Posts Tagged ‘St. Francis Home for Boys’
Father Riwa, along with Bud and Sue Ozar, had a lengthy visit with Joseph Mutuma (now JOE on campus). Joseph was the recipient of the full tuition, room and board scholarship offered by Chestnut Hill College for both a BA and an MA degree. Along with the Ozars, Joseph is most grateful to the Sisters of St Joseph for their generosity.
Joseph reflected on the powerful education he is receiving at Chestnut Hill where he has learned to be an independent thinker. He realizes the Kenyan educational system is focused on memorization and the focus in the U.S. centers on critical thinking. So Joseph communicates with his Kenyan brothers from the Children’s Village who are currently studying in Nairobi, counseling them to be original thinkers. Joseph also assists Chestnut Hill students, as he is a resident advisor.
He shared reflections on a visit to the U.N. where he was the Kenyan voice with an international student group meeting to offer solutions on issues affecting the developing world.
Father Riwa, along with Bud and Sue Ozar, met with Steve Bennett at an Italian restaurant in Chicago on their way to Dubuque, Iowa. Steve’s home is in Texas, but he flew to Chicago to meet Father. A generous benefactor of the Children’s Village, Steve provided the funds to complete the septic system and provide a means for bringing the grey water out of the fields for crop irrigation.
A delightful evening was spent with Steve as he led a conversation focused on the priority of the needs at St. Clare Centre for Girls and St. Francis Home for Boys. Father Riwa explained the most serious needs is FOOD SECURITY. An irrigation system needs to be created at the three farming sites serving St. Clare and St. Francis to assume that the crops get enough water to yield an annual harvest. In addition, green houses are needed in order to plant the vegetables which are not hardy enough to withstand the climate, but which would thrive in a green house environment.
Will Father Riwa be spotted next in Iowa? Stay tuned and find out!
Wanting to learn about how to involve people in caring for those in need in the community, Father Riwa visited Manna Meals and Day House in Detroit. Father wants to start involving the older children at the Children’s Village in caring for the local home bound, who are dying of AIDS and cannot care for themselves. These people have been shunned as “unclean” by their villages. Children from the Children’s Village would assist in washing these folks, clothing them, feeding them, tilling, planting and harvesting their small kitchen gardens. It is his vision that the boys from The Children’s Village can till the small plots of land and the girls can sew the seeds. Together these children can harvest food for those too week to do this. With food and good nutrition, those who are ill will gain some strength.
As a result, Father wanted to visit Manna Meals to see how the youth here come from high school to assist. Father always says, “To whom much is given, much is expected. Our children must learn to be leaders by leading and they can lead by caring for the dying who no one wants to touch. Others have saved our children. Now they must give back to the community by helping those who no one wants to help.”
Pictured here are young men from University of Detroit Jesuit High School. Four seniors spent time with Father. In addition, Father Riwa is also pictured with Father Tom Lumpkin, direction of Manna Meals and the Detroit Catholic Worker House.
Joining the group traveling to Kenya in February are Andy and Cathy Cahill from Central Jersey near the Jersey Shore. Cathy is a pediatric nurse practitioner and will work with children who are HIV/AIDS positive. Andy is an investment manager for FirstCity Crestone, LLC and will focus on creating a video and photographic record of St. Clare.
The Cahills will join three others and spend two weeks at the St. Clare campus of the Children’s Village lending their skills and expertise to improve the life of the children and lend their skills to the staff.
The Cahills depart from New Jersey on February 10 and will return on February 26.
Mr. Zumba is a very busy man throughout the year, but especially at Christmas. Mr. Zumba, the music teacher at St. Clare, works hard teaching music to his students. Mr. Zumba also wrote the St. Clare anthem, which the girls sing each day and has been at St. Clare for some time, perhaps the longest. However, Mr. Z also doubles as the choir director of the parish choir at St. Rita, which is made up of students from St. Clare and St. Francis as well as parishioners from the village of Nchiru.
This is just another way in which the St. Clare staff give to the community of Nchiru.
In the picture, Mr. Z is pulling out all the stops, giving it his best by combining dance and song, extremely important parts of African culture.
The children in the Children’s Village in Nchiru have a multitude of abilities, including wonderful musical talents. The boys from St. Francis and the girls from St. Clare learned to sing and dance as very small children and these young people are great! Several of the children have become involved with the parish choir at St.Rita in Nchiru. These children are giving back their talents to the community and also interacting with folks from the local Nchiru village community.
In the photos, the choir members from St. Francis and St. Clare are interspersed with the adult choir members. The children are wearing their white uniform shirts as they clearly contribute to the musical celebration.
Mr. Peter Githae wears many hats. When the previous principal, Madam Edna, departed unexpectedly due to medical reasons, Mr. Githae became the new principal. As the new principal at St. Clare, he is also considered the head master and head teacher.
Mr. Githae did not have to travel far for he was the principal at St. Francis, the boys’ facility just a half mile down the road. He had served for two years at St. Francis. Fr. Riwa wanted someone experienced at St. Clare so he asked Mr. Githae to move down the road.
The big challenge Mr. Githae will face is the retention of teachers. In Kenya, people take a job were they can find one and for most people it can be hundreds of miles from their families. This is true for teachers also. In addition, because St. Clare is always in session, the teachers at St. Clare have only one break a year for two weeks at Christmas time. So Mr. Githae and the sisters are working diligently at strategies to retain quality teachers.
When we built the septic tank we thought we were only building a sewage system to protect the children from cholera. Many of the children from St. Clare and St. Francis are members of the parish choir. Clever and creative, the parish choir found another use for the top of the huge septic tank. It is a STAGE for their songs and dances.
The dance is always slow and rhythmic and usually performed to the beat of a drum.
Notice the men with their hands over their heads holding a rectangular box. This box contains seeds, carefully placed in a rectangular box and when shaken in a skilled manner gives forth a unique sound.
So drums and seeds are the background music for the performance. Broadway has nothing on the wonderful singers and dancers from the parish and from St. Clare and St. Francis Schools!
The girls at St. Clare have the best seat in the house!
Joseph Mutuma was in the first graduating class at the Children’s Village. Sue was able to get him a full scholarship at her alma mater, Chestnut Hill College, where Joseph is excelling. He carries 18 hours and manages to work 20 hours a week and still maintain a 3.83 GPA. He is a great example of the type of young people at St. Clare and St. Francis.
At a recent scholarship event Joseph wrote to Sue: “Everybody knew about you and your work at today’s scholarship gala. Your work was the hallmark of today’s speech by the college’s president. It was just fantastic and I would want to see that your work continue to be recognized after I graduate. I have countless stories to tell, but just know that so far this has been my best moment in CHC.”
Jim McLaughlin, the director of International Students at Chestnut Hill College, has been Joseph’s guide into the American culture on campus. He wrote “Joseph is truly extraordinary; we are so lucky to have him on campus. He continually amazes me.”
Joseph is a living witness to the importance of the Children’s Village.
Joseph Mutuma was in the first graduating class at the Children’s Village and received a four year scholarship to attend Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. Many of the alumna of Chestnut Hill donated to bring Joseph to Philadelphia. Joseph has proven to be a wonderful investment.
Joseph has a grade point average of 3.72, is on the National Honor Society and the Dean’s List. He was also honored by the college for outstanding academic achievement, service to the community and leadership.
Joseph is carrying double majors in Computer and Informational Sciences and also Accounting. He is also a member of the International Students Organization.
Joseph was twice orphaned and found his way to Fr. Riwa. It is the generosity of the administration of Chestnut Hill College and the alumna who have created this success story.
Investing in the vision of Fr. Riwa is a sound investment.