32-year-old man because her father wanted the bride-price (dowry). During her first 3 years of marriage, Evrlyne gave birth to two daughters, Jackline, first, and then Diana.  In this culture, her husband’s mother was supposed to care for the young wives, making sure they are fed and that the babies have some food, but Evrlyne’s mother-in-law did not do this, so Evrlyne and her daughters had very little food and water.

Evelyn_and_Eva_in_Masai_hutShe said, “When my baby would cry, I would cry too, for I didn’t know what to do, and I had no one to help me.”  Evrlyne appealed to her own mother, but her mother did not have the authority to help her.  However, once Evrlyne learned that her father had died, and she knew her mother could then help.

So at a time when her husband was not at home, Evrlyne, now 14-years-old, took the two babies, and with the help of a friend who carried Jackline for her, they began the 120 km journey towards Rumruti, where her mother lived.  This friend also gave Evrlyne food and paid for transport whenever it was available to them.

Once she arrived in Rumruti (previously called The Remote Area) the bishop of the local church, Bishop Daniel, and his wife, who were close to Evrlyne’s mother and family, offered help to Evrlyne. The church raised half of her school fees, and the school covered the other half, while a very kind teacher helped her to purchase food and school supplies, and also provided her a place to stay while in school.

HTNpics (392)
Masai Land

Evrlyne’s husband came to Rumruti to take her and their daughters back to Maralal, but Bishop Daniel stood against him and required that Evrlyne and her girls be allowed to stay in Rumruti while she attended school. Thankfully, the man agreed, and Evrlyne’s mother along with the Bishop’s wife cared for Jackline and Diana while Evrlyne was  at school.

HTNpics (1070)In 2011, when Evrlyne was around 16 years old and still in school, her mother died. At this time, because of the special friendship of Bishop Daniel and his wife with Bishop Weston and Violet at Heroes of the Nation, Jackline, Evrlyne’s oldest daughter, was accepted into Heroes, along with Rose, Evrlyne’s younger sister. A year later, Jackline’s younger sister, Diana, followed.

JACKLINE_NAITOTI
Jackline

Evrlyne was so relieved and happy that they would have all their needs met, be safe from the hunger and abuse she herself had endured, and that they now have opportunities because of Heroes.

Evrlyne graduated from high school in Dec. 2017.  What she has suffered has not made her bitter. Instead,  she wants to continue her education in Early Childhood Development. Heroes has invited her to take part in their Endowment program and attend college to fulfill that dream.  As of May 2018, Evrlyne completed her first term, and although the work is difficult for her, she is doing well. There are still some current challenges for this brave young woman.

DIANA_NAMNYOK
Diana
  • There is no home for her or her daughters and sister to return to during school breaks, and they are passed around to various famlies who mistreat them.
  • The bush is dangerous due to snakes, wild animals, and too many drunks makes it unsafe.
  • Food is very hard to get.
  • Everlyne fears that her daughters will be married off, even ‘illegally’, or taken back by their father.

Thank You, Jesus, for rescuing Evrlyne, Jackline, Diana, and Rose. Thank You for the safety of Heroes of the Nation, and for watching out for them when they are on break, Thank You for all the thoughts You have in Your kind heart to give them each a future and a hope in You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights: May 2018

On May 2nd, our staff and children returned to Heroes of the Nation after a much needed short break to visit with friends, family and guardians. Refreshed and ready, they jumped back into a Heroes life, working hard in school, and performing well in sports and extra-curricular events.

DSC_8002Early in May, science teachers from Heroes High School and Primary School attended a workshop in Ndururumo given by external trainers on the new curriculum, and how best to teach the subject with maximum retention. They HS Boy in class 2enjoyed the training workshop and collaborating with other educators DSC_8292from the area.

Then on the 19th, some of our brightest high school math students attended a mathematics competition, also is Ndururumo, where they competed with other schools. They were accompanied by our math teacher, Mr. Ndirangu, and performed very well.

