AN Update From Mombasa

September 17, 2015 

One of our goals at the beginning of 2015 was to expand our work into Mombasa, and we are so excited to bring you updates this fall from the field. We recently sat down with CARE for AIDS Regional Coordinator, Francis Odour, to ask him about how the expansion is going. You can read the full interview here. You can also get some background on the expansion here.

Something really cool happened recently at the center launch in Changamwe…tell us about the experience.

During the launch of the third center (Changamwe), the Lord did what He alone can do. During that meeting, 19 clients made first-time faith decisions- and it was the very first day of the program! To be honest, there is no sufficient word to describe the feeling- it is incredible to see a group of people realize that their refuge is in the Lord. I was at the church yesterday, and they are expanding the church because of this quick growth- glory to the Lord.

Tell us the story of a client in Mombasa that has been particularly meaningful to you.

This client is not from that particular center (Changamwe), but she is one whom l have been following very closely. Her name is Alice Kanini, and she is a Kamba by tribe. She is one of our clients at the “Tumaini Letu Center” in Tudor- 39 years old and has never been married. She used to be a waitress in a bar and was also working in the sex industry to make extra money.

One day she spent the night with one man who did not know that she was HIV positive. When she told the man the following day, out of bitterness and anger, the man took a knife and stabbed her in the stomach. She was rushed to the hospital to save her life. When she got to the hospital, the doctors found a growth in her stomach and had to remove it before closing the opening. When she recovered, she did not have any anger or bitterness against the man who had stabbed her- instead she said that it was a blessing in disguise to have the growth removed. This emergency had saved her life.

When she joined the program in June this year, she was struggling with a drinking problem. One day after we were done with the seminar and the rest of the clients were waiting for lunch to be served, she requested to be given a chance to sing a chorus. Rose, the health counselor at the center, agreed to her request. As soon as she started singing, I realized she was drunk… she was slurring and stumbling, and there was no coordination between the singing, the clapping and dancing.

When she came the following day, I was at the center, and we had a very long talk. About two weeks later she gave her life to Christ. When I saw her last month, she looked very beautiful and very sober- her face was beaming with a big smile. She now attends church at Reachout Emmanuel Baptist. In fact, when she comes to the center, she even gives the staff some words of encouragement, like “thank you for not giving up on me even when I came to the center while still drunk.” When we talked last, her request was prayer that she may continue to have the strength not go back to her old lifestyle. Her life has changed completely. This is what drives the success of CFA, and to me, these are the success stories that get me out of bed every morning.

Stay tuned to hear more updates!