by ACT

  • Posted on November 15, 2019


  • Uncategorized

Aaron and Esther (2019)

It’s December 2007 in Nairobi, Kenya. The presidential election campaign had begun two months earlier. Tens of thousands of people had come to Uhuru Park, screaming and chanting with adulation for the opposition leader Raila Odinga. But as the votes slowly came in, it was becoming clear that the incumbent President, Mwai Kibaki, would be declared winner in the presidential race. And so it was. According to the electoral commission, he won with a margin of 230,000 votes. Within minutes of the announcement of the results protests erupted in the streets of Nairobi. Many regarded Kibaki’s victory as electoral manipulation. To quash the protests which had been largely peaceful, the police enforced a government ban, brutally attacking the protesting crowd and leaving several hundred civilians dead. This response led to the inter-ethnic violence which then broke out across the country. In Kenya’s Western region, the base of the defeated opposition leader Raila Odinga, the violence was ferocious. This brings us to Mount Elgon in the Western region, close to the border with Uganda. Tribal clashes that predated the electoral protests was reignited by the riot and fuelled the violence that ensued. It resulted in torture and murder of hundreds of people and left many more displaced.

Esther and Aaron are twins born in 2002 into a family of five, in a village near Mount Elgon. Within 5 years of their birth, the relative stability they had enjoyed in their family had disappeared. The political violence in December 2007 brutally took their father from them. The story of his death is harrowing and difficult to read. He was decapitated, with his body parts scattered as a warning to others in his village. This marked the beginning of untold suffering for the family and particularly the 5-year-old twins. The loss of the bread winner, given that their mother did not work but stayed home to look after the young children, it was a rapid drop down the steep road into poverty for the family. There was no one to turn to, not even their relatives. The violence had affected not just them but other villagers also. It became an inescapable cycle of heavy labour, denial of access to food and limited freedom that claimed the childhood of these twins.

Susan with her child and other kids.

In their grief and sorrows their mother then passed away. She had not been the same since the tragic murder of her husband. Responsibility for the twins passed on to Susan, the eldest in the family. With both parents dead and relatives not interested or able to help, in 2009 and just 17 years old, Susan packed their few belongings together, took her younger siblings and started on a trek to get as far away as possible from their village. It took them to Amagoro, near Kamuriai Town in Busia County about 60Km from Mount Elgon. Susan went to work on a farm to feed her siblings. There she met Peter who was slightly older. He proposed marriage, but she would only agree if her siblings could live with them. Peter agreed. Together they brought up Esther and Aaron, on their meagre farm takings and shared the little hut that Peter had built.  They sent Aron and Esther to primary school but could not afford the fees for them to go to secondary school. The kids stayed home and helped with work on the land. The family came to the attention of our Kenyan partner, Jesus to all Nations. In 2016 the twins were supported by ACT and was the beginning of change for the family. They began to have hope for a better future. But even in their poverty, Susan’s generosity had no bounds. She adopted an orphan girl, Topister, who was loitering around their hut and begging for food. This was at the same time as she was looking after the twins. In  2018 ACT enrolled Topister in our child sponsorship programme, which covers school fees, school uniforms, shoes, educational and welfare needs. All three children are now in secondary school and doing very well. ACT has also assisted Susan to set up chicken farming. She also keeps a sheep and a goat for sustainable income generation.

“In a twinkling of an eye our lives have become wonderful”. [Aaron Kemoi, 2019]

Susan (2nd from right) with Peter, Topister and the visiting ACT team (2018)

Susan and the children now have hope for a better life and a future free from poverty. Aaron’s dream is to be a doctor and Esther hopes to study Law. Topister’s ambition is to be a nurse. With your support their dreams can be made possible. ACT is for those otherwise forgotten! You also can ACT!

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