Wheels for the World in Elburgon, Kenya 2023: Blog 4
For our last blog post from this trip, Andy Tyas shares his memories of the end of our 2023 Wheels for the World trip to Elburgon, Kenya, to distribute wheelchairs that bring freedom to disabled people. This Christian mission is taking place with our local partner in Elburgon, Pastor Davis from Hope of Glory Church. Here's is the final report.
Days 8, 9 and 10/11: 24th–26th August 2023
No-one went away without help
On Wednesday 23rd, the Wheels team members - both UK and local partners - worked so well together. They managed to provide everyone a mobility device who came for one. All 129 wheelchairs and other mobility aids that we had were distributed, so no disabled person went away without being helped in some way. Praise God! We are grateful to God for his many blessings on this Wheels for the World trip to Kenya. We pray that God will continue to bless the lives of disabled people in Elburgon.
Nature's blessings in Nakura National Park
On Thursday 24th we rose very early before dawn to go to the Nakura National Park. We were accompanied by Pastor Davis’ wife Ruth and their daughter Ann. The vehicle had a roof that lifted so we could see the sights more clearly by standing up. We drove around the park for nearly 5 hours, stopping to look at a great variety of wildlife including Malibu Storks, Monkeys, Bamboons, Impala, Gazelle, Waterbuck, Antelope, Water Buffalo, Zebra, Giraffes and Fish Eagles.
We stopped at the lakeside to see a magnificent display of Flamingos and white pelicans. Then we were fortunate enough to see a rare and endangered group of White Rhino close up, having spotted a group of Black Rhino earlier. After stopping to see a waterfall and ascending to a view point, we returned to Nakura for some welcome refreshments in a local hotel. Later Pastor Davis and Ruth kindly hosted a late lunch for us at their house.
The journey home begins
Friday 25th was our last day in Kenya (boo hoo!). After a unrushed late breakfast we journeyed to Nakuru for a final bit of shopping and then travelled onwards towards Nairobi. After passing tea plantations we took lunch at the Brackenhurst centre – a very peaceful retreat with good food. We were joined by Pastor Joseph and Geraldine, good friends of Pastor Davis who live in Nairobi and who had hosted us for breakfast on our arrival morning. After that onwards through Nairobi to the airport. A final adventure was waiting in the dark by the departure gate due to a power failure. Everyone there was remarkably calm as though it was an everyday occurrence! We all landed safely and travelled home to rest on Sat 26th.
Please contact Shaun firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in a future follow-up Roofbreaker Church Inclusion trip to Elburgon, supporting recipients practically and spiritually.
Wheels for the World in Elburgon, Kenya 2023: Blog 3
Shaun Burrows, our International Missions Manager, is taking on the role of blogger on our Wheels for the World trip to Elburgon, Kenya to distribute wheelchairs to disabled people. This Christian mission is taking place with our local partner in Elburgon, Pastor Davis from Hope of Glory Church. Shaun will be sending back reports when he can -- here's his third report.
Days 5, 6 and 7: 20th–22nd August 2023
Dancing before the Lord
Sunday morning was bright and sunny, as were all the previous days. I felt very much at home watching the large bald Ibis birds pecking for food on the large grass patch opposite the Distribution Centre. The Ibis, common throughout Africa, is commonly known further south as the Ha-de-da because of their loud cries. As we entered the church building the people were already praising God with fervour and expectation. It was wonderful to see four young Maasai men dancing before the Lord. It wasn’t long before everyone had joined in, including the UK team, all of whom are well into our 60’s.
We were delighted to see a few disabled people join the service, some for the first time we were told. They got there using the mobility aid that they had just received at the Distribution. Four hours later we walked back to the hotel for a two-hour rest. In the evening we enjoyed supper with Ps Davis and his family and neighbours.
Meeting complex needs
It wasn’t long before Monday morning arrived, and we were back at the Centre. Many were already sitting on plastic chairs in the early morning sun. The waiting room was being set up and those outside entered and sat down.
We were able to assist several people with complex needs of Cerebral Palsy and Spina Bifida disabilities, including stroke victims. But it never ceases to amaze me the number of people who arrive at our Wheels for the World Distributions who are amputees because of motor vehicle collisions.
Reaching disabled people on the fringes of society
Our partner for this region of Kenya is Bishop Dr Davis Gatua. He is a professor at the University of Nairobi, but affectionately known to us as Ps Davis. He is also our Regional Network Coordinator for our Roofbreaker programme. God has given him a heart to reach and touch the lives of those who find themselves at the fringes of society due to disability. One of our team today referred to Ps Davis as the most tender-hearted person he knows. God has also given Ps Davis the gift of encouragement to those who are the most influential in society. Today he and I were invited to eat lunch in the home of the member of parliament of the local constituency. This lady has the same heart for disabled people as Ps Davis. During lunch she told us that when we return for our planned Roofbreaker event next year she will take us to Nairobi to meet with the president, so that we can encourage him to give more of his attention to the disabled people of his country.
Tomorrow will be our last Wheels for the World Distribution Day. We only have 17 wheelchairs left out of the 129 that arrived in the container. The team are a bit anxious that some disabled people having travelled long distances to get a wheelchair might have to be turned away because there may not be any left. Thursday will be our team day out, an early morning game drive in the Nakuru Game Park, and then lunch with Ps Davis and his family.
