Every morning, Jasinta Akinyi woke bright and early to walk to the open-air market of Rongo, Kenya. She carried a tightly-wrapped bundle of clothing on her head. After she arrived at the market, she spread the clothes in front of her in a colorful display. The market opened for the day, and other women gathered around Jasinta to sell their goods: mangoes, tomatoes, tilapia. Second-hand clothing is a common industry in Kenya. Huge crates of clothes are shipped from the United States and sold in bulk to enterprising vendors like Jasinta.

Today, Jasinta’s place in the market is empty. After COVID-19 swept the globe, Kenya suspended the importation of second-hand clothing. Jasinta and other vendors like her have lost their businesses and the only means they had to support their families. 

Jasinta, Alphine’s mother, worshipping at their church.

Jasinta’s daughter, Aphline, is a beloved member of the CRF sponsorship program in Rongo. Jasinta has worked hard as a single mother, and she has raised her daughter well. At sixteen years old, Aphline is hard-working and responsible. She is an active member of the Winyo Church of Christ and loves to sing at church functions alongside her mother. For more than two years now, Aphline has been sponsored by Amy Brokaw, who even traveled to Kenya with CRF and visited her in person!

On August 13, Aphline walked onto the campus of the Neema Kwa Watoto Center. That morning, her mother had received a call for her daughter to come pick up the food package provided by her sponsorship. Tears streamed down Aphline’s cheeks, and her CRF director, Lawrence Ngoje, pulled her aside to ask what was wrong. 

The story Aphline shared was one of devastation. Without their second-hand clothing business, Aphline’s family had no source of income. For the last few months, they had lived day-to-day. Their only food often came from Aphline’s sponsorship food packets, and their rent debts had piled up to over $700. The family of four had just been thrown out of their home onto the streets. Jasinta and her children are active in their church community, so friends took them into their own homes. But no one in their lives could afford to provide them with food during an economic crisis… except for Aphline’s sponsor.

Aphline picking up her COVID-19 relief food and provisions.

“We did not think we would have food today before we got your call,” Aphline told Lawrence through her tears. “I am overwhelmed by how God is still answering our prayers.” Without her sponsor’s gift of support, Aphline and her family would have gone hungry that day.

Lawrence sent Aphline home with more food than was planned—enough for Aphline, Jasinta, and Aphline’s two siblings to make it through the week. He says the CRF team in Rongo is monitoring the family’s needs and giving as much as they can. Because Aphline is sponsored and receives support each month, her family will get through this difficult time with food and plenty of hope.