Kitui: Saint Francis, Kwa-Vonza

This is a community situated in Nyumbani village, 11 kilometers off Machakos –Kitui Road. Nyumbani is a Kiswahili word that means “Home” The Home was founded by the late Fr. D’ Agostino (RIP) of the Society of Jesus in 2006. It is officially known as the Children of God Relief Institute (COGRI) Currently Sr. Mary Owens (IBVM) is the Director of the home that has so far housed 1000 children who have been orphaned, affected/infected by the cruel reality of the HIV/ AIDS pandemic.

The presence of the Ursuline sisters in the village was a positive response to Sr. Mary Owen’s invitation. The invitation was an opportunity for the sisters to be part of the village. On May 3rd 2012, Srs. Francisca Yovo and Joyce Nguu were the first to be assigned to the village. They commenced teaching at Lawson High School.

The naming of our community was quite symbolic. Whatever the time of the day, all creatures ranging from creeping to crawling ones always found their way in. They indeed felt comfortable. St. Francis was the name we chose!

In terms of apostolate, Nyumbani has “everything under one roof”. There is the Polytechnic, a Clinic, Hotcourses Primary School, Lawson Secondary High School. One sister teaches in the Primary school and two others in the Secondary school.

All under one roof! Yes! Even challenges! It is a challenge indeed when you are surrounded by HIV/AIDS affected/infected children. Our children are quite vulnerable, but they always have a smile or a joke! However, they may not understand why they are orphaned, why their parents died while other children have theirs. They may know why they are constantly on medication. It is with deep humility that we take on the role of parents, guides, counsellors, and sisters to this young challenged generation. With St. Angela, we can only say, “Soli Deo Gloria”- “To God alone be joyful praise”.