As a missionary, Michael first met Phoebe with Salem ministries 20 years ago. At the time, Salem Ministries was a 2 room house and Phoebe had taken in 15 orphans as a result of the HIV AIDS crisis in Kenya. The room was surrounded with bunk beds and the school was held in the center of the room. Michael recalls taking her to a Barclays Banks to set up an account for the fledgling orphanage and school. Phoebe reminds him that he also took her to a store to buy cups and plates for the children; he doesn’t remember it, but she does.
Michael and his family and ministry began to support her and her work with the children. His work helped them by completing the well in front of the small home so they would have fresh drinking water for the orphans. In nearby slums, people found out there was a budding school at the orphanage; they wanted to send their children as well. And the schools begin to grow – now Salem School has around 1000 students. Watch the story of Phoebe and her work with the orphans and Salem school as well as the widows of Bondo.
Over the years, Michael, family, friends and ministries have supported the orphans. They also helped to fund the construction of the high school, primary school and portion of the nursery school.
A few years ago, Phoebe (of unlimited energy and faith) acquired a farm about an hour and a half outside the city of Kisumu. There, she also started a school for the orphans. Now the new school has grown to over 200 students.
Nearby Bondo is also home to many widows because of HIV AIDS. There, Michael and Phoebe started a program to help the widows help themselves by learning to grow corn. It has been tremendously successful and the widows can hardly carry all the corn they have produced. Many are grandmothers and widows; missing a generation of their children lost to AIDS. Not surprisingly, many of the widows and almost all of the children at the orphanage have never seen a medical provider.