Crossroads Springs InstituteProject-September 2004
I joined this project without much thought or any idea what it actually was. My mother-in-law, Nancy Williams, mentioned going to Africa on the phone one day and then I just jumped in.
The group of twelve from all over U.S.A. and Canada was led by Alison and Arthur Hyde who went on an Operation Crossroads Africa work camp project to Hamisi , Kenya in 1962. Back then the vision of OCA founder Dr. James Robinson was to “build bridges of understanding” among young people of North American and Africa. Meshack Isiaho was a young sub-chief/friend who guided the OCA group while in Hamisi.
In 2003 Dr. Isiaho, Meshack seeing the plight of children whose parents had died of AIDS, said "I would devote the rest of my life to giving hope to these destitute children if I could find donors." He started with an abandoned building to plan for residence and early childhood school for children whose parents have died of AIDS**. He named this project “Crossroads Springs” in honor of the legacy of the Operation Crossroad Africa 1962 group who built the athletic field across the road. His idea was to build a decent school for those vulnerable children so that people would not discriminate against them as AIDS orphans. We were there to help the construction. I’m sorry I don’t have many pictures of the members actually doing construction work, but the site was a bit too dirty to bring in my camera.
Sammy Inanga, the supervisor of the construction, who left a good paying job in Nairobi to help the children of Kenya, told me at the end that he wanted even to hire us. He rides a bike 17 km to come to work everyday. Members of our team worked so hard when they did, he really liked us. I was pretty happy to be in charge of cooking for the members. We found a very inexpensive hotel with a self-catering service. The Sheywe Guest House was a very homey place after one night at the business-like Golf Hotel which is overpriced for foreigners.
We stayed in Kakamega which was a 45 minute drive from Hamisi. Hamisi is too remote to accommodate foreigners, and also drought and malaria made it hard to put up any extra people anywhere, even though we were ready to camp out with our sleeping bags at the incomplete building.
Those students who are called orphans there, doesn’t always mean that they don’t have both parents. If the father runs away the children are called orphans since obviously the mother cannot earn living. Most of the students at the Crossroads Springs were taken care of by their relatives or guardians. Some guardians, including some of the construction workers, had quite a few of their own children. We were told some of them cannot afford uniforms or even sweaters and shoes. However, uniforms are almost a luxury; the school’s one class room is not fully equipped yet. Any amount of contribution will help those children to have a normal life like other children. We’d like to help everybody in world but we cannot. It is good to start from somewhere. I would highly appreciate it if you could make any amount of monetary contribution to this institute.
USA tax deductible contributions may be made to:
Funds will be transferred directly to Crossroads Springs Institute
Crossroads Springs Instituteaccount in Kenya.
If you have any questions, contact me at:
** Kenyan life expectancy dropped a few years in last decade because of AIDS. We have seen many signs of AIDS awareness and advertisements of condoms in towns and villages.
It is estimated that there are 1 million AIDS orphans in Kenya now, and worldwide 8,000 people die of AIDS every day.