Catherine lived in a Luyha village outside of Kitale, a northwestern town in Kenya near Mt. Elgon. She came home from school one day to find her mother lying on the floor, shivering and too weak to stand. She knew then that her mother would soon die, just like her father had merely a few months earlier. At eight years old, Catherine found herself being her mother’s primary caregiver. Day after day she watched as her mother struggled for life. Throughout the day and night, Catherine tried to nurse her mother back to health. But one day AIDS took its toll and her mother died, leaving Catherine alone.
What would you do if you were eight years old and all alone? Catherine thought of an aunt she had in Nairobi; surely she could join that family…surely she would find a bed and some food from her own relatives. Catherine made the long journey to her aunt’s home only to be taken in as a servant and to endure many abuses. Bewildered and heartbroken, she pressed on day after day trying to cope with the loss of her parents as well as to bear the physical pain she endured. Then abruptly, one day her aunt kicked her out of the house.
Catherine was then forced to fend for herself on the streets of Nairobi. She roamed the slums for years, trying to survive – eating garbage and going from one “relief center” to another. By the grace of God, Catherine came across a little school in the slums – our Gethsemane school. Ruth Ondieki, our home mother and the teacher at our school, began to care for Catherine. Gethsemane provided Catherine with some new clothes, lunch every day, some education, and – most importantly – the love of Jesus Christ.
Catherine soon made the choice to put her faith and trust in Jesus Christ as her personal Savior from sin. And her love for Jesus changed her life. She became joyful, always wearing a smile on her face, and developed a love for singing! While still at the home, she became a leader in our home mentoring other children.
Catherine graduated from the Gethsemane home in 2016 and is now married and living in Kitale town. She and her husband are blessed with two boys. Catherine works as a cashier and is actively involved in her local church. By God’s grace and the support of our partners Gethsemane International has made a difference in Catherine’s life. Please pray that we will be able to help more “Catherines” as God provides.