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Wheels for the World in Elburgon, Kenya 2023: Blog 2
Shaun Burrows, our International Missions Manager, is taking on the role of blogger on our Wheels for the World trip to Elburgon, Kenya to distribute wheelchairs to disabled people. This Christian mission is taking place with our local partner in Elburgon, Pastor Davis from Hope of Glory Church. Shaun will be sending back reports regularly -- here's his second report.
Days 3, 4 and 5: 18th–20th August 2023
An eventful Friday
Two Wheels for the World teams, one of Kenya volunteers, and the other UK volunteers, merged on Friday morning at 08h00. After committing the day to the Lord, we integrated with the many families who had arrived at the Distribution Centre with their disabled loved ones to receive the gift of a mobility aid appropriate to their disability. Chaos gradually began to give a semblance of order, until …
Around 10am we had visitors! The Majority Leader of the Nakuru County Assembly and the County Executive Committee Member in charge of Social Services arrived with a large entourage. It was the first of a series of visits by a local county and Kenyan parliamentary officials, some from various government departments in Nairobi. Each group engaged in a tour of the Centre, followed by formal speeches. The last group left in the mid-afternoon. Although these kinds of visits come with huge distraction and disruption to the Distribution process, they are vital to build necessary relationships. Government support helps ensure a fully inclusive ministry towards, and with disabled people through all levels of society.
Stories from Esther, and Debra and Ezra
One of the government officials watched a young disabled 16-year-old lady by the name of Esther arriving to receive a mobility aid, carried on her mother’s back. After Esther shared her story, the government official was so touched that he awarded her a full educational scholarship! We also met two other young children, Debra (8) and her brother Ezra (4), both of whom have been unable to walk from birth. They are all very happy that their new wheelchairs will enable all of them to attend church meetings together. A tired, but content Through the Roof team walked slowly back to the hotel about an hour after the sun had set.
The weekend – back to normality!
Saturday, although quieter, was a far more productive and steady Wheels for the World Distribution Day, without much interruption. Kenyan and UK therapists worked alongside each other, two per workstation, ensuring that everyone received an appropriate device and these were all fitted professionally.
On Sunday we attend the meeting at Hope of Glory Church, our partner organisation, led by Pastor Davis. Expect much vibrant praise and worship, with dancing and singing in the presence of the Lord.
Reflection on official government visits
In 2 Timothy 4:21 Paul writes to Timothy and asks him to do his utmost to come to see him before winter. I detected a similar desperation in the members of the Kenyan parliament and county officials who visited on Friday. It was a desperation not for themselves, but for those who are the most vulnerable in their communities - particularly those who are physically disabled. Their hope is that disabled peoples’ lives will be transformed by a simple device called a wheelchair. Many asked when Wheels for the World intends returning with another container of mobility aids and wheelchairs.
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Wheels for the World in Elburgon, Kenya 2023: Blog 1
Shaun Burrows, our International Missions Manager, is taking on the role of blogger on our Wheels for the World trip to Kenya, to distribute wheelchairs to disabled people in Elburgon. This Christian mission is taking place with our local partner in Elburgon, Pastor Davis from Hope of Glory Church. Shaun will be sending back reports when time allows -- here's his first report.
Days 1 and 2: 16th–17th August 2023
The journey to Elburgon
Our Wheels for the World Elburgon team landed in Nairobi, Kenya, yesterday morning just as it was getting light. Our small team comprising Andy, Helen, Mishy, Ai Lian and Shaun met Pastor Davis and his wife Ruth from Hope of Glory Church, just as the sun began to rise early Wednesday morning. It felt good to be back in Africa (I am originally from South Africa) with its dusty roadsides and diesel fumes.
We stopped several times on our four-hour journey to Elburgon to watch Zebra grazing on the road-sides. We sat amongst troops of baboons waiting for scraps of food to be thrown from cars, and happy people going about their daily business. On two of the stops, we had a home-cooked meal served by friends and family of Ps. Davis and Ruth. We arrived at our destination as the sun was setting. The team was thoroughly exhausted after close-on 30 hours of travel, so we retired early.
Preparing for the Distribution Days
We spent the next morning at the Centre sorting out the mobility devices after a thorough orientation by Ps. Davis. This was followed by mutton stew cooked by a few ladies of the church fellowship, overseen by Ruth. I must say that after having hosted many Wheels for the World Distributions over the past fifteen or more years, Ps. Davis has the Distribution process down to a fine art and has involved many volunteers in his community.
Together our two teams of qualified therapists will work side by side to ensure that a service of excellence is given to disabled people in Elburgon and the surrounding areas, as they are fitted professionally, each with a mobility aid that is most appropriate for their physical disability.
A visit in the mountains
Elburgon is about 6000ft above sea level and, although only 60km from the equator, it can be quite chilly. This afternoon we drove a further 1000ft higher towards the mountainous regions to visit a young lad called Emmanual. He was born with macrocephaly who lives with his grandmother. I won’t say too much in this blog about Emmanual, as I will reserve his story for our publications. But what I will say is that it’s a story of God’s hand of provision and healing, amidst the love and care of all those around him.
As we wake early tomorrow for the first Wheels for the World Distribution Day, we have an expectation of God’s presence and provision amongst times of fellowship, sharing, giving and receiving.