By Sarah Ooko, World Vision Senior Communications & Media Officer, Kenya
Ruth is thanking God for how far He has brought the family over the past decade.
She recalls the dark time that the family went through in 2007, following the post-election violence that rocked the country.
At the height of this conflict, Ruth notes that she was traumatised by what was going on around her.
The suffering and mourning of people who were hurt or had lost loved ones due to the conflict filled her with so much anguish.
"As a family, we lived in so much fear, hiding much of the time and being scared for our lives. We had also lost all our property and had nothing," she notes.
Eventually, Ruth was able to get support from well-wishers, which enabled her to flee the conflict-ridden area with her children and move to her ancestral home town in western Kenya which was safe. Her husband joined her later.
"I came to this village with nothing. It was just me and my children since we had lost everything. I didn't know how I was going to start all over again to rebuild our lives," she recalls.
"I went to church that morning and prayed for a miracle. At the end of the mass, I asked the priest if he could help in any way. He gave me some money, which I used to buy food. I also bought a hen, as a seed of hope for the poultry farming dream that I desired to achieve," she adds.
By God's grace, well-wishers in the village kept Ruth and the children going by sharing the little food or clothing they had.
Back at home, she took good care of her single hen which mingled freely with others in the neighbourhood. It wasn't long before it began laying eggs which hatched into ten chicks.
Not so long afterwards, word went around that World Vision was looking for children from vulnerable families in the community to sponsor. One of Ruth's children was selected and this turned around the life of the entire family.
"Through my child's sponsor in the United States, we got goats which enabled us to start livestock keeping. My husband who had been left behind when I escaped with the children, had also joined us, so we began this new venture together," she says.
The goats provide meat and milk that the family relies on for food as well as for income generation. In addition, the dung and droppings from the goats and chicken respectively, are good sources of organic manure that the couple has been using to boost the fertility of their land.
"Aside from the goats, World Vision has also supported me to get training on good crop and livestock farming techniques. This has enabled us to get good yields from animals and bumper harvests from the food crops that I grow," says Ruth.
Because of the intense practical training as well as the hard work that Ruth and her husband, Austin, have put into their farming venture, the family is a major supplier of tomatoes and vegetables in their village.
"I can't believe how far we have come, from a place of having nothing to where we are now producing enough food for ourselves as well as surplus that we can sell," says Ruth.
As per their custom, the family always thanks God for His blessings and providence that have changed their lives and enabled them to rise from the ashes of the post-election violence.
"When I go to church, my eyes always well up. I just remember how I once came to the house of the Lord feeling hopeless, but God sent people my way who supported me and showed me love, together with my family," she says.
In appreciation of the support that she received from well-wishers; Ruth shares the food from her farm with other members of her community in need of assistance.
She is also a lead farmer who trains other people on good agricultural practices so as to enable them to boost their food security and household income too.
As a result of funds raised through World Vision's child sponsorship programme,Ruth is happy that many more families in her community have benefitted from health, food security, child protection, education, economic empowerment and water projects.