1 November 2011, All Saints Day
“ Our children have rights – God given rights – to the necessities of life and to the things that will prepare them for later life.”
– Fr. Flanagan, Founder of Boys Town
Greetings of Peace and Love from your brother and family here in Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa. We pray for you every day and I hope this letter finds you in good spirits and good health. Here in Kenya, life has become very difficult for us. The number of hungry Kenyans has reached 11 million during this past year with so many starving to death. The UN said this was the worst famine in 60 years. Pope Benedict XVI has asked for aid to our drought stricken land. We continue to have a water shortage which makes water and food more expensive than ever. We sometimes find it difficult to go on. We are still one of the most corrupt countries in the world and this contributes so much to the economic distress that burdens us. I believe you recall the massive violence that broke out here in our election of 2007. During that time, 1,133 persons died and 650,000 were displaced. Many were tortured, raped and mutilated. Now in an effort to hold the guilty accountable, some of our political leaders and their associates have been taken to the International Criminal Court at the Hague in the Netherlands. We are still waiting for the results as we pray for justice. Please pray for us as we continue to pray for you.
My missionary work remains the same while the volume increases. I have been in Kenya over 8 years (I worked 2 l/2 years in Uganda before coming here so now I’m in East Africa for 10 ½ years). I have been teaching at the Seminary of The Contemplative Evangelizers of The Heart of Christ. On October 14th, 10 of my students were ordained deacons. We look forward to their priestly ordination. I continue to work with the Missionaries of Charity (the Sisters of Mother Teresa). Besides offering mass and confessions for them every week, I also give them spiritual talks as well as doing the funerals when their cripple children die. I also help the parish of St. Michaels by offering the English Mass on Sundays as well as baptisms and weddings. Our parish is situated next to the biggest slum in Africa: Kibera Slum which is 1.5 million people in 630 acres with over 100,000 orphans. The Sisters live next to the parish and we work together to help those in the slums. I have a home not far from that slum where some of these youth can have a better life. Our family now has 35 members; Wairimu and her 2 children, Teresia and Andrew; Monica and her 2 children, Bridget and Teddy who is named after me; Justin and Binah and their daughter Dorothy who is named after my mom; Ben and Eddah and their daughter Whitney; Gilbert and Lillian and their children David, Frank and Dorothy (also named after my mom); Teresia and her son Kamau; Patrick, Job, Joe (who has joined the seminary); Joshua, James, Haron, Isaac, Johnston, Titus, Alex, and 6 in high school; Peru, Rogers, Dancan, Jamlick, Eddy and Mary. The gifts that you send is used to help these youth and others to have a better life. They are all deprived and have suffered much for various reasons.
In the last few months, we have had our share of tragedies. On August 23rd, one of these youths, Dancan was almost killed in a head on collision. I spent the week with him assisting him. Then Haron was poked in the eye by a drunken policeman. He had two operations and when he got out of the hospital, and even up to now, he can’t see out of that eye. Meanwhile Peru was attached by three thugs who tried to beat him and take what they could from him. Peru did not get hurt even though they struck him with a machete. Another one of our youth, Gilbert, was not able to pay the money he borrowed for his daughter’s hospital bill so the lenders sent the police after him. The police put Gilbert in jail and tortured him so badly that he couldn’t walk. I paid a high price to get him out. Worse of all, Joshua’s sister was raped and beaten so bad that she died the next day. A week later another boy was attacked by three thugs who beat him and took all the money that he worked so hard for. The next day another two youths were robbed the third time of everything in their apartment. Recently, another one of my youth was falsely accused of stealing a phone and was put in jail, beaten very badly by the police, and I had to pay a high price to get him out. And there are more stories of corruption and violence but I think this is enough for you to pray very seriously for us. As a result of all this, I am in financial trouble because of all the hospital bills and the other expenses that have come so quickly. Without your help, we cannot go on. We thank you for your kindness in supporting these youth and others. May God bless you more and more!
The shoulder replacement surgery that I had on April 26th last year in Chicago continues very slowly to improve with therapy. I had it checked when I came to the USA this past May. I was able to visit family and friends and especially my mom who continues to do her best in the Lutheran Nursing Home of Mendota, Illinois. We had many good times together visiting but never enough time to see everyone. I was able to do some preaching for our mission work here in Africa, and I am very grateful for all I met during this time and for the great support that was offered. Thank you so much! We are praying for you!