Friday, May 16, 2014
Steve Wescott, 34, continues his journey today through Mid-Missouri, walking with his goat to make it to New York City.
Wescott and his goat, LeeRoy Brown, started their trek at the Space Needle in Seattle on May 2, 2012 and set out for the 3,800-mile trek to Times Square to raise money for an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya founded by Wescott’s best friend, Stephen Turner. The project is called Needle2Square and Wescott said he plans to be in the Fulton area in four days.
Turner is the founder of Uzima Outreach and Intervention, a ministry-based organization helping children in poverty and those with substance abuse in Nairobi.
The idea was simple when he started his walk — meet 10,000 people who will donate $20 each, and that $200,000 will buy a farm to support the orphanage with a spinach-like vegetable, rice, beans and other crops.
Uzima Outreach supports an orphanage for Nairobi children from infancy up to when they turn 18. The organization first established a drug rehab in a city where, Wescott said, consuming heroin and huffing glue is prevalent.
In Nairobi, entering rehab is expensive for drug users who come from poverty, Wescott said. The Uzima Outreach and Intervention rehab comes at no cost.
“I’ve been all over the United States and there’s nothing like it,” Wescott said. “There’s nothing like the slums of Africa. It’s arguably the most dangerous city in the world. Just imagine trash everywhere and people laying in trash and people searching through trash everywhere to eat.”
The rehab was just the beginning for the organization. The orphanage was started to save children from the dangers of drugs, but it’s also saved them from dangerous homes.
Wescott and others helped save a 1-year-old from a home in which she was burned and abused. Now, she’s a healthy toddler living in Uzima Outreach.
“She is like the light of our organization,” Wescott said. “She just brightens up everywhere she goes. She just all of a sudden starts dancing and everybody starts dancing.”
Wescott said he loves sharing stories and meeting people with each small town or big city he visits.
He first met his project manager Jenny Falk at her Kansas church in October. Falk said she connected with Wescott’s mission. More than a decade earlier, Falk was a pen pal to Kenyan people, and she started helping Wescott organize his calendar and finding places for him to speak for free across the country.
“I think I took to it because of what I already had in my heart,” Falk said.
Before taking off on the Needle2Square project, Wescott was a musician who hoped to have success with his Seattle-based band. With the idea of a “walk across America” in his mind, Wescott saw photos of Nairobi and decided to hit the pavement. He said God called him to the mission.
“I want my faith to be more than ‘get me saved and get me to heaven,’” Wescott said. “I need it to stand and be more than just those two things. So what happens between my salvation and the time I die has got to be filled.”
Wescott said he brought along a goat, which he purchased for the trip off of Craigslist, to have a companion. LeeRoy is also useful for carrying belongings. The goat may have served a greater role as Wescott credits his goat to the success of the trip, saying LeeRoy is why people stop to talk to him.
“He doesn’t talk, but he’s started more conversations than anybody I’ve ever met,” Wescott said. “He’s the only reason why this project has gotten as big as it is. He’s as close to gold as you get. He opens the door. People want to know. The goat is the hook.”
To donate, go to uzimaoutreach.org/donate.
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