The Ileho Community Centre for Social Services
Oscar Siema Mmbali, Director
Protecting and Caring for Women, Children and Youth in Western Kenya
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Letters From Kenya
An Occasional Column by Director Oscar Siema Mmbali
WORKING WITH ICCSS
Working with ICCSS is a great and unique experience. It is an experience where one encounters challenges on a daily basis. It in this experiences that one comes to understand himself more deeper. It is a context where one comes to terms with him/herself in a unique sense. It is a context that defines humanity. At ICCSS, one discovers greater extends to go. It is where one's unveiled visions will be revealed through experiences and situations.
We welcome readers to make one more step to get involved with ICCSS and uniquely experience themselves through participating in the lives of the suffering. This is an experience that has ultra capacity to transform oneself in an extra-ordinary way through his/her participation in transforming other people's lives.
The vision to begin ICCSS was evolutionary. It gradually emerged out of my pastoral encounters with suffering women, youth and orphans. It was a context where many unanswered questions stood firm and unconfronted. It was an unmovable reality whose only solution was to face it. This terrific giant tormented lives, destroyed numerous others, circumstantially proved unchallenged as it strangled the mass helpless women, youth, and children.It had mutilated the ability of both religious and secular agencies. It had suffocated their passion for change. However, the greatest moment of hope began with my encounter with Cynthia Abatt. Her compassionate interest in my dream was a revival in itself. Cynthia continued to stand with me as I gathered my strength to create hope. For more than four years now she has never gotten tired to write, support, counsel, and sacrificially stand with us.
I have had enough of the helpless cries. I have read the faces of the dead I bury in whose mood I have heard the question: What will happen to my children? Who will stand by them? Will you be there for them? What is Christ going to do about their situation?. I have baptized infants whose parents died because of HIV/AIDS. This is not because it is killer disease, but because there was no one to intervene. ''This is a situation we would have dealt with''. I say to my own heart as a baptize this infant into a new life and hope. She/he is a hero who emerges to live as an orphan. But who will be there to affirm her /him, when the torments of life invade her vulnerable life?.
Working in Sub Saharan Africa is a unique experience. We live and struggle in the land where political systems have failed. There is a great wailing, and persistent lamentation of the innocent helpless lives whose only cry is to be given an opportunity to live. It is a cry for hope voiced out in the context of marginalization, violence, starvation, oppression, natural and social fate, and enormous future uncertainties. It is a context where hope is only defined by doing something transformational about the situation of these people.
I have grieved with women who loose their children, their loved ones and sole hope by which they define their future. The flooded tears rolling from their eyes tells uncounted stories concerning their sacrificial effort they tried to make in order to raise these children. I sigh with great pain, I am deeply tormented, but I have to become a wounded healer. Cry and heal Oh daughter of Africa, cheer up for we have along way to go. We must make life out of this death. We must overcome in solidarity. Though death has proven you unworthy, we can create life to disapprove death. You live only for one purpose: To win and overcome. I have visited desperate homes, I haven't answered questions of life and death which orphans ask. But I should be there to help them understand that they can live and overcome. That is the only question I can answer.
All the time I walk or sleep, I have in mind and heart, this homeless widow, this desperate orphan this addicted young man or woman. These great crowds persistently ask if there is a reason to live. I say yes, let us travel together in these challenges. We must overcome and gain the reason for our being. ''Give me your dead son'' I say to the bereaved widow as I hold in my hands her only son. I look at the unmerciful grave, this red soil starving for the dead, and eager to swallow this young man. ''I have no choice but to swallow him''. It seems to suggest in a rhetorical manner. I only receive those death has trapped and subjected to non existence. Perhaps those you did not help from the jaws of this unmerciful monster who swallows the poor's hope''. Yes, you are a slave to death you unmerciful grave! But I am not subject to what is anti life. I have a choice. I have options. My choice is to work with the poor and the helpless to create life. This is our choice, the only choice. Listen to me please you the surrounding. May I please speak to you Oh distant lands! I invite you all to come and help! Let us create life. We have this choice-to create life and hope.
This is my conviction. Death, trouble, pain, suffering as revealed in poverty, structural injustices, underdevelopment and natural fate is a reality. But we have a choice to create hope and life. We have the opportunity and we welcome those who can experience this through this piece of writing to come and work with us to transform lives.
(click on the blue sweater to donate)All donations are greatly appreciated. We know times are difficult and appreciate your effort all the more for it.
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