Saturday, November 28, 2009

Breathin' in and out's a blessing can't you see

My Thanksgiving holiday was filled with blessings. I was so happy to have my husband home, I got news that a dear friend is coming to visit, families that were once not speaking showed great grace on Thursday, and finally at long last my itinerary to London arrived! And yet...Friday morning my husband received horrible news that the orphanage he just returned from was attacked Thursday morning, two girls were raped, the woman who resides with the children at night was beaten severely, supplies were stolen. We were both quite shaken. My husband responded first with a clenched jaw and left the room, later when we where discussing it he was just incredibly pissed. I can't imagine how he and the people who were literally just with those children are feeling. I am quite aware that things like this happen in the US too, but to have just returned from Kenya joyously sharing over 500 minutes of video (I'm not even lying) with family, hundreds of pictures, and just beginning to be able to speak about what was witnessed while there and then read an email about what happened...

When I even let my mind wander to what the kids at HOREC are feeling makes me want to vomit, honest to God the feeling that I need to run to the bathroom is so very strong I am sure if I did actually hang my head of the the toilet I would vomit. I am posting what my husband's contact and now good friend Jennifer who works with HOREC wrote of the tragedy. The husband spoke about insane security measures (steel doors on bedrooms, night watchmen, bars on all windows) that are taken by households in Kenya he stayed in Jennifer's private home so he witnessed first hand and apparently its not just expats that go these measures. I must add that police carry AK-47s but guns are illegal otherwise, as is mace and tasers. Here is what happened:

With terrible grief and heartache I must share terrible news concerning HOREC. On Thursday morning around 1 a.m. approximately 15 thugs broke into the orphanage. They were on a rampage coming from two neighbors’ homes that they had ransacked, beat and cut the people. All the people survived with multiple wounds. HOREC staff and children knew nothing of the havoc going on down the road until they too became victims. The men must have been watching the property because they waited until the night guard went into his house (just a short distance away from the dorm) to escape the rain. They quietly approached the dorm, cut the electricity supply, broke the lock to the front gate and made their way to the corridor of the bathrooms. Between the bathrooms and the girls' room the wall does not go all the way to the roof. Two of the thugs found the space and climbed over the wall landing in the girl’s bedroom. They then got the door open so that the rest could join. With flashlights shining directly in the kid’s eyes that were awake they told the children if they screamed they would be killed. They were carrying axes and machetes. Some of the men cut through the boxes of supplies, some were yelling at the staff to hand over money and cell phones, and others dragged two of the girls to the storage room and raped them. One of the girls is 14 years of age and the other is 10. Both have come from sexually abusive backgrounds. The housemother was being beaten mercilessly as some of the children were climbing under beds to hide. Miraculously some of the kids slept through the whole ordeal. Then, as fast as they had come they left. Their whirlwind was like a hurricane that ripped through bodies, hearts and minds leaving a shattered mess.

It wasn’t until they left that the housemother found a cell phone they had hidden and frantically called Christine. Everyone was praying it was a nightmare from which they would awake. Christine, her husband and the police arrived to find the chaos of screaming children. Both the girls were taken to Nairobi Women’s Hospital and treated then sent back home. One feels helpless at the situation. Questions go through our minds and frustration feels like a heavy weight. I know nothing can be done about what happened but I also know that we can take some action to help prevent the same situation in the future.

Christine and I have made an urgent priority list:
1. We want a counselor to come to the site and counsel not only the two girls but all the children. It will be awhile before they can peacefully sleep through the night but we would like to provide as much comfort as possible. Hiring a counselor will cost $200 for a month.
2. Hiring a security company- The company installs “panic” buttons in the dorm so that if one is pressed, the signal goes straight to the security team and they are sent to the property within minutes. As the orphanage sits about half a mile off the main road and does not have many neighbors it is in a vulnerable area. Having a professional security team (this is a common practice as insecurity is high in Nairobi) gives one a small piece of mind that there will be trained professionals coming to your aid if need be. A security company contract costs $100 per month. Perhaps you want to cover the orphanage for one month of the year or half a month. Whatever you can do will be a big help! I know it is not a sure fire way to keep thieves away but it will give Christine, the staff and the children at least a little piece of mind that there is a way to call for help.

Christine requests prayers for the home and for all involved. The ten-year-old said she recognized the man’s face that raped her. It is someone that she had seen walking by the orphanage. We are praying for justice, protection and healing. If you would like to help with HOREC please send ITHM an earmarked check. We are proceeding with installing the system within one week as well as installing security lights on the outside of the dorm, repairing the broken locks, etc.

Thank you for your love, concern, prayers and support.
Jennifer and Johnny

23223 S. Warmstone Way
Katy, TX 77494

Or you can can send a donation to:

Global Hope
PO Box 1052
Broomfield, CO 80038-1052

write HOREC in the memo

I know this organization personally. This is who my husband went to Kenya with. All proceeds will go to directly to the kids, not to overhead.

We have also learned that the littlest boy Danny who is three was extremely traumatized by the event and was taken to the hospital because he stopped eating. Just keep these people in you thoughts and if you would like to help in any way let me know, we are working on what to do next as far as security goes.

Edited to add: I've received a lot of hits on this post in the last couple of days. I'm very touched by people's generosity. Even if you are not inclined to donate money simply by passing this information along to others can do a lot. Everyone has gifts, some reading will send donations, others may be moved to go to Kenya themselves, others may simply take a moment and put a an extra dime into the salvation army's collection. Simply by passing along information on how to help others is doing good, you never know who or how people will help. Thank you.


pappy said...

ugh...I will help.

Cathy said...

that's just horrifying. sounds like something out of a movie--just too surreal to think your husband just spent time with these people

Jessica K. said...

I am praying for those kids and their caretakers. I can't believe this happened! I am so so sorry!