St. Clarion Call
On March 29, 2012 the St. Clare Girls’ Center Photojournalism Class held its first press conference and photo shoot. Madam Sue and Mr. Bud Ozar, long-time benefactors of St. Clare and the founders of “Friends of Kenyan Orphans, Inc.” (FOKO) were here at St Clare for their annual visit. Since 2006, this couple has spent incredible energy and endless hours soliciting support for the girls and the school. A large part of the school building is witness to their efforts as is the number of girls sponsored by FOKO. The girls had many questions to ask Sue and Bud.
Nancy: Where do you come from and where is your home now?
Md. Sue: I was born in Pennsylvania in a town called Reading. Mr. Bud and I both live in Michigan now.
Mr. Bud: I was born in Michigan and I live in Michigan with Md. Sue. We sometimes spend 1 or 2 months in Kenya.
Beatrice: When you first visited Kenya, were you coming as a tourist or did you have a plan to come and start your mission of helping the needy?
Md. Sue: We belonged to a lay mission group in our country and we were first sent to Samoa Island in the Pacific Ocean for 3 years as missionaries. After the 3 years we were sent to Meru to work in the year 2006.I started teaching at St. Dominic in Meru and I saw very little work for me to do there. Since I was energetic I decided to ask for more classes and I got to teach at St. Francis and St Clare. I was always inspired to work with the poor since middle school, throughout college, and now in my real life.
Purity: How did you meet Father Riwa?
Mr. Bud: I was working in the Diocese of Meru at Bishop Mugambi’s Office where my mission sent me. Father Riwa used to come there regularly and one day he came into my office and told me that he would like us to visit his children’s home at Nchiru. When I visited the girls’ school I was touched and felt that I should do something to help him in running his mission. Before I left for the U.S.A. I promised him to raise the money for the building of the school. I believe this is the year that you will see the school complete.
Md. Sue I had the desire to help the needy and when we returned from Kenya and he talked to me about helping Fr. Riwa in completing the Girls’ school, I immediately agreed. We dedicated ourselves fully to helping Fr. Riwa because we believe in his mission, and (she laughed) because he is a smart man.
Caren: What inspired you to help Father Riwa and help the needy children?
Md. Sue: I always wanted to help the poor. Something that is found deep in me that always showed me that I need to serve God through poor people.
Mr. Bud: When Father Riwa visited me frequently I learned to love him by the way he lived simply and was honest. It made me want to support him to help the poor.
Irene A.: Are there suffering girls and boys in your country and if there are, what made you leave them and come to Kenya to help the poor girls here?
Md. Sue: Yes, there are. Our interest was to come to Kenya, Africa to help and so our missions focused on the needs of Kenyans.
Mr. Bud: This was a call from God. We had to respond to it.
Mercy: Did you two agree and come up with the plan to help St. Clare together, or did one of you think of it first?
Mr. Bud: It was a natural idea. We both felt that we were still connected to the children in Kenya. We were most impressed by Fr. Riwa and even the smart girls at the children’s home impressed us.
Md. Sue: We felt that we needed to help, and it took us a long time to think and pray about it. God helped us with finances and we started our mission. Although we knew that Father helped both girls and boys, we decided to put our energies into St. Clare rather than St. Francis.
Claudia: When did you start your mission of helping St. Clare?
Md. Sue: I came in 2008 and taught English in both St. Francis and St. Clare.
PART 2 OF THE INTERVIEW WILL APPEAR ON MARCH 26.
(Madam Sue and Mr. Bud Ozar along with members of the St. Clare Girls’ Center Photojournalism Class.)