Next, on May 25th and 26th, approximately 100 of our students from the high school and primary school attended a sub-county music festival where they performed for and competed with other schools. Both groups of students won at their level and will continue on in June to compete at the county level. If our Heroes win at the next two levels they will compete for the President’s favor at his home in Nairobi! Our students are practicing hard, eager to win that honor and to show that our schools are the best.

The growing season is upon us and our fields look vibrant. Kale, cabbages, spinach and maize are growing well, thanks to the abundance of rain in 2018. We are also happy to announce the birth of a female calf to a new cow, recently purchased by the Heroes Business club!

kales_(2)
New crop of Kale

 

Meet our President

 

Andrew-600x635In last week’s blog post, we highlighted Dr. Weston and Violet Gitonga, co-founders and the African directors of Heroes of the Nation. This week, our president and co-founder, Andrew Sievright, is our focus.

An entrepreneur and visionary by nature, Andrew was mentored by his father in business and music, and by age 18, he had started several businesses. One of these grew into a thriving communications company. Next, Andrew turned his attention to international development and aid. He joined Youth with a Mission (YWAM), one of the world’s largest relief and mercy organizations, where he worked for 5 years. In the role of base director of one of the largest YWAM bases in North America, his years of business experience enriched the base’s training center and ten schools, (composed of twenty-six departments). These schools, which taught skills such as desktop publishing and printing for third-world countries, writing, journalism and music, became the training ground for students who would later be dispatched to 250 locations across the world.

HTNpics (254).JPGAndrew’s base also sent out many international aid teams to developing nations. When Andrew heard of the orphanages that the teams visited, he knew that, given the opportunity, he would one day build a financially self-sustainable orphanage & school based on a self-sufficient business model that would empower orphans to be leaders through excellent education and leadership training. Thus the vision for Heroes of the Nation was birthed.

Andrew, Weston and Violet
Andrew Sievright, Dr. Weston and Violet Gitonga

After his time with YWAM, Andrew, who had developed a search engine business and invested in a home in California, sold that house, and used most of the profits to start the orphanage & school, Heroes of the Nation, in Kenya. He bought land, hired staff, and began construction. During this time, he met Dr. Weston and Violet Gitonga, who shared his vision, joining him in founding HTN.

Since 2002, the Heroes of the Nation campus has grown to be one of the largest orphanage & school in Kenya, educating and caring for over 500 children. Government officials have applauded the successful model of HTN, recognizing its impact on orphans and in the local community.

andrew-w-kids_darker1-300x275Besides continuing to offer insight into the growth and development of HTN, Andrew pursues multiple business and humanitarian endeavors, looking for solutions to humanity’s most pressing needs. Among other ventures, he is the president and founder of The Summit Research Institute, whose mission statement reads, “Bringing leaders together from all spheres of influence in order to find overarching solutions to crucial needs in the world, while cultivating lasting friendships and growing as social entrepreneurs.” With all this going on, Andrew still writes and publishes music!

Meet Dr. Weston and Violet Gitonga

 

Visiting Made Easy

Team

The process of joining a team and making the long trip to Heroes of the Nation in Kenya is incredibly fun. Plus, it’s much easier and more affordable than you might expect!  From more than 70 people who have joined one of our teams over the past 12 months, typical comments range from “It is a life changing experience,” and “There are not words to describe how incredible it is!” to “I expected to feel a lot less comfortable on a mission to Africa.”

HTNpics (1118).JPGPeople don’t usually include comfortable and Africa in the same sentence. Or easy. But that’s yet another way HTN is not the norm. Why? Well, first off, roughly $900 buys a round trip flight from the west coast of the U.S. It takes about 22 hours, including one short stop in Europe. Upon landing in Nairobi, each team is met at the terminal by our staff and a private bus. Depending on when the flight arrives, visitors are then either taken to a hotel for the night or driven  directly to our campus in Nyahururu town, three hours north.

