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Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland






Summer holiday with a difference for Deborah

Deborah Griffith who is going to do Mission Work in Kenya . US24-450DW

Deborah Griffith
who is going to do Mission Work in Kenya . US24-450DW

LISBURN teenager Deborah Griffith will be taking a summer holiday with a difference this year, as she will be travelling to Kenya to help children at an orphanage.

The excited 16-year-old will be visiting the Huruma Children's Home in Ngong Town, near Nairobi, which is home to over 120 children.

Deborah will be travelling with the Rev. Dr. Gilbert Edgerton and his wife Margaret, who are friends of her father Rev. Albert Griffith, Pastor of the Lisburn Church of the Nazarene, as well as with another young missionary.

"I can't wait, I'm really excited, I'm counting the days," stated Deborah. "I first heard about the trip at the Faith Mission Easter convention in Bangor from Reverend Edgerton and I was really interested in it.

"I will be working in the orphanage for three weeks from July 7 until July 27, playing with the children and teaching them." The home was opened by Mama Zipporah and her husband Pastor Isaac Kamau in 1989 for some of the destitute and orphaned children of the Ngong area. The children are mostly abandoned, abused or orphaned and Mama Zipporah's objective was to give the children a loving home, a family, education and a brighter future and she has integrated the children into her own family.

Deborah is so determined to go on the trip that she has delayed a hip operation she needs until August. As well as this she is currently in the middle of taking her modules for her GCSEs, and is organising having her injections for the journey.

She said: "I had a hip operation two years ago and I should have had another one but I made sure that it was put back so I can go to Kenya. I'm also in the middle of my modules so I'm trying not to get too excited until after my exams and I have to have the rest of my injections, I've had four and need six more."

She has also been busy organising raising the funds needed for her to travel to Kenya.

"It's just over 1,000 for the visit. I had a praise night on June 12 with a band to raise money. I've been sponsored by some people and Ronnie Thompson the funeral director has been really good. I've even had strangers giving me money, there was someone heard that I was going and they gave me a cheque for 100." Whilst travelling to Kenya to help the children may be exciting, Deborah also realises that it may be difficult to see the children living in such poverty-

"I've been told not to feel guilty about being better off than the children, I've been told to just give as much love as I can. Reverend Edgerton was very emotional the first time he was there and didn't want to go back but he knows that someone has to help.

"Reverend Edgerton and his wife have given up their Church and will be staying a year in the central belt in Africa. The project he is working on at the moment is to try to build a new place for the boys to sleep as there are 70 boys in one room and only 30 beds.

"The home won't turn any children away, some of the children have HIV and some homes won't take children with HIV but Huruma take all children. The police sometimes just drop children off at night; they will just knock on the gates and leave them.

"The home takes photographs of the children when they first go in to the orphanage and then a couple of months later to see the improvement in them, and the difference is amazing."

As well as helping the children, Deborah will also be experiencing a real taste of Africa on her visit.

"I will be getting a real taste of Africa whilst I'm there, not just the poverty," said Deborah. "I'll be going on safari which is something I've always wanted to do, I love animals so it will be brilliant to see proper wild animals. I'll also be going to see some of the shanty towns in the area."

Deborah is also bringing some goods with her on her visit. She said: "I'm bringing a bag of clothes and books with me, mostly educational books for the school. There's a container going out so I'm going to go into the loft to find some books from when we were young, I've been told to bring classical books for the children to read.

"I've been involved with working with children before and I definitely enjoy it. This is better than sitting at home during the summer, I was bored last summer so it will be good to do something constructive. I'm just really looking forward to it."

Ulster Star