During our mission trip just a few weeks ago, a group of us took the long road from Voi to Loitoktok to see first-hand the progress on the soon-to-be-opened orphanage. This trip took us an entire day to complete but it was necessary. There's no easy way from Voi to Loitoktok. We decided to head southwest and then hit the northern road from Taveta through Tsavo game park toward Loitoktok. The roads good then bad then better then great then bearable. We rumbled along the dusty Kenyan road for 5 hours until we finally arrived.
The last time I saw the orphanage was in 2013. At that time, there was one barely-built building in the middle of bush -- "bush" meaning there was nothing but thorns, trees, hard ground, and insects for as far as you can see. At that time, Dr. Kabachia hosted a ceremony and presentation in which he described his vision for the orphanage and why we were there in the first place. They had seen too many children with too many needs, so they decided to do something about it.
Fast-forward three years, and we now find ourselves on the same plot of land. But this time is much different. Over the past year, this orphanage project has taken off. Under the leadership of Bishop Achanga, the orphanage has fresh enthusiasm and has made tremendous progress. The buildings aren't completely finished, but you can easily see what it will become. And as wonderful as it looks now, Bishop has even greater plans ahead.
There are currently 7 buildings on the property. There are 5 lodging units that will accommodate 12 orphans each. This gives us a capacity for 60 orphans. Each unit will have a bathroom, three bedrooms for orphans and one bedroom for an adult. There is a dining and kitchen facility where they will eat and congregate. Then there is a storage and equipment building.
There will be clean water and electricity. There is a well that was recently dug on the property to provide water. We are planning to have a second well dug on the property to provide water for irrigating crops. Apparently, the water table is only 60 feet deep which makes it somewhat easy to dig a well in this region. Once the buildings are completed, then they will be wired for electricity.
What excited me most about this project is Bishop Achanga's vision for the future. While the orphanage is located in Masai land, orphans from all over Kenya that will be brought here. We have Agape Fellowship churches through the country and they will help us identify children in need. As for the property, the second well (as mentioned above) will provide irrigation water. Once properly irrigated, we plan to grow cash crops, which can be sold in the marketplace, which in turn will provide money and resources for the orphanage. In this way, we hope the orphanage will be self-sufficient. We also hope to set aside 1-2 acres per housing unit so that each unit can grow extra crops for themselves. Additionally, Bishop is currently drafting plans for a on-site guest house! This will give us the opportunity to send/host mission teams from Kenya and the US who would like to come serve in Loitoktok. Lastly, the farm will need a fence surrounding it to keep out zebras and other wild animals.
There are many of you out there who have given your prayers, money and time for this project through the years. I can confidently tell you that this project is almost complete. And we should be opening the doors to the orphanage sometime in the next few months. And while we rejoice at the end of this "phase 1" of the project, we continue to pray and consider what else God has planned for Loitoktok. Our goal is to provide in every way possible for these orphans, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. It's a tall task but one that we can do together.