Where the Sun Rises - Wacker Chemie AG


Where the Sun Rises

Another reason to celebrate: for 20 years now, Chief Fire Officer Detlev Dreistein from the Burghausen Plant Fire Department has been dedicated to the welfare of orphans in Kenya. And there is still plenty on his agenda.

Chief Fire Officer Detlev Dreistein at the Plant Fire Department workshop in Burghausen.

“There are tablets against malaria,” says Detlev Dreistein, “but there is nothing you can do when you’ve been bitten by the Kenya bug.” And he knows what he’s talking about. In 1985 he went on a diving holiday in Kenya, and since then, the country and its people have become part of his life.

His tour guide took care of street children. Dreistein only discovered this years later. He then he did what a WACKER firefighter always does: help. And help was urgently needed after Leila, the tour guide, was given a large piece of land by a wealthy hotel owner. An orphanage with dormitories and a recreation room called “Children of the Rising Sun Home” was built there – not a mud hut, but a solid building made of coral stone and cement with a tin roof.

Funds are needed not only for the upkeep of the orphanage, but also for child care. Detlev Dreistein’s main task in Germany is to find people willing to sponsor the orphanage or to join the child sponsorship program – €62 a year covers a child’s basic needs. In February every year, he organizes a trip to Kenya for interested parties and supporters. “I travel with a group of eleven or twelve people and show them the country off the beaten track – far from the usual tourist routes,” explains the fifty-eight year old.

Thanks to donations, there’s plenty to eat: pupils from the “Children of the Rising Sun Home” school with Detlev Dreistein, who has been organizing sponsors for the orphanage and for the children for 20 years.

Dreistein has served as a guardian to his ward Abdi in Kenya since 1994. At the age of ten, terrified that he would suffer the same fate as his sister who was maimed and forced to beg by their father, Abdi fled his home. It took a long time before Abdi learned to trust again; but his carers’ patience paid off. “Today he works as a cook,” relates Detlev Dreistein, emphasizing that all the children at the “Children of the Rising Sun Home” not only receive an education, but also a job – mostly as cooks, hotel staff or gardeners. Some who complete their primary education go on to college, which costs around €1000 a year per child. The money is a good investment: one of the boys became an architect while one girl qualified as a chemical laboratory technician.

The “Children of the Rising Sun Home” has grown slowly but steadily over the years. Currently, it houses 70 orphans, runs a primary school attended by 750 children and provides a kindergarten with 300 places. Additionally, there is a sewing school with eleven sewing machines and a computer school equipped with 21 computers. There is a green house and an orchard with 300 fruit trees which the children water using the orphanage’s own borehole water. “The political situation in Kenya is my only worry,” says Dreistein. There have recently been isolated attacks which jeopardize tourism – and as a consequence the livelihood of many Kenyans.

Detlev Dreistein will go into semi-retirement in April 2016. He already has definite plans for that time: “I am first going to do the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage and then travel to South America on a container ship. Finally I want to settle in Kenya.” He then wants to care for the Rising-Sun orphans on a permanent basis. What are his reasons? “I don’t want to just disappear without a trace one day,” says Detlev Dreistein, “I want to leave a legacy. Some people do this through their children. But I don’t have any children of my own. That is why I am committed to helping these children in Kenya.

You will find more information on the “Children of the Rising Sun Home” at this website: www.children-of-the-rising-sun.org