Our handy man at Rafiki Mwema, John, is not only our maintenance man and gardener he is our friend, family and guardian angel.
Having suffered a most traumatic event in his and his family’s lives (read below) he knows firsthand the horror our girls have lived through and loves and cares for them like his own. John has a wife and three children, you can read more about their story below.
A recent health issue almost took John from us and has left him weak and unable to work to the full capacity of a maintenance person so some time ago I was able to find some sponsors to cover Johns wage which would allow us to pay him every month and hire another person to take over his role.
John has volunteered to continue assisting with our garden and our fruit and vegetable plants when his health allows him to.
One of these sponsors who wants to remain un-named kindly offered to give John and Christmas present that would change his life. After much discussions we decided that a motorbike would do just that! He would be able to take his children to school, collect medication for him and his family and perhaps taxi some people around on the way and collect some more money for his family.
Our sponsor paid for us to buy John and new bike. A helmet for him and his wife. All the safety equipment needed and also motorbike lessons.
It made John’s Christmas a very special one to say the least and it also filled my heart with so much happiness that there are such kind people in this world who want to help people just to help people. Not for anything in return. It is how i think the world should work.
John and I (Anne Marie) met John nearly two years ago and I have never seen such an empty shell of a man. He was broken hearted, deep in trauma and starving. Months earlier his home had been attacked because he was the ‘wrong’ tribe a gang of men had tied up and beaten John and his son and made then witness the brutal rape of John’s wife and his young daughters. Even typing those words makes me cry. They took everything from the family that night, their home, their innocence and their future.
When we met him John had been out looking for work but when the evil excuses for men broke in, raped and tortured his family, they had turned them into the streets naked and stolen every single thing they owned – including his house and his ID. Without ID he couldn’t get work.
He was directed to us through a member of staff and as he told his story I sat with my husband John and listened to words that I can still hear. My John was sobbing and so deeply moved – unimaginable horrors.
We fed him and his family, helped him find a house, brought him furniture but most importantly we gave him a job – and he turned out to be the most amazing kind, empathic hardworking man who protected our girls as if they were his own daughters. We also provided therapy for his family and supported his wife through her enormous emotional meltdowns.
John has always been a huge part of RM and we were all devastated when he became sick last year and at one point we believed he wouldn’t survive. His body fought hard after he had renal failure and huge heart problems, but he has been left weak and not able to work. He is really really upset. He came back to work at the beginning of May but it is too much for him and it is apparent that he is too sick to ever return to work. His future, and that of his young family, is uncertain.
John is a proud man but knows without financial support his family will suffer hugely. His wife does work sometimes but the impact of what happened that night has damaged her emotional wellbeing and she often struggles to function. His daughters and son are still in school, and of course they have their own horrific pasts.
We all love John – he is family