In His own words By Rev. Darcelle Runciman & Jack Tweedy
(Photo credits: Jack Tweedy)
There are times in one’s life when we get “a calling” to do something for others, to give back in a way that has meaning. One man Jack Tweedy, who we call our local Hero, did just that and “Became the Change” he wanted to see in the world.
So in February of 2013, Jack Tweedy visited RN Kenya and as a welder. His skills were used to help better the community and an Orphanage called Robin’s Nest.
Robin’s nest was created in 2004 to establish a home for HIV/Aids affected children and has become an orphanage for those in need. Jack created shoe racks, organized a hall for teaching welding, helped repair pumps,and spoke to young girls about the importance of education. He was known to help young boys in the community and even assisted in purchasing a dairy cow for the community. We trust that this story will inspire you to move towards your dreams, give to others, and become the authentic person you want to be.
The following is some of Jack’s story in his own words as he wrote to his friends and church…
“The typical bunk bed at the Robin’s Nest Orphanage had locking pins for the top bunks that were broken and falling off, and the ladders were also needing repair badly. For my first project I had to go to town and I bought a heavier locking pin for the safety gate, as others were not strong enough. I had no hydro and this project met with some challenges but turned out well and much safer for the children. To God be the glory, thank you for all the donations to help with these repairs. ”
“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove… But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”
“Three years ago Dick Breadner a missionary coaching me asked me to try to come up with a better stove and I have been trying to figure out a simple but efficient way to build this stove. I took a tractor tire rim from a scrap yard in Bongoma, Kenya and cut two slots in the bottom for air and one large hole to use to feed the wood without heating the steel too much. The cooks loved it and could now cook their meals in half the time with this simple design and it turned out better than anticipated.
Today we repaired and refurbished chicken wire and another project completed!
I said to myself when I left that God is my rock and I will not live in fear no matter what happens. This journey is very different, as I explore the beauty in the people here. I remember meeting the homeless children, and a blind lady who had nothing, except her small grass hut with frayed and worn out clothing, but despite that was so happy because of her faith and as we talked she shared that she felt blessed.
I was able to help buy tools for farming and give a local one of my suits as he had never owned a suit. There were so many people that helped raise funds, which helped us support all of these projects.
Small geckos, roosters, and a cockroach trying to steal my food were some of the animals I met each morning. One morning, I bought 10 large bananas for 40 shillings, which is about 4 cents each. They are amazingly good, buttery sweet, and fresh picked.
There were many 80-90sdegree-days sometimes with a breeze and others not. There are many birds, some similar to our Robins, but I have never seen them before… beautiful. The farmers say I milk a cow slow and we have to cut the silage by hand.
I went to Uganda and saw so much poverty and its super hot in the high 90s. I was able to take part in a funeral which was more of a celebration of life and so colourful. They have a strong faith here. I saw a lot of police with rifles but felt safe.
Some of my meals were 2 little pieces of meat, kale and ugale, a maze dish made with flour and water. I ate small portions, as I felt guilty that I was taking too much food from them. The water for some families is yellow in color and very poor, the people however are proud and dress well.
The children there call me “Papa Jack”. I can’t get over the volume of people, cars, donkeys and bikes everywhere. It is so dangerous just crossing a road. It sometimes takes 15 minutes just to cross.
I had a flat tire one day and while changing it at dusk 6 men walked along the road by me with machetes and thankfully they were just field workers going home!
We were able to do shopping, and we saw many bikes and some of them carry 300 pounds of grain and that is how they transport it!
Each morning I can hear Muslims praying while I have breakfast. I am in a mountain valley and you can hear them chanting for many miles. It is peaceful…God has kept me safe. I am doing many jobs and keeping them cheap to complete. I want to show as many as I can how to become welders as they want to learn.
The farmers in Kenya make less than 80 dollars a month and when I went it was draught season, it is barely enough to buy food. As the days go on I feel like I am the only one here with money.
During my last week I spoke at a high school to women on the importance of education. Seeing them going to school was so important, as it will change the way young girls are seen. These girls are getting honours and it is such a joy to meet with them. This is the future of Africa.
The many projects happened as I start at 5am and I am in bed by 8pm. I saw great progress while I was there for the two months. I was even able to baptize a man while there. Jobs that should take 5 minutes takes 2 hours without the right tools and through this God taught me patience. I lost weight and had rough days as well as many good days. Getting power and a signal were difficult however we were able to get jobs accomplished.
This has been an amazing journey. The African sunsets and moon were beautiful, and it is a trip I will remember for the rest of my life. I thank you all for that, and the support. All donations have been used to help these children and each one has a story and they are all working so hard to get good grades and help with duties. They are amazing kids. A job well done and thank you for your support”.
There were so many pages of notes from Jack and we are blessed to have met him and to hear about Emmanuel Baptist Church in Belleville, Ontario that raised funds for him to go on this mission to help so many. Many of these children are still un-sponsored. If you are interested in sponsoring a child or want to continue to support Robin’s Nest Orphanage you can send cheques to Robin’s Nest – 30 Glendale Crescent, Simcoe, Ontario N3Y 4M2. If you would like to connect with Robin’s Nest contact us at email@example.com. You can also see more stories and pictures in our Summer 2014 Issue.