11 years ago I took the bold step of taking in children who are infected and affected with HIV/AIDS. It was a journey fraught with many lows that would have pushed me to the brink. I thank God, my family and friends for their endless support that afforded me sanity.
In the slums of Kiambiu, raw sewerage greets you as open food kiosks line up the motley of shanties. The food-that goes for Kshs10-is uninviting. I trudge through this sea of humanity to visit women who are living with HIV/AIDS.
The situation is dire. Working under the Kenya Network of Women with Aids (KENWA) as community health workers, our work was to provide nutrition and dispense ARVs for women. It was extremely unnerving seeing those am taking care of dying. It was even more painful seeing young children being orphaned and sliding into social vices.
I was particularly pained when a young girl was raped. I reported the matter to the administration with the hope that the offender would be arrested. Later the man was released under unclear circumstances and I became a target. I met the same man when I was crossing a bridge to the slum-he pounced on me and nearly pushed me to the river. Luckily I managed to escape unscathed.
That was when I decided I had to do something and fast to save the children from being abused. I talked to the director of KENWA, and asked her if we could assist children. She told me that donors had expressly given instructions that the funding was for women and not their children.
HOREC Director Christine Wambui and the beautiful angels under her care
I was not deterred. I rescued the first five children and took them to my home in Komarock. My husband, who is an engineer, was in Mombasa and my three biological children were in boarding school. I had already quit my thriving business as a salonist to concentrate on my new calling.
When my husband was back from Mombasa he was impressed. He, like most people, knew that HIV was a death sentence. He could not understand why I was housing the children. This tiff was not about to subside. I had to find another place for the children to avoid the persistent quarrels. And this is how Hope for Orphans Rescue Centre (HOREC) came to be born.
I found a room in Ruai where the children were housed. Their number had grown to twelve. I relied on well-wishers for provision of food and other supplies. We eventually moved to our current home in Mutalia, Kangundo after a well-wisher from America bought us a piece of land.
A lot has happened since then. We currently have 42 children residing in HOREC and 88 in our outreach program. A good number of children have already graduated and some are even gainfully employed. We have made major strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the community.
We welcome support from well-wishers as we strive to give quality care to our children.
Visit HOREC website: www.horeckenya.org or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Hope For Orphans Rescue and Education Centre (HOREC)