By Kate Marlowe
For The Catholic Messenger
CLINTON — “When I arrive in Kenya with the dresses, the children line up along the road hoping to have one,” said Joshua Ngao, president and CEO of Fishers for Men Ministries in Davenport (FOM). He spoke to the Sisters of St. Francis at The Canticle July 20 about the organization.
“The kids are naked, so when we see a need, we stop. It doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl, they want the dresses. The boys will have someone put a stitch at the bottom (of the dress),” Ngao said of the children waiting for dresses made by Sister Virginia Krakow each year.
Ngao grew up in Kenya and returns to his homeland twice a year. In preparation for his upcoming trip, he visited The Canticle to speak to the sisters about how their donations support building water wells, raising chickens and the planting of mango trees. In addition to the larger projects, Ngao also related individual stories of three orphans, two boys and a girl, supported by a number of the sisters for the past four years. “This is life-giving. You give life. Look at a photo of her (girl) back then; there was a need there. Now she is pretty and clean and beautiful. These children now have the joy of knowing there is food and education.”
Most of the support for FOM comes from the Midwest. “The first town I was in, in the United States, was Camanche and then Clinton,” said Ngao of the beginnings of FOM. “I came in 1999 to speak to Sue Williams, a chaplain at the Victory Center.”
Joining him on the trip to Kenya will be area doctors: Dr. Michelle Yates and Dr. Joanne Miller of Genesis Medical Center — Illini in Silvis, Ill.; Dr. Scott Palmer of DeWitt Eye Care in DeWitt and four medical students. “Nine of us are traveling there from the Quad Cities and DeWitt. They will be working in one of the FOM medical clinics,” Ngao said.