Jim Brockmann shares the many steps required to receive a container delivery at Point of Grace in his narrative below:
In mid-May 2019 a container of supplies arrived at Point of Grace Academy. The story of 4KenyasKids and the Meekers continues. Thanks be to God, Orphan Grain Train, and our supporting congregations!
So what does it take to get a container delivered and unloaded at Point of Grace Academy in Ogal Beach, Kenya? Let's start by saying that the school is located out in the boondocks, or the rural countryside of Kisumu County, on the shore of Lake Victoria. By car you would drive 45 minutes out of Kisumu City and go past the International Airport on a three-lane, traffic-packed asphalt highway. There isn't much need for speed traps or roving unmarked radar equipped state police cars. Instead this area of Kenya uses speed bumps that will jar your teeth and send you airborne if you don't slow down.
After driving for 11 minutes you will turn left in the small community of Kisian onto another similar road. Just past the gas station / small store / restaurant, the terrain starts rolling as you pass the roadside vendor stands that sell everything from bananas, padlocks, and tomatoes to coal and lumber. The semi & container will achieve a top speed on these roads of about 28 mph between those pesky speed bumps.
Traveling this second asphalt road for about another 15 minutes you will make another left turn onto the dirt road by the Otongo Community School. Now this pot hole infested, dusty, slightly more than a one-lane road will keep your speed under 20 mph between the twists and turns. In about 12 minutes you'll turn right just past the large bolder and rock-filled downgrade portion of the road. This road narrows and the climb uphill gets steeper. A smooth road it definitely is not!
Another 10 minutes and you’ll see the small buildings that house even smaller businesses and more vegetable stands in the community known as Ogal Beach. Here is where we’ll attach the the large tow truck to help pull the semi, trailer, and container up the hill. Just past the gate to the school, the long caravan will turn off the road and onto the neighbor’s property. Of course, we had negated a ‘we’ll return the favor' agreement with them to cut across his bolder-infested field.
Ok, now we are officially off-roading and just creep along even slower than before. In about 600 feet you'll see where this hour and a half journey by truck or 45 minutes by car has taken us. Between the school dining hall and the soccer field is a narrow piece of land that Moses, the concrete contractor, has prepared as the resting spot for the container.
Now the fun really begins - it’s on to the cable rigging and unloading, but of course everyone has an opinion on how this should be done, so it may take awhile. Seeing a big truck, crane, wrecker, and a 40’ container is not something you see very often out in the rural countryside, so naturally it draws a crowd out to see and watch what is going on.
Who better to open these doors other than the very appreciative Pastor Dennis Meeker and equally thankful manager Richard Ouma (red shirt). There are a lot of things behind those doors, and who wants to get out of the classroom more than the high school kids to help unload? There are over 700 hungry children learning the Word of God at Point of Grace School. After a prayer of thanksgiving by pastor, the eager kids listen to his instructions for unloading.
Orphan Grain Train sent a real church altar and pulpit, for which everyone is super excited about. A group of Deaconesses will distribute hygiene supplies and some sanitary kits to other rural parts of Kenya. The kids have huge smiles when unloading new underwear, flip flops, t-shirts, towels and wash cloths.
Orphan Grain Train provided 396 boxes of processed rice meals that will be distributed to the very needed in this community. Point of Grace shared some of the meals that were sent by Orphan Grain Train with Hope Lutheran School in East Kisumu. Monica Ochola, School Project Manager, expressed Hope’s appreciation to Lorna Meeker and everyone at POG on showing the “love of Christ through your generous hearts” and to Orphan Grain Train for supplying this much needed food. “When God is in our hearts mercy and grace always abound". The 22 teachers were amazed when we unloaded school desks, chairs, posters, podiums, and school books plus supplies.
Let’s wind this up by saying, for us, this was like the best Christmas Day you've ever experienced. Thanks again be to God, Orphan Grain Train, and our supporting congregations stateside. Soli Deo Gloria!