A typical week at Capstone Ministries

What is a typical week at Capstone like? We have a full time staff of  seven employees plus an interim manager. We’d like to introduce them to you briefly and share what they do in a typical work week.

1. Ezekiel: Capstone Transition Center (CTC) Coordinator.

2. David: Street and Family Followup Coordinator.

3. Edwin: Children’s Welfare Officer

4. Helen: House mother and cook at CTC.

5. Newton: Welfare Officer and Agriculture Coordinator

6. Isaiah: Counselor and Spiritual Development Coordinator

7. Kenneth: Night guard at the CTC

8. Paul: Interim Manager

Monday: Capstone has a small building located at the Evangelical Lutheran Church compound where Dan preaches. This building is used as the Capstone Youth Center (CYC) for a weekly outreach program for children who are currently on the street. The kids begin to arrive often before 8 AM on Monday. Once they are escorted inside they are able to play ball in the field, color, play games or do math or writing assignments, take a bath and wash their clothes. As the children come in slowly they are allowed to do what they chose for a while, some chose to stretch out under a tree or even on the floor.  Taking a nap in a place of security is a rare luxury for children living in the street.  After games and baths the kids are all gathered to hear the word of God. We tell them Bible stories to give them hope, to assure them that God loves them and to help them realize the importance of home and family. Our goal in these meetings is to build a trusting relationship with the kids, to help them open up to what kinds of struggles or trauma they have experienced and ultimately help them make the decision that they want to get out of the street life, they want to get back into school and be at home. This takes time and is the first step in the Capstone process. After story and song time the kids are given bread, bananas and juice. Most will leave after the meal but some will stay and want to have one on one time to talk with a welfare officer/couselor, this is where the most progress is made. Sometimes we will have an opportunity right then to take a child home and discover what is happening at home. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to find a situation where a child can remain at home.

Wednesday: I skipped over  Tuesday for the moment because Wednesday’s activity is very similar to Monday except the outreach program on Wednesday is located in a village called Luanda about a 40 minute drive north of Kisumu. Luanda is the home area of  Capstone employee Newton, it was he who suggested we needed to do some work there. We found that many of the kids in the street in Kisumu are coming from Luanda and the surrounding villages. Typically a child will loiter in the market area of Luanda for some time (days, weeks or months) before eventually making their way down the hill to Kisumu. If we are able to “catch” these kids before they filter into the larger urban area we are a step ahead. Kids in Kisumu have to learn quickly how to beg and steal, they learn to inhale cobblers glue both for fitting into the street culture and to gain courage and curb the hunger pains. This program is less formal than the Kisumu outreach in that we don’t have a building. Newton meets with the kids in the market area, they go to play soccer, they go for a meal at a small restaurant and they take a bath in the river. We have found this program to be very successful. Many kids from Luanda are able to go back home directly.

Tuesday and Thursday: These two days are for home visits. The welfare officers and coordinators make frequent visits to children who have been taken home either directly from the street or from the Capstone Transition Center (CTC)  Staff will also visit children in school to monitor the progress, to build relationships with the teachers and to try to intercept and prevent any possible stigma that often accompanies a child who has been on the street.

Capstone has been blessed with a motorcycle. David is the only staff currently with a license to ride the motorcycle but he is able to make good use of it to visit rural homes. On the visit and followup days the Capstone staff will often return to their homes very late and very tired. Travel on pot hole filled roads in Kenya is not easy and many homes are located off the main roads.

Friday: This is my favorite day.  Every Friday starting early morning all the Capstone staff meets together at the transition center (CTC) The morning always starts with a devotion and prayers.  This meeting is where we go over every case, we discuss each of the children who are currently staying at the CTC (those in transition) We discuss what has taken place at the outreach in Kisumu and Luanda. We set up the visitation schedule for the next week and discuss how individual children and their families can be assisted and supported with the child at home. We hear stories from the staff that makes us laugh, far too often we hear stories that make us cry. We always go away encouraged and amazed at what has taken place during that week.

Saturday: This day is usually a short day for the staff for followup visits.

Sunday: Off day for church and family time.

The work demands long hours, often emotionally charged and challenging. These people love the children and most importantly they love God and feel called to working with street children and their families! We thank God for our dedicated staff!

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