Newsletter – November 2014

kanamai october 2014 034Paul paid a short visit to Kenya in October, really just to take our medicines, see patients, and catch up with projects with which the Trust is involved.

The situation continues to be rather precarious as far as our visits are concerned, and therefore for the time being we will keep visits to an absolute minimum.

There are very few tourists, and therefore the knock on effect of that is that there is very little work in the coastal district, so people are hungry, and of course, not able to afford medical help when it is required.

Two of the children who were sexually assaulted have required medical aid, and they will also need surgery in due course.  The young man involved is in prison awaiting trial.

The authorities requested that we move the toilets on the school site, so that work was started at the end of September, the last classroom is virtually finished now, and the playground has been resurfaced.  Due to the large number of power cuts, which often burns out the water pump, we have decided to put solar panels on the roof, which will not only solve the pump problem, but hopefully will reduce our electricity bills considerably.   The one thing Kenya is not short of is sunshine, so we might as well make good use of it!

kanamai october 2014 013We have been offered an acre of ground, about 1km away from Little Angels, to build a secondary school.   Paul was able to go to the site, and a photo of the land is in the attached pictures.  This would be an enormous commitment, as although we had previously thought that the parents would have to pay for the children’s higher education, as things stand at present, there is really very little hope of that. The site is on the outskirts of Taliban village, so we are going to look into building another block of toilets there for a start, and then considering the possibility of building a school.  As they say in Swahili – “pole, pole” pronounced pol-eh, pol-eh, (slowly, slowly)!  If anyone has any ideas about the secondary school, please let us have them!

kanamai october 2014 024The farm is providing vegetables for those farming there, and also people living nearby and the chickens are doing well.

Paul is planning to go out again in January – again just for a week – and we will continue to monitor the safety situation, but at present there are no plans for Pearl to go out as well.

We have been so grateful for all the support we have had this year, and we would like to thank you for your very many gifts.  Without them, we could not continue.   At the very least about 200 children are being educated, and fed, as well as very many more benefitting from the toilets we have built, wells we have either built or upgraded, medical treatment they have received and of course, those who work at the school, being paid. So thank you.

News from Kenya – September 2014

…….following our Appeal for money to purchase maize we were overwhelmed by the response and generosity.

As we write this update we want to share some exciting developments, and some sad news.

Bedminster Down School

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It was a terrible blow for Pearl and Paul that they were not able to go out with the children from Bedminster Down School at the beginning of the summer, as the security risk was too great.

However, at the last moment the school was able to arrange for the students to work at Suye Secondary School in Arusha, Tanzania. The school is a conversion from an old brick and cement factory.  Unfortunately the conversion is far from completed and there are essentially children going to school with pieces of old machinery still in the classrooms.

The student’s project was to convert the old brick making room (with 2 tonnes of machinery) into a library and working space for the children.  In addition, they were asked to paint murals inside the existing classrooms and lay about 5 tonnes of gravel onto their school courtyard.  Over the period of two weeks the students worked incredibly hard to make all of this happen.  After overcoming some fairly serious obstacles the conversion was completed just in time.

The crucial element of this was not just about helping in Africa but making a difference in the UK. The students found the experience very interesting and also incredibly moving.  There were lots of tears as they came to terms with the living conditions of some of the people around them.

At this stage the long term impacts are yet to be fully realised but there have been a whole range of issues that have been bought to their attention.  Specifically how fortunate they are to have a free education and how they need to make the most of the opportunities that are available to them.

Although we were disappointed Little Angels did not benefit we were able to facilitate a life changing event for the students which has been fantastic for both us and the school.

Grain appeal

Firstly thank you…….following our Appeal for money to purchase maize we were overwhelmed by the response and generosity.

Life is extremely difficult for our friends on the Coast in Kanamai.  The tourist industry has virtually dried up, so there is very little employment, and the rains have been particularly heavy this year.   As a result, much of the maize grown in their small plots was washed away.

We are delighted to report that we have been able to send out £1,000 each week for five weeks, and so around 10,000 people benefitted from the maize, which was given to every household within the villages.  In total, 5 tons in all were purchased:  £1,000 buys a ton of maize.

So – a very big thank you to everyone who contributed to this Appeal.

Little Angels

The heavy rains have delayed the building of the final classroom. We have been told it should be finished by the end of this month.

