This cause chapter of my life is the foundation of my world view. It forever has shaped the way I interact with my neighbors locally and internationally.
Boniface Serves the Street Kids in Downtown Nairobi, Kenya
On the sidewalks, in the alleys and on every hidden corner of our planet millions of street children tried to sleep last night...cold hungry, abandoned and alone, exposed to predators. Everyday the number grows as more children struggle for survival by fighting for scraps of food and searching for a warm place to sleep.
Meet Pastor Boniface Mwalimu. A man who sees past the darkness that they are living in. He focus's his energy on sharing the gospel with them; casting light into the dark places in inner city Nairobi. He has been consistent physical presence for over 13 years. A father figure that helps reconcile runways back into their homes, and helps find small jobs for others.
These children have found an escape from their emotional and physical pains by inhaling small bottles of glue. Orphaned, barefoot and malnourished they habitually spend the scarce money that they do earn from odd jobs not on food or water but on a more immediate fix. Incidentally the same solvent-based glue that the wider world uses to cement shoes together. With plastic bottle perched at their mouths, the children breath in the glues toxic fumes destroying brain cells until they pass out or fall asleep forever.
If you were to visit Pastor Boniface and his ministry you would ride into Nairobi early in the morning, and wait for the boys to stagger in to line up against a brightly colored local business wall. Taking the glue bottles away from them, he preaches from the Bible (some boys even know memory verses) and hands out milk and bread to each. This meal may the the only real nourishment that they receive for the day. Then they disperse in the morning darkness before the police would come to try to break up the meeting. From there you would either go with Boniface to the next destination or back to a place 30 minutes outside the city, where the surrounding land is still being developed.
One past visitor writes on his blog, "the day literally starts to change from darkness into light."
You would come along a place that seems too good to be true after what you just have seen in downtown Nairobi. The Liberty House is first a home to Pastor Boniface and his family, yet it doubles as a place of refuge and rehabilitation for the street children. It is not a orphanage, it is a home that proclaims to the boys ARISE and SHINE for your light has come. Since the opening of the Liberty House in 2008 as many as 15 boys have based there and as few as 2, it depends on each individuals need and the discretion of Pastor Boniface.
The vision is still not complete, yet a strong foundation has been laid. The hope is to let this house proclaim LIBERTY to all that come for help. Teaching the boys skills to get jobs, to break the cycle of poverty, in the past has been successful. With the upcoming addition of a Boarhole (Water Well) in 2013, the land will now start to produce agriculture. Its exciting to see what other projects and ideas will spring forth in the future with the new addition of clean water!
Please continue to pray for Boniface and his family as he continues to serve faithfully in this ministry. If you would like to follow Boniface on Twitter his handle is @LibertyHouse254. And if you are given the chance to go to Kenya, please make a point to spend some time serving with him and listening to his story in person. As always feel free to contact me with any questions.
Timeline of Events
- Susana Bolding buys land in Kitengela, Nairobi for Pastor Boniface after a solo trip to Kenya as a student at Lee University
- Boniface continunes to serve the street children in Nairobi. He wakes them up, gathers them on a specified street and feeds them bread and milk. He shares encouragement and hope from the Bible. With runaway children he connects the kids back to their families, and provides mentorship for all who are willing.
- Jenne and Boniface Meet on Baylor's Youth Sports Mission Trip
- Production of CD of Street Kids original songs, in conjunction with
- CD Release Concert: Asante Mungu Baba (Thank You Our Father)
- Raise Funds to lay foundation/ water tank, fence and trees around the property
- Patrick and Justin (Street Kids) living in the Tin House on the land
- Ben Carroll spends the Fall semester in Nairobi and Boniface
- Jenne returns with Baylor Team, see the land where Liberty House is to be built
- Benefit Concert
- Liberty House starts to be built!
- Jenne Returns with UBC Waco Team
If you are not able to physically go, check out this video my friend Q made in 2007 to know more about Boniface's story. This video gives insight into his life before the Liberty House was built.
- Benefit Concert, money raised buys the Van for ministry to travel from LH into downtown Nairobi.
- Boniface visits Waco Texas and speaks at Baylor's Chapel and UBC Waco
- Baylor takes first Athletic Mission trip with Wes Yeary slashing/painting/trees,
- Sam Best spends the summer with Boniface (or was this 2011)
- UBC Return to Liberty House
- Baylor Athletics Return to the Liberty Worked on the housefront gate and fences
- Baylor Women's Leadership Team with Baylor First Lady Alice Starr visits the Liberty House
- Baylor Athletics Return to the Liberty House where they built a goat pen and helped with upkeep of the land
- Jenne, her sister Elissa and Ben Carroll return to install water Boarhole (complications with money transfer and government regulations, project is stalled)
- Boniface gets into auto accident and totals the van
- Baylor Athletics Return with a focus on gardening and car repair
- Baylor Athletics Return, Water Piped in to Liberty House and water irrigation project, also worked on various fencing projects.
- Baylor not allowed to go to Kenya due to political uprising, all trips routed to Zambia
* Each year Baylor Athletics has served in Kenya they have worked two days with Boniafce serving the street kids in downtown Nairobi. And the last three years they have also held a sports clinic at "City Park" for the street kids along with the morning feeding.
Words from the people who have spent time with Boniface.
Thurs. 5-21-09- Melissa
Today we woke up at 4:30am to feed the street kids with Pastor Boniface.
It is hard to describe this experience in words, but I’ll do the best i can! Boniface wakes up at about 3am three days a week to minister and feed these children. We were lucky enough to be able to experience what that is really like.
side note: Most of these boys struggle with glue addiction. Because of their immense hunger pangs and abuse they endure on the streets…the glue numbs their pain.
We walked up to a street, in the darkness of the early morning…against the wall sat a few boys awaiting our arrival. When we walked up the kids stood up and shook our hands. They told us their names and ages. Slowly but surely more and more boys showed up. They again, greeted us and sat down against the wall.
There were about 20 street boys and we were all gathered together in the quietness of the morning. Pastor Boniface’s brother preached about hell, and about how hell is much worse then anything they have experienced. He went on to talk about how we have a choice everyday to live for God and he will provide. The boys sat and listened…some nodded their heads and were connecting with the message, others slept in assurance of safety.
After he finished preaching Pastor Boniface asked each one of us to go up and pray with the boys. We all held hands with the person we were praying for and we tried to find the words through God to say what they needed to hear.
After we were done we handed out two bags of milk and six pieces of bread to each boy. They quickly drank and ate the milk. This was different from any other outreach i had ever done. Feeding the homeless in America is a completely different ball game then giving food to these children.
After that emotion filled morning we went to Boniface’s land. This was amazing to see because Baylor and UBC has had some much influence in Boniface’s vision. Basically…he has laid his life down for these street children. Once he feels they are sober and personally feels they are ready for the transition he takes them into the Liberty House house and provides a future for these children.
We helped Boniface at his house… we planted trees and painted bathrooms. Then we saw a herd of zebra’s in the distance! We ran out there and took a bunch of pictures. It was amazing to see God work in two very different ways. Through a man with a vision and through the beauty of land. God is moving in Africa.
It was a full day with a lot of emotion, i know we all took away the beautiful message that Boniface lives out everyday. He listened to God calling, even though it wasn’t necessary what he had planned for his life….he followed and now is a saving grace for children on the streets.
None of the success of these concerts and matching grants totally over $120,000 could have been achieved without the amazing support of the Baylor community. Thank you to all the supportive friends and family. This season was by far the most miraculous, in terms of outpouring of time and money to help champion a cause.