In The Shadow of Mt. Elgon

If you ever have read The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, you know how scary Ebola can be. The Hot Zone is a suspenseful and frightening book much in the spirit of a Michael Crichton novel—only this story is true.

Richard Preston tells the story of the origins of Marburg Fever which is closely related to Ebola. And he traces most of the cases back to a single cave called “The Elephant Cave” on Mt. Elgon.

This is especially disturbing to me because Barbie and I unknowingly visited this cave.

It is a very creepy cave with thousands and thousands of bats hanging from the ceiling. You can be sure that I will never enter it again.

But Mt. Elgon is not only plagued with the origins of one of the most deadly diseases in history, it is also the home of one of the most cruel wars ever. When you visit Mt. Elgon, it is hard to believe that one of the most beautiful places on earth can be full of so many tears.

In Kenya there are three types of orphans—famine, AIDS, and war.

Mt. Elgon is the home of war orphans. In a terrible war among members of the same tribe, children not only saw their parents killed and raped, but at times they even saw their parents chopped up with machetes. CRF even lost one of our directors to death in these battles. I will never forget a time after the war when I was walking on the mountain with Emmanuel, and he led me to a place where there were around 1200 war orphans wandering around. They were the saddest and sweetest children you could encounter. Not only were they hungry and helpless, but they had also been traumatized by the cruel deaths of their parents.

CRF has two works on Mt. Elgon. First of all, there is the Kapkirwok High School that was started by Fielden and Janet Allison. It is very high on the mountain. You better have a good four-wheel drive vehicle if you want to ascend to this school.

Kapkirwok started as an incredible school with nearly all of the children sponsored. But then the war happened, and we had to close the school. Now so many children are no longer sponsored. But under the leadership of James Mangut, the school is making a comeback. These high school students need a break!

And then there is Milton Simotweet. It is at a lower elevation on the mountain, but it is full of the children who were wandering around when Emmanuel was showing me the tragedy. We have started building a facility there. It is not enough, but it is a good start. We now have hundreds of children in this primary school—but there are hundreds more just dreaming of a sponsorship where they would get to eat, go to school and learn about Jesus everyday.

A Simotweet tree is a tree that baby elephants run into with their heads. When they hit the tree, a substance that looks like milk comes out. The baby elephants drink this liquid for nourishment. Our school is called Simotweet because it also provides physical, spiritual and educational nourishment for probably the most needy children I have ever seen. We could sure use help with these two works. So many children need sponsors. You can help at christianrelieffund.org

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