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All Posts By

Cynci Petersen

George

By Project Stories

The journey to support his family and the relief of a goat.

George had a big grin when I met him. He spoke remarkably good English, so we talked a lot as we walked. He wore a plaid shuka around his shoulders, standard for a Massai man here. He shared of his struggles, of his hopes, and of how he and his wife Emily got a goat for the first time this year.

George’s mom got cancer a few years back, a brain tumor, and then she passed away in 2019. The loneliness of that was as fresh as if it were yesterday. He missed his mom. It was written all over him. Perhaps it was because he loved her. Perhaps it was because it was just so scary to think about what would need to happen next. George has five younger siblings, the youngest of which was 3 when his mom died, and now he needed to care for all of them. The pressure to take care of these kids was a lot for a young 24-year-old man.

He started a boda boda business, which in Kenya means he was like a taxi driver on a motorcycle. People got rides on the back of his bike to go anywhere they wanted, but when the Coronavirus hit, people could no longer ride on the back of a motorcycle with a stranger. Very quickly there was no income. How would he survive? He had so many people to take care of. And to add to everything at the time, his wife was pregnant with their first baby (they now have a 6-month-old son).

He, like so many others, had to get creative about what to do. They live near a forested area (well, not the Amazon jungle type of forest, more like the barren brier-filled type of forest) so he began collecting wood and figured out how to sell it. He’s getting by, but when he got a goat from The Hope Venture, it was a huge relief. Every little bit helps and this goat would provide milk for the family. This was especially helpful for the new baby, as the milk provides good nutrition. I could see the hope it brought him.

The grave of his mom was nearby and we went out and prayed for George and his family.

He told me that maybe now God was bringing other blessings into his life. He was touched that someone he had never met from across the globe would provide a goat for him and his family. While nothing could replace the loss of his mom, he could see that there were other people, other acts of kindness, that were reminding him God was still there, still caring for him. It was in his eyes- hope. And it was beautiful.

To impact more families like George’s, donate to our Goat Project today!

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Beatrice

By Project Stories

How a mix-up at a school is now changing lives all over Kenya.

She’s doing WHAAAT now?? She’s working for WHO??

I met Beatrice 10 years ago and had no idea back then what I would know now.

In fact, we weren’t even supposed to meet. We were looking for Eunice Kuyioni, not Beatrice Kuyioni. But when our Hope Venture team (ie, back then it was just two of us, me and Meghan) asked to meet her, the Deputy Principal of the school brought the wrong girl. Our partner found out and was embarrassed and had no idea what to say right in front of Beatrice. So after we left her, after telling her we were so excited to sponsor her, he confessed that the Principal got it wrong and asked what to do. At that time we were sponsoring only a handful of people. This was a big mistake. We didn’t have extra money; we barely could fund the others.

Beatrice grew up in a single-parent family.  Her father died when she was young. She can’t even remember her father. Her older brother and sister managed to finish high school with the help of the community. Their family had nothing except a piece of land. She was in public school for elementary school but the fees for secondary school became unmanageable. At that was the time, her older brother committed suicide due to some of the family problems. This was devastating because he had received an education and was to be the breadwinner and support them all, but now he was gone too. Beatrice could feel the hopelessness. How could both her father and older brother be gone? What were they to do?

That was right before she met Meghan and I.

We didn’t even know this whole story back then. We just couldn’t stand the thought of telling her she wasn’t sponsored… and while that’s not great reasoning for an organization to begin a sponsorship, we decided to ask God to raise up a sponsor for Beatrice. And He did.

I can say that’s the only time that’s happened. But I can’t say now that it was really a mistake. I feel so thankful to get to be a part of Beatrice’s life. You see now, ten years later, after finishing high school and college, Beatrice works for The Hope Venture as part of our Student Sponsorship Team. That’s right, she helps kids just like herself.

As we celebrate 11 years as The Hope Venture this month, I’m reminded of our humble beginnings. We worked in a basement. We didn’t do it all perfectly. But we trusted God one step at a time. And now people like Beatrice have seen God be faithful and so are turning around to spread that joy to someone else. Pretty stinkin’ awesome if you ask me.

To impact more students like Beatrice, donate to College Scholarships.

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Kokal

By Project Stories

The gift of and education and the desire to give back

Kokal, with her beautiful smile and soft-spoken demeanor, is second to last in a family of seven children living in Rangpuri. Her parents were virtually forced to move their family into the city of Delhi, like so many others, in search of work. Her father had incurred much debt trying to survive with his family in the village, so leaving was the only option. Kokal said that once they arrived in Rangpuri that she and her family experienced many days and nights without food and so her parents began to pick through the garbage to find what they could to sustain her and her siblings. When she was five years old her parents were approached by Anuja, a partner of the Hope Venture who was starting a school just around the corner from their little shack. She offered to not only educate Kokal, but to also provide all of the supplies she would need for the entire year. Education is not a priority when survival itself is your greatest stress, so the idea of pursuing an education for any of their children had not been a possibility before. But now, this gift of an education has given Kokal hope… the hope of a different life and the drive to make a difference.

Kokal is now 13 years old and has received more education than any one else in her family. She remembers how excited she was to start to learn the ABC’s in both Hindi and English. Her test scores are very high and she has grown into a quiet and well-spoken leader amongst her peers. As a child she witnessed those who were supposed to protect her community either just not care, or use their authority in destructive ways. She now aspires to become a police officer so that she can go back into the slum and “Stop the wrong doings in society and change it for good.”

To impact more students like Kokal, donate to our Delhi Schools today!

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