Upside Down

Our days are made up of a series of moments and each one passes, whether we like it or not. Some moments pass us by without a second thought, and other’s can change the course of our lives forever. For Robert Machogu, the moment he arrived home to receive the shocking news of his father’s devistating HIV diagnosis turned his life upside down forever.

Shortly after his diagnosis, Robert’s father passed away leaving he, his older brother and his mother behind. But unfortunately, their troubles had only just begun. Because Robert’s brother was his mother’s son from a previous marriage, she was not accepted as his father’s wife. As a result, Robert’s family didn’t inherit anything from his father except for the house in which they already lived. In spite of their circumstances, his mother continued to work hard to provide for their family as a strong, single mother.

That’s when tragedy struck Robert and his family once more.

One morning, after taking a shower, Robert’s mother slipped and fell. She hit her head hard on the floor and began to go into a stroke. Later that day, she passed away due to brain damage, and once again Robert’s world was turned upside down.

Robert and his brother were devestated. Together, they struggled to get by, attempting to complete their educations and working to survive all on their own. Finally, one of their mother’s close friends saw just how much they were struggling and introcuced Robert and his brother to the directors of Agape Hope Children’s Center in Kenya, where they now currently reside. It was this moment, Robert believes, that changed his life for the better forever.

“Before coming to Agape Hope Children Centre I was a frail, and demotivated with low self esteem. I believed that there were those in life who had been created to remain and lead privileged lives, and guessed I was simply not among them. I can now proudly say that meeting and interacting with other children with similar or possibly worse situations compared to mine has taught me to be thankful to God. Now I am able to motivate other children and to encourage them,” Robert said.

“Children in orphanages have needs that go just beyond material needs but also spiritual, emotional and psychological needs. I am thankful that I received all those in the orphanage. The directors of Agape Hope Children Centre, pastor Oliver Chiraba and his wife Margaret Chigunzi even saw to it that I attended a university. They paid my tuition fees, as well as taking care of my basic needs. I now consider them my mum and dad. Not a day goes by without me counting how lucky I am, and I am inspired everyday by them to help children in need. I do not neccesarily need to be rich in order to do so, just the grace of God is sufficient.”

Story by Bri Bentley

Photography by Jeremy Snell

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