Adventures in Africa
By Dr. Gordon & ReAnn Decker
What an adventure! Thank you for your prayers. We had a wonderful trip, were richly blessed and awed by God’s magnificent work. Dr. Gordon and Raeann Decker traveled with Glen and Shirley Erickson and Jim and Judy Archibald to serve at Imara International, a home for young girls who are pregnant or have a young baby and are in desperate need. These girls, some as young as 11 are often the victim of rape or some other forced sexual activity and have been abandoned to the streets. Sounds grim!!! But as we arrived we found girls and babies full of smiles even though they have undergone horrible trauma. The babies are loved and well cared for. The girls learn to parent as they see Carol (the executive director) and the matrons who work at Imara nurture and show God’s love and tenderness.
Although the place is full of love and laughter, we saw lots of hard work. The girls care for their babies, help with the cleaning and cooking, wash their clothes (by hand) and go to school. The hardest worker of all is Carol Erickson, daughter of Glen and Shirley, two of our traveling companions. Carol runs Imara which includes sitting on both a Kenyan and American board of directors. She does fundraising, manages the home of 18 girls and 16 babies (two girls are pregnant). She also oversees a farm where they raise a few sheep and many vegetables. Carol says their grocery bill is still significant even with all the vegetables they grow because the girls eat huge amounts, especially when they first arrive at Imara because many of them have lacked adequate food and nutrition most of their lives. The meals are simple, rice, beans, cabbage and maze are staples but cooked with onions and garlic I can state they are quite tasty,
Occasionally meat is included. We had a belated Christmas/Valentine combo party and a sheep was butchered. The girls were delighted. (every portion of that sheep was used, much of the meat was cut into fist sized pieces and frozen for future meals and the head was boiled for soup). There is nothing wasted at Imara.
Carol asked Gordon and me to give classes to the girls on child development, infant nutrition, minor trauma, communicable diseases, reproductive health and pregnancy. We also allocated time for questions from the girls. The classes were received with interest and enthusiasm.
Judy, another member of the team is an excellent seamstress and helped the girls make aprons which were a big hit. The room was full of sewing and delight as they worked.
The men did painting and repairs as well as built a sandbox so they too made big contributions that were much appreciated. Shirley had the best job. She was all around helper, and cuddled babies. The entire team also spent as much time as possible playing with babies and interacting with the girls.
Imara’s work is inspiring. God led Carol to Africa and with His help and through this organization she is changing the lives of these young women and babies from ones of desperation to ones of hope. We are pleased that First Presbyterian (Spokane, Washington) is one of the churches supporting Imara International through our mission committee contributions. We are happy to report that the return on investment is great.