By Lt. Kevin Huffman, AA/PIO
California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison
Two CDCR employees, a husband and wife team, traveled along with an evangelist friend to Kenya, Africa, in November and December 2018. Capt. Marshall Denning and DDP Teacher Assistant Tamsin Denning from the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran (SATF) traveled to help in an area where more than 46 percent of the citizens live at or below the poverty level.
Ronald Reagan once said, “We can’t help everyone, but we can help someone.” Albert Einstein said, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
Capt. Denning has been friends with Kenya resident Bishop Shadrach Oloo for more than 25 years. The bishop oversees the Agape Center in the center of the slum provinces of Langalanga, Pangani, Flamingo and lake view in Nakuru town. The community around has a high prevalence of alcohol, drug and sex abuse, as well as crime. This has led to high levels of single mothers in the area, many of whom are school dropouts due to juvenile pregnancy.
Since so many of those children are born disadvantaged and lack basic amenities like food, clothing and education, Agape Center took it upon themselves to help.
The primary intervention has been the Agape School and Sunday school. The approach they use at Agape Center is to give the children education and feed them besides supplying clothes for others.
The center currently educates and feeds 420 children every day of the week. The community prefers education at the private center because the quality of education offered at the public schools doesn’t meet the same level.
“With the modernization of the global society, some of the needs in addition to the costs of educating and feeding the children is the need of permanent concrete classrooms and a computer resource center and library,” said the bishop. “The existing temporary tin classrooms are in dilapidated condition and will need a face lift of new permanent concrete structures. These improvements will provide a good environment that will enhance the probability of the children becoming successful in life and will prepare them to handle the ever changing global electronic advancements.”
During the trip, the Denning duo, along with members from the Agape Center, did outdoor outreach to the many slum areas in Nakuru, going from house to house to share information.
While in Nakuru, they also had the opportunity to go inside one of the medium security prisons to feed and minister to the prisoners at the Nakuru.
After a week in Nakuru area, the Team left for Luanda/Kisumu area of Kenya. While in Luanda they continued with the outdoor and community outreach and meeting in the afternoons at the Uranga Agape Church (affiliated with Bishop Oloos Agape Center).
While near Kisumu, the team also was able to visit the Kibos maximum security prison and feed and minister to the prisoners as well.
“It is such a humbling experience to witness first hand some of the struggles and triumphs people in other parts of the world are enduring on a day to day basis, so unlike the developed countries where we have all we can need and more,” said Tamsin Denning.