Nyalenda Baptist is in the middle of the Nyalenda slum and boasts one of the few permanent stone structures in the area off of the main road. It has a congregation of about 200 who meet in the main sanctuary building, and it also holds several separate offices where the CFA counselors can meet with clients.
Festus and Monica recruited 80 clients during the month of July 2010. Because of the extreme need in the area, they initially found over 150 people living with HIV who wanted to join the program, but decided to limit their recruitment to people who had been tested within the past two years. Because so many of the clients were recently-tested, they had many things to learn about the disease and how it is affected by diet, nutrition, medication, etc. Many of the clients had been engaged in some sort of activity to make money until they found their status, at which point they stopped working and decided to simply wait for death to come, so one of the initial areas of focus was convincing the clients that they could still work and that their life could still have value. Most of the clients did not have authentic exposure to the gospel, so the workers have seen a great change in their spiritual lives as they learn the truth of what being a Christian means.
The Nyalenda slum is the largest slum in the Kisumu area, stretching along the southern border of the city from the Nairobi highway to Lake Victoria. Most of its inhabitants live in temporary structures made of mud and sticks or corrugated tin sheeting. There is little to no running water or electricity. The majority of people here are from the Luo tribe, which has an infection rate of over 20%, the highest tribal rate in Kenya. Luo cultural traditions like wife inheritance, along with poor health infrastructure, contribute to the high HIV prevalence.
Monica and her husband Silvester have two sons. Her husband works as an insurance salesman. Monica was a caterer before taking courses on counseling and community development.
Festus is unmarried. He grew up as an orphan. Before starting Community Development courses, he worked with his half-brother selling spare auto parts and driving a taxi in Kisumu. He is from a small village named Karungu, about an hour from Kisumu.
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