“The Angel of Huruma”
Hellen Wairimu is the Huruma HOPE Coordinator. She is a woman that has been instrumental in making Huruma HOPE happen 9,000 miles away from Oregon. Her dedication to the children of the nursery school is an outward action of her heart of love and faithfulness to the Lord.
She grew up in Huruma the youngest of eight children. Her mother worked hard to feed her children after their father left. Hellen was only able to attend school through 8th grade. This is part of her drive to see that all the children of Huruma get a chance at an education. She sees education as the pathway to the children growing up and leaving the slum.
When Suzan Bellis first met her in February 2005, she was one of the moms bringing her five-year-old daughter, Anne, to Huruma Nursery School. Her oldest son Simon was at Cheleta Primary School and had attended the nursery school. Her husband was a casual laborer and they lived like most families in Huruma, one day at a time.
On Suzan’s second visit in 2007 she, Sally and Arlene continued their friendship with Hellen. During that visit it was discovered that it was Hellen’s 30th birthday. They took her to a local American coffee shop and got her ice cream to celebrate. She began to cry and could not believe that they would want to be her friend AND this was the first time she had ever celebrated her birthday OR had ice cream.
About a year later she gave birth to her third child, little Sarah. At the same time her husband was drinking and becoming more and more abusive and she began to fear for herself and for her children. She was advised by her pastor that she should find a safe place for herself and family. She was able to move out of Huruma and find a small, humble two-bedroom apartment for herself and children.
For several years she worked at the Karura Community Chapel as a cleaner while she helped us coordinate our work at the Huruma Nursery School. She did this without compensation because of her love for the people of Huruma. Two years ago, we asked her to be our coordinator part time while she continually sought work selling used clothing or other work involving selling to help with extra family needs. Today she is our full-time coordinator. Without her, we could not implement our involvement with Huruma Nursery school. She buys all the food and school supplies and oversees the school’s needs along with helping with the students’ families, often involving taking children to the doctor or hospital, helping parents get their children into school, and stepping in to work at the school.
Presently, Hellen cares for her elderly mother who has cancer. Hellen’s son Simon is 19 now and will begin going to university soon. After a family in Albany sponsored him through primary and secondary school, he graduated at the top of his class and has been working to raise the funds for university. Anne is almost 15 years old and will be in Form 3 (11th grade), and little Sarah is 7 years old will be entering 2nd grade.
It has been Hellen’s dream to start a children’s home for those who have been abandoned or neglected. Just this month (Dec. 2015), she became aware of a family of five children whose parents are alcoholics and left the two youngest children alone and sick, near to death. It was one of the children’s teachers at the nursery school who found them, and Hellen took them to the hospital and stayed with them. Hellen is working with the parents and local officials to arrange for the children to be cared for and safe. While most parents live and provide their children with love and safety, many children struggle through abuse, abandonment or neglect. HOPE is now working with Hellen on the planning stages of developing a children’s home.