By Sr. Carole Proctor, SND
One of these strong women was left with four children--and then no home--after her husband died in a public transport accident.
With no family to turn to, Florence Odongo brought her children to Nairobi. There she found lodgings in the lowest part of the worst slum, Kibera. It was here she tried to make a living for the children, then ages 6, 10, 11 and 12. But when she found herself unable to provide for them, she put aside her dignity and came to the Sisters to ask for food and opportunities for the children to go to school. We were able to assist her in setting up a business selling vegetables with the help of her two oldest daughters. Two years later Florence became ill and died.
With the children too young to be on their own, we Sisters were able to get them into boarding schools (thanks to a generous sponsor in the U.S.). Though we could not replace the loss of their mother, we gave them love and a bit of security.
Despite all that the children had been through, they had inherited their mother's tenacity and persevered in their studies and new lives. The girls completed elementary school with honors and the two younger girls came out among the highest in their secondary exams. Her son, Reuben, has now followed with high school honors and Catherine, the youngest daughter is doing very well now at University.
Florence worked so hard and sacrificed so much for her children before her death. We know she would be so proud of them! We certainly are!
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Sr. Carole served in Kenya from 1996 to 2009. Though now stateside, Sister remains in touch with Catherine who keeps her abreast of the family news.