Picture a young Kenyan child who has lost their parent and whose grandparent is forced to take over the role of a mother. They try to do their best in raising this child, but they are elderly; they are ill and unable to work. So there is very little food on the table; the children are dressed in tattered clothing and they are unable to go to school because there is no money to pay their tuition or buy their uniform.
One grandmother asks God how she is going to be able to care for this child. She is burdened with this responsibility. The grandmother is faced with a desperate situation and doesn’t know who to turn to for help. Then she hears of an American who has built a children’s home in a nearby village and is looking for orphan’s to come live in the new home. He will be holding a meeting soon to interview the guardian’s and vetting the children to determine if they are a true orphan. The grandparent cannot believe what she has heard. Could it be possible? Could her grandchild be allowed to live in that home? Could that child have an opportunity that she would never be able to give her?
On the appointed day she cleans the child and dresses her in the only decent clothing she owns: the one that is worn only to church on Sunday. They walk many miles until they arrive at their destination. The grandmother cannot believe what she is seeing. The home is beautiful! There are 2 separate dorm rooms for the boys and the girls! They will have their own bath facilities! There is a big dining hall with tables for so many children to sit at. The Kenyan staff of the home has prepared a big meal to serve everyone before the interview. They fill the plates with so much food, that she cannot believe her eyes. Her grandchild consumes all of it, as do all the other children.
After the meal she and the child join a que with other grandparents/guardians. They will be interviewed by the American, his wife and the mission team that have come with them all the way from Texas. She is nervous because she doesn’t speak English. How will she be able to explain why her grandchild needs help? Thank goodness! A Kenyan interpreter has been provided to translate Kikuyu into English to the visitors.
She is so nervous when it is their turn to be interviewed. But the couple is patient and kind and they seem to understand her desire to give her grandchild a decent place to live, plenty of food to eat and an opportunity to get an education. She can tell that they truly want to help her child and she is so grateful when they accept her into the home! Tears come easily to her eyes. She falls to her knees and raises her hands to the American and thanks him over and over! “Asante, Asante Sana”! “Thank you, thank you very much!” She doesn’t have to worry anymore. God has answered her prayers! The year is 2009.
Fast forward ten years. The grandmother has passed away, but the child has been blessed by her grandmothers’ determination to provide a decent home for her. She was able to see her grandchild grow up being loved, fed, clothed and have the opportunity to go to school and receive a Christian foundation. The child now speaks fluent English and will get an education that will guarantee she will rise above the poverty level that her parent and grandparent lived. The grandmother is finally at peace!
We received 27 children that first year at Little Eden Children’s Home. A lot has happened in 10 years. We now have two separate homes for the boys and the girls. We have farm animals, seven shambas (gardens) that provide food for the children and staff. Those first children are now almost grown. Four are in college, three are in Trade College; soon to graduate and three will be completing Trade Secondary School in a few months. (Trade school is available to those who do not pass their courses to be able to go into Secondary School or College.) The rest of those first children we received in 2009 will be completing Secondary school in the next few years.
We now have a total of 73 boys and girls who are now our grandchildren. We are “Cucu” (ShoSho/Grandmother) and “Guka” (Grandfather) to them. We have taken the responsibility of all those grandparents/guardians who trusted us and that brought their precious children for us to raise over the last 10 years. We all love one another as any family member would. We travel over to Kenya twice a year to see them; in the summer and late November and into December for an early Christmas visit with them. We host a big party with Christmas trees and presents for all the children, staff and their family. Their sponsor’s buy them new shoes every Christmas and write them letters and send little gifts. It is a beautiful time to be with them to celebrate Christ’s birthday! We are joined by missionary teams on each trip over to Little Eden. The rest of the year we stay in contact with them through our wonderful Matron Anne. We burn the phone lines up between Texas and Kenya each week. We count the days until we can return. God has blessed all of us with the true love that we have for each other. The children, our 27 staff members and us!
We would like to invite you to come join us on the first Saturday of every March for the annual Little Eden Children’s Home Fund Raiser that is held at the Columbus Hall in Hempstead at 5 pm. We serve dinner catered by Ben’s Chuck Wagon from Wallis; have a Live and Silent auction and also entertainment. We also sell Kenyan goods in our Gods Mercy Shop, which represents our shop in the local village near Little Eden, where we sell items for additional income for the homes. We always take the opportunity to share a little bit about our boys and girls at Little Eden and we do offer the chance for you to choose a child to sponsor. This will open up the door for you to have a relationship with a child that is just looking for attention and love.
The funds from this yearly event will go toward our children’s Education Fund and to operating expenses. You will truly bless our children with your presence. And believe me; they know how important this night will be for their future! We hope to see you there one of these days. Thank you-----Mike and Sylvia Eden