Secondly, travel preparation for visiting Heroes of the Nation campus don’t require anit-malarial medications. Though Nyahururu is on the equator, it is not hot, steamy, and insect-ridden. Instead, it is situated 7,556 feet above sea level. 80 degree weather at HTN is the norm, and mosquitos are not an issue.

HTNpics (616)
Entrance gate, Heroes of the Nation

Another aspect that makes visiting HTN easy is the Kenyan hospitality. The Heroes Guesthouse is located on our campus, and offers very comfortable accommodations with 11 guestrooms varying in size (all containing their own shower, toilet and sink), a fellowship room with couches and tables, and a huge, covered, outdoor dining area.

HTNpics (978)The Guesthouse has it’s own private kitchen staffed by very competent and loving Kenyans who prepare 3 healthy meals each day for visitors. Staff members at the guesthouse clean the rooms daily, making the beds and tidying up. Fresh towels are provided every few days and laundry is hand washed and hung on a line at the request of the team member. We charge roughly $60 per day for all this, which allows our guesthouse to generate income to finance its maintenance and continued improvements, as well as earn income for our programs at the home and school.

HTNpics (560)And then there’s sight seeing. A trip to Kenya isn’t complete without going on safari! So, besides doing ministry, we spend one day looking for some of Kenya’s most beautiful animals in their natural habitat, including lion, elephant, hippopatamus, cheetah, giraffe, water buffalo, zebra, various monkeys, antelope, and more. Because Lake Nakuru National Park is only an hour from Heroes, it is a likely choice for a team’s safari. Sweetwaters in Mt. Kenya National Park is also quite close, making it another great option for a visiting team. We strategically place the safari day into the schedule to provide for a day to relax in the midst of the busy schedule.

At the end of the stay, children and staff wave goodbye as visitors are transported back to Nairobi airport in the HTN bus to catch their flights homeward. Yes, visiting Heroes is easy, affordable, and fun! For more information on how to join upcoming teams or to inquire about visiting our Kenya campus, contact us via our website at https://htn.org/contact-us/ or reach out to our Assistant Director, Susie Thompson, at susie@htn.org.

 

 

Take a Trip to Heroes!

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
One of our recent teams

Every trip we take to Heroes of the Nation in Kenya is as unique as each member on a team. The schedule, arrangements, ministry focus and down time are mostly determined by the team itself.

HTNpics (1242)
Mia and friends

Doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, business men and women, interior decorators, students and children; all kinds of people can make up each team. And, since each member has their own history with God, it’s always fun to see how He uses the individual stories among each team to make a collective impact and advance His kingdom.

HTNpics (813)
Tim with primary student – April 2017

We’ve already made 3 visits to our Heroes in 2018, and have another on the books for October. Each visit has a primary purpose; to love on and strengthen our kids by teaching them more about Jesus, helping them connect with their heavenly Father and know His love and acceptance. As each trip is planned, we seek God’s guidance for what He wants us to give away as a team, and rely on Him to help us go deep. For example, a recent team was led to teach specifically on worship and the prophetic, fully activating the kids in each subject. Another team taught our grade 5 – 12 kids on Biblical morality, sex, dating and restoration. Then they led small group discussion times which gave the kids a chance to open up and ask lots of questions.

HTNpics (2)
At a Masai church
HTNpics (301)
Jane in the Maina Slum – April 2017

God also has us bringing His message of hope and freedom to the local town (Nyahururu) as well as the nearby tribal lands of the Masai. Our teams visit the local slums, churches, businesses and more as the Lord guides their ministry. Recently, one team was led to walk through the business district in town to pray for businesses and their owners. Another team felt led to hold a crusade in the slums. Whatever the activity, God is always up to something, and it’s a miracle to watch how He weaves together the individual stories among each team to advance His purposes on earth.

To inquire about visiting heroes, reach out to Susie at susie@htn.org.

HTNpics (795)
Reisa in Grade 2 – April 2017