Linet’s moving story of hope and mission in biggest ‘slum’ in Africa

Linet lives in Kibera, Kenya – the biggest ‘slum’ in Africa. Despite the huge challenges of living in poverty, Linet continues to live out her mission: rescuing and adopting children who are at risk from abuse, neglect, and life on the streets.

Here she shares how her faith, and the friendship of Sister Mary and the Church community, are helping her get through difficult times and keep her children safe:

My name is Linet. I work as a casual labourer, and sometimes as a receptionist. I also clean rental houses, ready for people to move in.

I am a proud mother of three: two boys and a girl who are my biological children. I also have otherkids that I take care of. I have twelve adopted kids, who are orphans, abandoned or homeless. So altogether I care for 15. But I am not alone in this, Sister Mary helps me and my faith gives me the courage to carry on.

Watch our World Mission Sunday film and see more from Linet and Sister Mary:

My home is here

I love Kibera with all my heart. It’s my home. It’s where I was born. It’s where I grew up. Life in Kibera is not easy at all; we face many challenges, some that we don’t even know how to solve. But all in all, we overcome them, as life has to go on.

My motivation comes from the kids. Whenever I see them, I remember that they need to take breakfast, lunch, and supper. I give myself the strength to go and work to get the food for them. Whenever I see the kids, I know that I have people looking up to me.

When you wake up in the morning and you stand by the roadside, you’ll always see kids. Some have not eaten for days, some have nothing. Some are barefoot.

So, I keep asking myself, what will I ever do in this world if I cannot help others?

Could you and your parish community support people like Linet in their mission? Click here to find our Mission Month fundraiser>>

Left behind by progress

The house we used to live in was a four-room house, where 15 of us lived. But it was demolished when the roads were built. The government says the roads are to be expanded, all over Kenya. When they came, they said that the road must pass here for ambulance and firefighters.

They demolished our houses for the roads, and we lost everything. We were given one week to vacate. But at that time, the pandemic had come, so we had no money and nowhere to go to. While I was out trying to look for a new place, I just heard neighbours calling me and saying: ‘Lin, your house is demolished’.

My older children were safe because they were in school. But my littlest daughter was asleep at home. Thankfully my neighbour, who was watching her, stopped the machines. The workers didn’t care whether anyone was inside or not. My neighbour took my daughter to safety.

Starting from scratch

I lost everything that day; nothing was left for me. I felt very, very bad. I cried because I didn’t know where to start; I didn’t know who to call, who to talk to.

The children cried too because when they came home from school, they saw they didn’t have a house. The first question was: ‘Mom, where are we gonna live? Where we gonna sleep?’ So, we found it very difficult. And then, they thought that they will never have anything, not even any clothes.

I had solidarity from my neighbours and friends. They came in and said: ‘Lin, as much as things did not go well for you, we are here with you. We are here together. We are here to console with you, together’.

Solace in faith

I went to church. I entered the chapel and I prayed to God to give me wisdom and strength.

My faith means a lot because when I’m down I have that faith to keep on. So, I need to hold it, to have it with me.

When I’m down, when I have things at heart, I go to church. First, I go to the adoration chapel, where I’ll talk to God. Then I’ll go to choir. When I sing and praise God, I’ll come back home with a clean heart. When I go there, I see my friends and I just come back feeling good because I love singing so much.

A mission of befriending

My daughter has been sick since 2018, when she developed a disease which is as yet undiagnosed. I took her for tests, but they showed nothing. I took her to various hospitals, they took blood tests, but the results never came back. I have never seen such a disease, but thank God, Sister Mary and the Little Sisters of Jesus have always stood by me. Sister told me: ‘Lin, take her to St Mary’s’. It was much too expensive for me, but she came in, she found someone willing to help with the hospital bills and she was there.

Sister Mary has done so much for me. She has always been there if I need any kind of support. Mentally, physically, spiritually, everything. She has always been there for me.

I see the future as bright. I see the future as luminous, and I believe in my dreams. One day I will change Kibera, even if it is not the whole of it but a little part of where I am and my neighbours.

Get involved!

This Mission Month, we want to bring people together – at home and across the world! Will your parish set hearts ablaze for Mission this October? With your help, we truly can set hearts ablaze with God’s love!