“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

I can’t express how proud I am of Antoinette and the team of volunteers who embarked on last week’s trip to the West Pokot and Turkana regions of Northern Kenya. East Africa has been devastated by the worst drought in 40 years. With little rain in the past five years, rivers and watering holes have dried up and people and animals are dying from a lack of water. It was a long and exhausting trip, but in every picture, everyone on the team is beaming with the joy of being able to give to those who are so desperately in need.Here is Antoinette’s unedited report about their trip.Thank you so much to everyone who continues to support our work, making it possible for us to immediately say YES whenever asked to provide food and assistance to those in need in times of crisis.Warmest blessings,Jennifer Hughes-BystromFounder/CEOSprings of Hope Foundation
It was a long and exhausting trip, but in every picture, everyone on the team is beaming with the joy of being able to give to those who are so desperately in need.
Jambo Everyone,On 28th November 2022, as the representative of the Springs of Hope Foundation’s Kijiji Mission, I was privileged to be invited to join a one-week mission to Central Pokot and Turkana counties in northern Kenya.  Mr. Nelson Kanandi, a long-time friend of mine, and his team of volunteers from Kutus organized this long and desperately needed mission trip, asking the Springs of Hope Foundation if we could offer support by providing much-needed food hampers. Our students at Kijiji Mission were not left out as they got to prepare the 300 food hampers we were donating, allowing them, for the first time in many of their young lives to share in the joy of giving back to their communities.Early Monday morning we loaded the food hampers and started our long journey, arriving at our first overnight stop of Kapenguria very late that evening. On Tuesday, after some mechanical problems, we started our journey to Pokot Central, a journey of 140 km into the village from Kapenguria town.
The Turkana food was packed and loaded on a truck due to security, arriving in Lodwar a day ahead of the team. The food was distributed to the elderly in the first group peacefully. In the second group, a huge crowd overwhelmed our team, they all wanted a portion of the food we were distributing at whatever cost.
As the crowd grew larger were forced to abandon the distribution and could not manage to take photos of the scene. The area has been hit with severe famine for the past five years whereby both animals and humans have succumbed due to severe drought. The food was distributed to the Turkana elders despite the shortcomings and we look forward to distributing more in the future with the help of the local peacekeepers. They were extremely grateful for the kind gesture as most had not had anything to eat for days.
We arrived at Lumot center, Mosel village in the evening. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we woke up at 5 am due to the heat, for the outreach mission in the villages, walking for 8 – 10 km carrying our food hampers to distribute from homestead to homestead in the scorching Pokot sun. The area is extremely dry, without rainfall for the past 5 years.
Most homesteads we visited had nothing to eat and most of the wives were young girls between the ages of 13 to 20 years old with 2 to 7 children each. Most children do not attend school. There is no electricity, toilets, or bathrooms in the area and the bush serves all. The young mothers have to walk 5 – 8 km to the borehole to wash their clothes, bathe, and fetch water on their backs while their month-old babies are being carried on their chests. Many young girls are looking for opportunities to be sponsored to further their education due to the lack of school fees. However, the only opportunity for these girls would be a boarding school and as I have mentioned earlier, most of these young girls are promised into marriage at a very young age, often to a much older man.
We arranged to have the group of 35 elderly transported down from Turkwel under security by bus. We gathered the group at the church compound and distributed our food hampers to them. They looked frail, hungry, and unwell.
We also had the security of the Pokot warriors, always close by as the region has suffered a great deal of internal tribal warring.
As part of our mission, we counseled the adults on the illegal, devastating effects of FGM, and early marriage on their daughters, which is still commonly practiced within these communities. We counseled the youth on early marriages, FMG, and the need for education.
They were overwhelmed after receiving our food hampers, they sang and danced in appreciation. May you all be blessed in whichever way you participated in saving a life.Asante Sana,Blessings,Antoinette
Most homesteads we visited had nothing to eat and most of the wives were young girls between the ages of13 to 20 years old with 2 to 7 children each.This pregnant 20-year-old girl that we met already had four children.
If you were one of our generous donors at last week on Giving Tuesday, I can’t thank you enough. It’s because of your generosity that we are able to say YES to our outreach programs when asked. Asante Sana,Jennifer