Helen was a widow.
Exhaustion was evident in her eyes as she gathered her youngest children to come outside and meet my dear friend Barbie and me. We were searching for children that would match with Christian Relief Fund's sponsorship program: partial or total orphans, children who were in desperate need of support. Helen's family sure seemed to fit this description.
In rural Kenya, many families own small sections of land. They grow maize and kale to sell and to eat. Because Helen could not afford fertilizer, her quarter-acre of land was failing. We had to venture through paths of towering corn in order to reach Helen's mud hut... but her house was placed in the middle of what looked like an empty clearing, shriveled and bare.
"Helen's husband died seven years ago," we were told. I couldn't help but feel confusion. Helen was the mother of ten children, three under the age of seven.
The truth is, Helen loved her children more than anything else in the world. She could not bear to watch them starve, so she sold her body in exchange for food. Prostitution has so many consequences, like the potential to contract HIV/AIDS, but another problem was that Helen continued to become pregnant again and again... and with more mouths to feed, she felt increasingly desperate as she struggled to feed her family.
To read the rest of this story, go to the Christian Relief Fund blog!
One year ago: CURRENTLY
Three years ago: Inspiration