Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nyumba Ya Tumaini Visit

Yesterday I walked to Nyumba Ya Tumaini.  It is only about a 30 minute walk and it gives me a chance to explore my surroundings a little more.  I met with Isaya.  He is the manager there and has been there since it began 9 years ago.  The boys were all down the road at a christian camp that they all were able to attend on a scholarship.  Nyumba Ya Tumaini means Home of Hope.  It was the vision of a man named Ben and a friend of his in the UK.  It began as a feeding program for street boys in Nairobi.  The team started by just developing relationships with the boys and inviting them to eat at their church.  At first there was no mention of trying to change their lifestyle in terms of the drugs and stealing because the team knew the boys would not respond well to that.  They first wanted to create an environment of trust.  After a few months they had hundreds of people all ages coming to their feeding program each week and they really wanted to help the younger ones.  They felt that there was a greater chance of life change if they focused on the younger boys, so they kept the feeding program every Sunday for everyone, but added a day when the boys 12 years and younger could come and eat and hang out.  

Eventually, once the relationships were established, they got the home started and invited the boys to come and live there until they could be rehabilitated.  The goal is that the boys will be reintegrated back into their families.  It is a hard process because the boys will lie about their names and about where they came from because they do not want to go back or they are running from the police.  Also most boys are hooked on drugs so they suffer from terrible withdrawal.  They originally brought 30 boys and currently 18 boys live at the home.  At first it was violent and the boys were not in school.  The local schools did not want to admit street boys.  It is interesting to me how similar it is to the U.S. when people did not want a different race or ethnicity to move into their community.  That is how the community felt about these boys from the street coming into the neighborhood and into their schools.  Now things are good and all of the boys are enrolled in school.

Since the beginning eight boys have successfully returned to their families and Isaya continues to follow up with them.  Five boys received vocational training and are now on salary.  Two have become good farmers.  Two are on football scholarship.  This year they have their first candidate for the national exams, the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education.  Sixteen of the current boys have contact with their families right now.  Even with all of their success, they are struggling to make ends meet.  The young adult team from BTCKE is working with them on a couple of income generating projects and have done so much to engage the community to support Nyumba Ya Tumaini. I really enjoyed talking with Isaya.  He feels very called to his work and he believes that if he was not called there then he would have given up a long time ago.  That is my prayer for everyone (including myself)- that we can all find the work we are called to do and love doing it, even when it is difficult.

I did get to meet Oscar. He was one of the first boys that came to live at the home and he is finished with school and now helps at the home.  Through talking to him and listening to his story, it is evident that life on the streets is not something they like to relive and would rather be forgotten.  He is just one of so many that have lived through things I cannot even imagine.  His story is what breaks my heart and yet gives me hope at the same time.  I am really looking forward to returning to Tumaini when all of the boys are there and spending time with them.

This is the start of one of the income generating projects.

This building is where they cook right now, but will also eventually hold a library and a counseling room.

One of the bunk rooms.

                               The store where they keep all of their food.


  1. Your blog posts are great, Jenny! Thanks for keeping all of us updated on the amazing stories and experiences you are having.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful program, thanks for the pictures!!

  3. Thank you for taking time to write all of this! I love hearing and seeing what's going on. You're the best:))