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Through the fire: Kenyan orphan finds hope through Buckner International

Samwel Meraba has a slight scar on the left side of his head. It’s a constant reminder of the fire he escaped as a small boy – a fire that took the lives of both parents and made Samwel an orphan.

And while the physical scar may be visible, it’s not as noticeable as Samwel’s smile, which lights up at the mention of how his life is turning out.

At age 6, Samwel’s grandparents took him to the Seed of Hope Orphanage on the outskirts of Kitale, Kenya. Seed of Hope was started by German evangelical missionaries, but today it is part of the ministry of Buckner Kenya, an arm of Buckner International.

Seed of Hope became Samwel’s home until he graduated from high school and later a local teacher’s college where he trained as a primary school teacher. Teaching youngsters was something Samwel knew he wanted to do because of his experience at Seed of Hope.

“Being at Seed of Hope transformed my life from my bad background,” Samwel said. “I can see that there is light and hope. I’ve seen my dreams come true at Seed of Hope.”

That dream was to one day return home to Seed of Hope, a dream that was fulfilled last year when Samwel joined the faculty of the Seed of Hope Primary School. Today, he teaches Swahili, social studies and Bible classes. It’s his way of giving back.

“It’s good for me to raise other children and to be a good example to them,” he said. “I give them hope and show them that they can also make it in life.

“I want to give more because Buckner has shown me how to share and how to help other people grow up. I want to give as they have given to me.”

In addition to his role as a teacher at the school, Samwel gives back through his church, Ecclesia, where he is a praise and worship leader, playing the electric piano and teaching the children at the church to sing.

“For me, music is what empowers me. Sometimes after work, when I’m tired, I listen to music and it builds my faith in God.”

Without Buckner, Samwel believes his life would have been completely different.

“Through Buckner, I can now do things for myself. Buckner has helped me work and gives me the opportunity to give back,” he added.

When he teaches the school children about the life of Jesus, Samwel said he teaches them to share, as Jesus did.

“We should emulate Jesus, because he shared and we should share with people and help them, just as Jesus did. I also teach about love, because Jesus also loves us.”

Samwel said his relationship with Christ is the most important thing to him, because “without Jesus Christ, I would not be the way I am. He is the one who provides for me. Jesus is my best friend.

“I do things from my heart,” he said. “I am a happy person who is loving and caring.”

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