Every Wednesday afternoon, the path leading to Karura Community Chapel is flanked by dozens of men, women, and children seated on the grass and on tree stumps, waiting for the church gates to unlock and swing open.  They are the same people who were here last week and the weeks before, and although we don’t speak the same language, I’ve come to know them.

Rain or shine, they walk from the nearby slums of Haruma and Githogoro for Karura’s Dorcas Ministry, an outreach program that provides pastoral care, clothing donations, and free unga (corn flour), the staple food of Kenya’s impoverished and disadvantaged.

Since my arrival in June, I’ve been volunteering my time to help greet people and distribute the small bags of food.  In an effort to get to know them better, and maybe put a smile on their faces, World Next Door director Barry Rodriguez, visiting photographer Jason Lavengood, and I offered to take their portraits after the service one Wednesday.  In return, we’d give them a copy to take home with them the following week.  People lined up, some of them more than once.

These are the faces of Karura’s Dorcas Ministry:

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About the Author: Bridgette was a summer intern with World Next Door in 2011. She graduated from Indiana University in 2004 with degrees in Journalism and Italian. She loves live music, good books, daylight savings time, and eating local wherever she is.

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  1. Amy K. Sorrells said... 


    July 23rd, 2011 at 11:13 am  

    Absolutely breathtaking and knee-buckling, Bridgette. God bless you and praises for the work God is doing through you via these amazing shots!!!

  2. Josie Tilyou said... 


    July 23rd, 2011 at 12:25 pm  

    Your photo gallery helps me to pray for you & the people you see daily with more heartfelt understanding.
    I’m proud of you for giving of yourself to those that need help.

  3. LeAnne Hardy said... 


    July 23rd, 2011 at 4:21 pm  

    I’m sure the photos will be treasured.

  4. Jessica said... 


    July 23rd, 2011 at 9:59 pm  

    It’s hard to imagine what rising prices (double the price!) mean for these families… I remember hearing about a greenhouse/tomato-growing project that Karura began to help support members of the Dorcas Ministry. Is that up and running? Thank you for introducing us to these global neighbors of ours. The portraits are such a wonderful gift!

  5. Gary Paultre said... 


    July 26th, 2011 at 12:50 am  

    Wow, to struggle so much and have a smile as big as that one man (I think he’s #15) is amazing.

  6. Nancy Gaciru said... 


    July 27th, 2011 at 5:07 pm  

    Each face tells a story, God’s story! If only we can look beyond our assumptions and see that God’s love can also be felt and given by the poor and “unfortunate”. Yes the poor smile too……….

  7. Kevin said... 


    July 27th, 2011 at 11:27 pm  

    We each have our own good days, bad days and better days. But looking into the faces of God’s children, whom you all are serving through Dorcas Ministry, reminds us that we all want to count for something. Those “simple photographs” tell the owners that they are more than a statistic in time; not just a number in a group, but a special individual in the eyes of God. It says I am “real” and I am special. If a simple photograph makes me smile, hey, we can always welcome a smile in our day. Thank you and your ministry for creating more smiles. (and more better days)

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