Keeping a child away from the street

Visit from Hersbruck Stadtkirche parish – time is always too short

We have known the project for more than 15 years now. We - that is our parish from Hersbruck Stadtkirche - a nice little town 25 km east of Nürnberg in Bavaria. It was our pastor who had read about the PLCC and made it known to others in the parish. Since then we have been interested in what was going in the suburbs of Nairobi in the PLCC. We collected money and found ways to support the project financially. After so many years it was high time to get to know face to face all the people who are working in the project and - of course - meet some of the girls. The delegation of the parish grew quickly to eight persons and on September 28, 2013. We took off for Nairobi. Quite exciting - for some of us it was the first trip to Africa. We had been well prepared by Claudia Heiß who had planned the trip perfectly with us. She and her husband Friedrich were our perfect guides during our days in Ongata Rongai.

The airport burnt down, terrorists in the Westgate Mall just one week before our departure - some people at home asked us if we really wanted to go there. We wanted to! Our first night was quite short. We were the first guests in the newly built guesthouse in Ongata Rongai. Congratulations. None of us had expected such a nice and comfortable house. Our first visit on Sunday morning was to the Nairobi International Lutheran Congregation in Dagoretti. We attended the English service and were warmly welcomed by pastor Mike Fonner. And after some words in the sun we enjoyed parts of the Kiswahili service as well. In the evening we spent time with the girls. They had invited us, showed us around their house, had cooked dinner for us and told us about heir lives. We enjoyed the evening. Quite astonishing for us: Not a single word was spoken during dinner.

The next day we had the chance to know the Pangani-House. We went past slums, markets and chic housing areas. Wealth and poverty is so close together. In some areas we were really shocked. And we learnt one thing: In Nairobi you spend half the day in a traffic jam. At some times of the day it is quicker to walk. Anyway - we had a good time together on our bus (thanks to Ali, our fabulous driver!) and saw the country and life pass by. Quite impressing. Finally arrived at the Pangani House we were introduced to the girls - who had prepared a song for us - and the staff. We learnt so much about their work there. Thank you - all of you are doing a wonderful job. And what a surprise: we were really spoilt with lots of presents. There are many encouraging stories to tell and things to show at home. We are looking forward to hearing from you and seeing you again.

October 3rd is a national holiday in Germany: The Day of German Unity. We were lucky to be invited to the celebrations at the Ambassador's Residence. Quite an experience and lots of interesting talks to people. And to make us feel at home: German food and sausages. Food in Kenya - yes - we enjoyed fresh pineapples, pawpaws and mango for breakfast. We even took bananas and sweet potatoes home.

Of course, we also had time to enjoy the wonderful nature and animals of Kenya. Who would expect zebras and giraffes to cross the road and make you brake in Germany? Trips to Nairobi National Park, the Elephant Orphanage and Rift Valley completed our journey.

The annual conference of the KELC was also part of our programme. We heard about progress and problems and listened to the annual report.

Most of us had only nine days in Ongata Rongai. Our experiences could have filled four weeks, though. Every day the girls in Ongata Rongai were waiting for us and we had much fun playing and singing together. On Saturday we spent the whole day with them, watched them clean the house and wash their school uniforms and tried to do some juggling with the toys we had brought for them. They love singing and the rhythm they have got was fascinating. No wonder there was much singing and clapping in the Sunday service in Ongata Rongai. The small church - a former henhouse made of corrugated iron - was so full of life! We and other guests from the German Nordkirche had lunch together and this gave us another chance to discuss our experiences in Nairobi.

Time flew by so quickly. None of us wanted to go back home on Sunday night. There were many tears, not only in the girls´eyes. Thank you for having made us spend a wonderful week. Thank you for sharing your lives and experiences with us. Part of our hearts stays with you in Kenya. We will pray for each other. God bless you and the work you do.

Our visit to Nairobi gave us many new ideas of how this partnership and friendship could be developed further. On the 24th of November there will be our annual bazaar. Many artists from our town sell their products there and part of the revenue will go to the PLCC as the years before. We will also sell products from Kenya and especially PAWENA weavers there.