Case Study: Agnes and Stephen
This couple lived near New Hope. They weren’t among the first people allocated a house in Shena’s village but their two youngest children, Mercy and Teresea, aged 15 and 13 are well known, enthusiastic members of the Community Sunday School held at New hope each week and the plight of the family had come to Anne’s notice through this contact with them. There was still one house vacant in Shena’s Village and it seemed obvious that this family needed that house!
They weren’t expecting us to visit them so when we arrived at their old home Agnes wasn’t there but Stephen was sitting outside his door reading his Bible. He made us very welcome and told us more of their story. He has an older brother who claimed all the family inheritance when their father died. This left Stephen, who suffers severely with arthritis, with no financial income. He had to try and find casual work to earn some money for their 10 children. They had 11 but when Agnes came home later she told me that George had died at birth because she had no money to get to the hospital when things went wrong and she had no help. Nine of the children are now grown up and away from home. They all survive by finding casual jobs.
The family were living in a reasonable 3 roomed wooden house but it was rented and the owner was soon going to be selling the land at which time the family would be evicted. They were also 3000Ks in arrears with their rent. Agnes does some casual work in the New Hope shamba but because of the drought even this work had ‘dried up’! When she came home she was ecstatic when she found us all there and gave us a wonderful welcome. Before we left them, we invited them to come to New Hope on Monday Morning by which time we told them we would have considered how we might be able to help them. Agnes and Stephen arrived at New Hope at the crack of dawn on Monday morning and we took them down and offered them the empty house in Shena’s Village.
Agnes’s reaction is indescribable!! She just held up her hands and poured out thanks and praise to God, then fell down on her knees with her head to the ground still praising God. She was crying with joy and cuddling Stephen, delirious with happiness. In the afternoon they had a stream of people in to see their new house and Agnes lost no time in imagining where she was going to put all the new furniture we told them we would buy for them. Agnes made herself very much at home with all the other ladies straight away!
Sadly Stephen died quite suddenly in 2017 and although we were able to attend his funeral it is such a sad loss for Agnes and the family. She is doing well but it is hard as they were very much a “couple”