Happy Father's Day!
An Amani father shares his experience as a Rwandese refugee living in KenyaCedacias Yampayinshuti from Rwanda works as part of the Amani Kazi program at Amani ya Juu in Nairobi. “Kazi” means “work” in Swahili. Some men connected to Amani become involved with Amani Kazi and work together on projects around the Nairobi center or in the homes of Amani families in need. His family name means “He has given me a friend.” But at Amani he is known as “Baba Peace,” meaning “Peace’s father.” In African cultures, parents are often called by their relationship to their oldest child. With his wife Basiliza, who stitches at Amani, he has six children – three boys and three girls – all living with them in Kenya as refugees. Baba Peace and Basiliza are actively involved in sharing and receiving support with other parents at Amani. In honor of Father’s Day, we sat down with Baba Peace and asked him to reflect on his role and experience as a father and a refugee. His response is below. As a father, what do you feel is your responsibility to your children? To help them to grow up having both skills for life and a heart for God. What do you hope to teach your children? There is an African proverb that says, “The child who is well educated, follows the ways of the father.” A child taught well by the father acts like the father. I hope to help them academically by doing their homework together and passing on to them what I know. I also hope to teach them how to have healthy human relationships and how to handle money so that they are wise about financial matters. Most of all, I want to teach them about God so that in the future they can be great men and women of God. Can you tell us a little bit about what it’s been like to be a father as a refugee? As a refugee, I find myself not in a position to provide for my children. Instead, I have to line up in a queue to receive help from others. This puts me on the same level as my children and is a very difficult position for me to be in. Yet, I have learned to really and truly trust God in, through and for everything, because God is the ultimate provider. What gives you courage and strength as a father? Philippians 4:6-9 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” God tells us not to worry because He is our father. Fathers should look to God who is the Father of all and is able to overcome all limitations. God the Father provides for all His children and fathers can then pass the confidence they have in God on to their children. How has Amani ya Juu affected your role as a father? Amani has helped me provide for my family. I have also had a chance to meet and pray with other mothers and fathers in Amani and learned a lot from them spiritually and financially. I have learned that there is no boundary between people of different backgrounds. We should be able to transcend the differences in country and education level. What advice would you give to other fathers? Show love not only to children but also to our spouses. Participate in what is going on in the home. As our Father has loved us, so should we love our spouses and children and show this love. We should transcend any cultural barriers that may hinder us from this and look to God for direction.
Amani recognizes the important role fathers play in their families and communities. Join us this Father’s Day in recognizing fathers in our lives and in Africa who are fulfilling this calling.Amani Kazi is funded through donations. You can support Amani Kazi by donating online.