"Mgeni njoo, mwenyeji apone” is a Swahili proverb that means, "Let the guest come so that the host or hostess may benefit.” Your service alongside Missions of Hope is a blessing to our staff, students, and the families in our communities. You bring with you new skills to impart, boundless energy to encourage and uplift, and God’s love to pour out to others. Our collective aim is to glorify God by building up the work that MOHI is continuously doing in Mathare Valley. We don’t want to detract from that work through well-intentioned, but ultimately detrimental, short-term activities.
Therefore, we’ve produced these guidelines to assist your team in building up MOHI’s ministries. Please read them and print a copy to bring with you to Kenya. If you have any questions or concerns about these guidelines, we are happy to talk with you either before or during your stay with us. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Give out your personal contact information to ANY students, students’ families, MOHI staff or volunteers, or community members. This includes your social media account names (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
Promise to provide for or give to those that you meet. (Even just saying "maybe” or "perhaps” is considered a promise in Kenya.)
Hand out anything directly. For example, don't hand out candy, pens, money, etc. Handouts increase the expectation of continued giving, and we can't always be sure that we can give something to everyone. We want to promote sustainability and not dependence. (Please note that gifts to your sponsored children are okay to give.)
Be flexible. Come with an open heart of humility & a desire to learn
Seek understanding by listening before speaking.
Learn about Kenyan culture before coming.
Ask questions. Learn about MOHI, the staff, students, community, and Kenya.
Pray with people. Have an encouraging word/ Scripture to share with those you meet.
Be safe. Keep all windows closed in your vehicle, especially when sitting in traffic. We will provide a safe place at the center for you to keep your personal items, so when you're in the community, you won't need to take much with you. Always follow any instructions of your driver and/or hosts at the center.
Drink A LOT of water!
Don’t make promises or hand out anything directly.
The foundation of MOHI’s ministry model is to empower individuals to change their own circumstances and communities. Thus, MOHI discourages a "hand out” mentality that is often present among those living in poverty. You are encouraged to listen to people, talk with them, pray with them, and share stories to foster relationship. However, do not make a promise of support or assistance of any kind, even with our staff. You will experience a range of emotions while visiting Mathare. Please do not let your emotions compel you to immediately promise what you perceive as being "help.” Instead, process the feelings that you have, wait, pray, and privately ask a MOHI staff member to help you understand the nature of a particular client or situation.
Don’t give out any of your contact information.
In giving someone your contact information (even staff), you may unintentionally undermine MOHI’s ongoing development work of empowering individuals and eliminating an attitude of dependency. That person may be tempted to circumvent the accountability inherent in our community development work and seek personal assistance directly from you. This could encourage dependency and disrupt our development work.
For example, on a past short-term mission trip, a team member did not comply with this guideline and provided her address to a Joska student. Even though the student was receiving nutritious meals and educational opportunities at MOHI, and her family had opportunities to participate in MOHI’s business development program to provide for their family, the student felt compelled to circumvent MOHI and ask for money directly from her American friend. The person who received the letter was put in an awkward position to reply. This could have been avoided if contact information had not been given out and the student’s social worker had the opportunity to review any communications between the student and her American friend.We’ve experienced similar issues with well-meaning visitors "friending” students or staff on Facebook. Therefore, please do not give out any personal information, including email and mailing addresses, phone numbers, and/or Facebook or other social media account names. Also, please do not "friend” your sponsored child or any other students or staff on Facebook.
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