This project began with a small business loan from World Vision. It was started by David when he was in his late 20's. A native to Nairobi, like the majority of people he was struggling to feed his family. Having always been artistic he began the art of carving gourds. He takes gourds, dries them out and with crude tools and creative talent he is able to create hope for his life. He started cutting the gourds and making bowls. These sold well, so he began filling the gourds with wax and creating candles. Throughout the years he has been able to teach this craft to other local artisans as well as some streetboys.
There is constant competition in the marketplaces in Kenya and David has faced some hardships. Heavenly Treasures' relationship with David has gone beyond investing in his business, but truly investing in him as a person and showing him love. Below are some reflections from Kigen Teimuge, HT Kenya Director of Operations, on his ministry with David.
David is a really good friend. He sells carved gourds to HT, but sales have been difficult. Each time I'd see him, he'd ask if there was an order. The answer was always no. Since I used to see David often, I chose to visit him at this home. We talked about soccer for half an hour every time I visited.
Other than soccer, we’d talk about family, business goals and the challenges in the slum. At one point his wife lost her job and could not find work for months. They had no money and no food. His kids were home because he could not afford school fees. I used to take them food, though this was not a long term solution. At times I didn't know what to tell him, but just encourage him and tell him everything was going to be ok. I bought some devotionals to go through with David, and as we continued with our devotions, I eventually got him a Bible.
Making no sales on his gourds, this did not let this impact his motivation to stay in business. We discussed venturing into new business ideas, but he didn't know where to start. Once when visiting David, he was carving a wooden drum (djembe). He learned how to carve it from scratch and taught himself the techniques and designs. The details were perfect and looked machine cut. In a few weeks he started selling the drums in the market. When I visited him again, he was smiling so big. He sold 5 drums that week and made a profit of $270. His family had food and his children were in school.
As I was leaving and saying goodbye, he held my hand. He looked me in the eye and told me, “Thank you! Thank you for visiting and not giving up.” He then handed me $5 for appreciation, but I kindly declined. It was incredible to see him back on his feet. This really showed me how David has been faithful to God during every part of his journey. He kept his faith during the good and hard times and he has been blessed.