Upon arriving at Nakuru’s Sure 24 Orphanage you will immediately identify it as a well-run organization. If you have also spent the past three months working in the slums of Nairobi, it’s a positive surprise as well. Once you pass the Sure 24 gates that are named after the tag line ‘God Loves 24/7’ it’s quite easy to mistake this new world as a well-run village of it’s own.
Self-Sustainability is literally waiting for you at every corner you turn. The fish-feeding program is impressive to start, abundant gardens that go for miles and a designated area for hair styling and weaving (essential with African-american hair) just to name a few.
Samuel and his wife Millie run the orphanage on their own, and if tissue wasn't so hard to come by in Africa - their story is reason enough to pull some out. Growing up as a street boy apart of many gangs Samuel split his time between running drugs and soliciting client for his mothers home brew business run out of their one bedroom home. When Samuel was a baby he would pass out from the fumes of the brew, and would revive only after his sisters had rushed him outside for fresh air and a drop of milk.
A random individual approached Samuel one day while he was begging and asked why he was not is school. Samuel who was a young thirteen at the time was quite honest about the fact he could not afford uniform or books. The man who turned out to be from the UK took him to the school paid for his entire primary education, bought him a uniform, books, and most importantly a warm lunch.
Sammy turned into a successful business owner in property sales, until one day, he met himself. A street boy, who was not in school, attempting to make it on the streets stealing, getting high and begging. Sammy took that boy in, and was the very first of 89 orphans and vulnerable children to come.
Sammy has high hopes for the future of Sure 24 and it’s uplifting to see his high hopes have a well thought out plan behind them. As I have seen in the past few months, too many hopes and dreams fall through because of the tendency to rely on handouts.
The entire orphanage runs like a well-oiled episode of the Brady Brunch. At first glance it may seem like the orphanage is mostly composed of brothers and sisters who ended up here together. When in fact there are only a few siblings by blood in the orphanage. They treat each other as we treat our family – because to them, this is the only real family they have.
If you are lucky enough to arrive at SURE24 around christmas season you are entertained for hours by their well planned christmas concert - And although you may resist - you will find yourself pulled on stage several times to exhibit 'canadian dancing' which includes the classics like the macarena, the shopping cart, the lawn mower and most importantly Kaetlyn's trademark old man dance.
The rest of our days were filled with activities with the kids, milking cows and preparing meals.
When meal time comes you squish in on a bench filled with chattering kids and gladly pass on the chicken head, eyes, and claws that are served on your plate.
We were entertained for hours with choreographed dancing, hand-written letters and the comedic relief the older boys provided.
We woke on our last morning to an overwhelming amount of letters the children had written to their sponsors back in North America. The amount of sincere love and gratitude in these papers was like nothing I've ever read before.