Elisha’s Story

elishaThe most gentle caring and committed man I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Elisha was the guard, come nurse, come cook at our clinic.  He was so wonderful with Sarah, just a beautiful human-being.

Elisha has been a  pinnacle in helping and creating what is Boo today.  When I and our team visited Kenya, Elisha was our principle guide and organised the entire trip and found the  connection to Vision African.  The Boo / Vision Africa partnership was born and flourished from there.

Elisha had such a rough deal at our clinic, constantly without pay. He would often have to tactfully try to negotiate his pay.  Since it is so easy in Kenya for an employer to just throw the employee out and replace with the next one, the treatment of staff is just about that of slavery.  One day the pay owed to Elisha was of such a significant amount that the Clinic Manager sought to create an argument and threw Elisha out the compound, and I mean literally. Elisha along with his belongings were turfed out into the road, his small black & white TV smashing on the road.

Sarah & I helped Elisha thereafter and Elisha maintained his involvement with ourselves and Vision Africa throughout. He did the odd job or project for Rev John Packard, when in 2006 Kenya was submerged into political chaos and riots broke out between tribal gangs, with thousands being displaced and homes burned down after the 2007 presidential elections. At least 150 people died during these events.  During these troubles Elisha went to Rev John Packard and asked for a little help to re-settle some of those who had been displaced . Sure enough Elisha was given a little money and more than just money. John advised Elisha not to just re-settle but to find ways of creating income and imparted a few ideas. The families Elisha helped started a number of small ventures which have helped them sustain life.   At this time the whole of Kenya was suffering shortages in basic food supplies such and wheat and grain.  Elisha, and his wife Vivian, recognised an opportunity to collect sacks of peanuts from the Ugandan boarder and transport into Nairobi, where they would increase the price for the effort and make a profit.

Rusweno-Peanut-Butter-1They did this at huge effort for a number of months.  During the process Vivian had a great idea, peanuts could be turned into Peanut Butter.  Since Peanut Butter is high in fat, it is a great source of energy and also something that has been a staple part if the middle class Kenyan diet for sometime.  Elisha & Vivian sought out local suppliers, who could grind the nuts into a paste and once transported home Vivian could complete the recipe to make Peanut Butter.

This has become a thriving business for Elisha and his family, so much so that they now live in a very respectable house with their three children and two fostered children.  Although this is by no means a ticket to Western wealth it does create a level of security for Elisha and his family.  They are now able to support others and indeed get involved in other projects.  Elisha is currently engaged in a  project managing and offering business advice for Amos and his garage project.  Elisha remains as an ambassador for Boo, representing us at functions in Kenya.

I had a wonderful opportunity in March 2013 to meet up with Elisha and his family, who told me his whole story.

The graphic details which Elisha had the courage to share with me behind the attacks in 2006 are just horrific and it’s a tribute to the human spirit that people can get up, pull together and continue through life. It was a very sobering moment which really brings you down from the Western Ivory tower in which we all live.

Elisha & Vivian for me represent the real humans that lies behind each and very one of us.  In places like Kenya the human spirit shines through since its the only thing that will help them survive. Human touch, connection, interaction and community spirit are all dreadfully lacking in our Western Communities.