CLEAR in the highlands

SJM 2017

Posted: 18 July 2017

After our fun-filled adventure on our trip to Kisumu, we had a night's rest before embarking on a full on day. In the morning, we visited the CLEAR office. CLEAR has four offices in Kenya and it was good to be with the partners in a smaller office (in comparison to one in the capital Nairobi which is yet to come!). We had the chance to speak to them and learn about the activities that they were involved in, and encourage them to keep up the good work.

In the afternoon we went to a remand home, where we had a tour around the premises. The conditions in which the children were living in worried us. The dormitories were over-crowded, with children sharing beds, and some of the living spaces had the odour of urine. The remand home housed children in conflict with the law, but also children in need of care and protection. We were concerned that the remand home would not be a suitable place for children in the latter category, many of whom were just picked off the streets or had run away from home. Yet we understood the lack of options available to these children and how the social workers in the remand home were doing their best to provide for them. The head of the home also told us that they kept some children who were overaged, on the basis that conditions in other remand homes could be even more detrimental to their development. Esther gave a talk to the children, telling them the story of Peter walking on water and reminding them to fix their eyes on Jesus in times of difficulty. Her dramatic account of the story, including thrashing about and screaming "I'm sinking!!!" as we imagine Peter would have, kept the children riveted. Jonny also encouraged the children, letting them know that Jesus had died on the cross for them. While other people in the lives of the children would have let them down, Jesus never will. He also reminded them that their faith should influence the way that they act and that their good behaviour could also positively influence their cases.

Apart from the gospel messages, we also heard the criminal charges which the children were facing. The team gave some legal advice to the children, as many of them would be speaking for themselves in court. In particular, there were two children who were facing capital charges, one of whom has never met his advocate and the other having an advocate who had cut him off before even hearing his side of the story. The team left the remand home with a mix of emotions, wondering about the lives of these children and what their futures held for them.

Following the remand home we headed to a fellowship meeting with Christian lawyers, during which Charis shared with us a Bible thought on John 8: 1-11. Our God is not one that forgives arbitrarily – He has paid the penalty for us on the cross. He wants to take our baggage away: while He confronts us with our sin, He also brings with Him the cross. Charis reminded us that justice is met by love and that is the greatest possible freedom we can find. After a heavy day this reminder was timely and encouraging for us as a team.

The next day we went to the courts for a visit, and also had a restful boat ride on Lake Victoria. Seeing hippos in the lake was definitely a highlight for the team. We then said goodbye to our partners and headed to Eldoret. The journey to Eldoret was a highly eventful one. Suffice to say at this point that the trip was not one that any of us had envisioned.

The slightly traumatic experience did not faze us and we set off the next day to the CLEAR office in Eldoret and also a remand home. The visit to the office and meeting our partners was once again encouraging and our team delivered the same gospel message at the remand home. Although we spent a short time in Eldoret, it was nevertheless enjoyable meeting some of the children at the remand home and giving them gifts which we hope would improve their living conditions in a small way.

We are now off to our next and final stop: Nairobi! The team is excited for the learning experiences that are to come and look forward to meeting our partners there. We are setting off in prayer and with the knowledge that the Lord will be with us. Thank you again for being with us on our journey!