COVINGTON — As Well of Hope America continues to collect shoes to help support widows and orphans in the Kiserian area of Kenya, founders Zipporah Kamau and Nat Kariuki of Well of Hope International came to Covington on Monday evening to help prepare the shoes before they ship them to Kenya.
“We are getting shoes tied and bagged,” Nancy Flory of Well of Hope America said. “And then we count them and put them in bags and weigh them to get them ready for a container to ship to Kenya.”
Well of Hope helps women establish themselves financially in Kenya when they have been forced out of the homes they shared with their husbands after their husbands passed away. With the proceeds of selling the shoes, Well of Hope will purchase these women a one-acre lot and give them the deed to that land. In doing this, Well of Hope has been able to help over 100 women.
It was a dream that inspired Kamau to start Well of Hope.
“I was in a dream, and in that dream, I was dead,” Kamau said. In that dream, Kamau said that she listened to people talk about her value in life, and she felt the people in this dream were saying that she had worked hard for herself.
“They really were talking about my testimony as to how I did best to benefit myself, and it was in this dream I was given time to see what was happening,” Kamau said. “So I started praying for God to change it.”
Kamau stated she wanted to be remembered for the things she did to help others and not the things she did for herself.
“When I woke up from that dream, my life changed,” Kamau said.
“We have been doing well in our business,” Kariuki said. Kamau and Kariuki, who is her husband, have a separate real estate business. “So we thought it was time to give back to society.”
“So since that time, we’ve been pursuing the vision,” Kamau said.
After Well of Hope purchases the land for the women, they also try to find someone to sponsor the women to help them build a house.
“We got to see it firsthand,” said Tim Benedict of Well of Hope America, who was helping out on Monday night with counting and bagging the shoes. “It’s different than the way we live.”
Harold Flory of Well of Hope America explained that over the past couple months, they have collected approximately 500 bags of shoes.
In a booklet provided by Kamau and Kariuki, women who have received support from Well of Hope detailed what it was like before and after getting this land.
“I was alone to take care of three children on a casual labor’s wages,” Peninah Wairimu said after her husband died. After receiving help from Well of Hope, she said, “I could not contain my joy because I never thought I would own land. Soon they built for us beautiful houses.”
“One of my darkest days of my life was when my house burnt down and I lost everything,” Mary Gathoni Gitau said. Before then, she supported herself and her children on a casual labor’s salary after her husband died. Gitau then received help from Well of Hope, and after that, she said, “Ever since I moved in my house, my life has changed.”
Many of the women’s testimonies discuss the struggles of paying rent, some of them even being locked out of their homes as they cannot afford to live on only their small wages. They discuss how Well of Hope gave them new lives with these parcels of land.
“May God bless the big family of Well of Hope because you rescued me and brought back the respect my family had lost,” Jullietta Wanjiku Mbuthia said.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall