You walk through the streets and alleys of Huruma Slum in Nairobi and you quickly realize you are in a world once marked and scarred by violence. The post election violence in Kenya that captured the world’s attention in 2007 and 2008 found its way to the slums of Kibera and Korogocho but nowhere was the violence more intense, more tribal and more debilitating than in the Huruma and Mathare Valley slums.
In the midst of the chaos, the violence and the death of hundreds of Kenyans walked a young man and woman who refused to be defined by a tribe, an ethnic group or the futility of corruption, poverty and unemployment. Albert Nashon and his wife Ann responded by bringing people together and connecting them to needed resources and programs that could help elevate them above the poverty and violence that defined their existence. Their initiative is called Slumcode .
Albert and Ann from two separate and conflicting Kenyan tribes refused to be pulled into the hate generated by political and economic despair. Instead, with little more than their faith and their skills to organize, they walked into the violence often threatened by neighbors and friends of opposing tribes. They organized events that accented the commonalities of the community, they shared resources that would empower and transcend the severe poverty that precipitated the violence. They looked beyond themselves and created a “faithful presence” that facilitated healing and promoted a strategy of coming together.
Albert is passionate about his work and his mission and never takes his eyes off the objective of promoting reconciliation and hope. His work is defined by the people he serves and the streets he walks. Ann, who is an artist, helps to develop micro-enterprises and promotes skill development among the residents of this community. They are present! You walk with Albert down a street or alley and you soon hear people calling out his name and children flock to him to hear his wisdom often couched in humor. Faithful presence is a process that bears witness to the God they serve through the actions they live.
How can you live faithful presence?
- Be there in the workplace and market place of life.
- Actions speak louder than words – so live your faith and practice the hope that is in you.
- Seek reconciliation and justice in all aspects of your life.
- Do not abandon the hurt, the lost or the forsaken. Come along aside them so they can see your life.
Albert and Ann are about creating faithful presence. Join them.
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