We have had the playground resurfaced, as it was in a poor state and, because of the dirt and dust, there was another outbreak of jiggers.   We have medicine for that, and we shall also have to make sure that those without shoes have some.

Secondary school

We have been offered another plot of land for a secondary school.  We have agreed to build a block of toilets, as a start, but whether we could raise enough to build a school remains to be seen.  It’s not just the building; it’s the ongoing costs, like salaries and books etc., which is the real problem.

We will continue to consider this alongside other projects we are doing.

Funding

So many people support the trust and we thank you for that. In recent weeks we have received two donations from America. We are in contact with these individuals and it shows how small the world really is. We don’t know where these connections will lead but it is exciting to know that people around the world share the same desire to help and make a difference.

Sharp reminder

Events in the last week have reminded us of the challenges facing countries like Kenya.

We were devastated to learn that at least 6 children aged about 6 had been raped by a young man living in the nearby village of Mabambani. Four of the children were boys; he also tried to abuse the matron at the school.

Although the children have been examined by a doctor no care has been provided for the children. We have provided funds from the Medical account for the more seriously injured children to undergo additional examinations and treatment. Unfortunately all the money in the world will not remove the scars in mind and body.

All have also had HIV tests which, thus far, have all been negative but need to be repeated in 3 months’ time.

Paul and Pearl know these little children so it has been hard them but even more so for the teachers and staff at the school and, of course, their parents.

As for the young man, he was arrested by police but because he comes from a wealthy family he has been released on bail. There is a possibility in a country where money talks that he could never be charged.

It reminds us that no support other than ours and yours is available to these very poor Little Angels.

Seems sad to end the newsletter on a negative note after so much positivity but it just reminds us of the challenges these countries face, and that continued support to these children is really important.

Newsletter July 2014

Dear Friends

As you will already know, the security situation in Kenya has become so uncertain that we, and many other schools, had to cancel our visit with children from Bedminster Down School. Fortunately, at the last minute, they were able to arrange a trip to Tanzania, working in schools there, so at least they were able to see something of the African way of life, though sadly not in Kenya.

P1010137 V1At the same time we realised that the situation there was causing great hardship.   Our people were without employment, and food, so we sent out a plea for funds to enable us to buy a ton of maize at a cost of £1,000 (about £1,000 was sent to us via the internet).   Pearl shared her concerns with our friends at St Peter’s Church in Portishead at their Sunday morning service, and by the Monday morning there were gifts totalling £1,500:   so money was immediately sent out for the first ton of maize flour.  The next week she reported all this to our friends at St Nicholas` Church, and immediately received gifts of more than £3,000!  So, another ton was bought the following week; and, last week, the 3rd ton was purchased, and the maize was immediately distributed to other Kanamai villages.

DSC_9531 V1We shall be sending out money in subsequent weeks until all the money donated for this emergency has been used up.   All in all, more than 8,000 people will each have received a couple of kilos of maize flour. We were quite overwhelmed by the response to our appeal; and we are so grateful to everyone who helped in providing this large amount of basic food within the Kanamai District of Kenya.  Together, we have made a difference!  It isn’t just about the food, it is also the knowledge that there are folk in England who care, and want to share in a small way some of the wealth we have here.

P1010130Despite the uncertain situation in Kenya, Paul felt it was right for him to go out, just for a week, and he has returned with pictures which we are attaching to this letter.   You can see just how your money has been used.   His prime reason for going was to provide ongoing medical care, and to ensure that people taking vital medicines for chronic conditions such as epilepsy, asthma, heart failure and hypertension did not run out of them, with disastrous consequences. He saw a very selected number of old patients, plus a few new ones. He admits that keeping  a very low profile was very frustrating, severely curtailing  what he was able to do;  but he accepts that going to Kenya may become increasingly challenging if the security situation doesn’t improve, as it probably won`t.  He thanks all those who prayed for his safety.

P1010120As you will see from the pics, he was able to join our ‘boys’ in distributing the maize in Mabambani village, where the school/clinic are located.   He stayed in a beach hotel within walking distance of the School.  He was often the only guest, which illustrates just what has happened to the tourist trade in that part of Kenya. It really is tragic, that a country with so much beauty and tradition, is failing miserably to cope with both corruption and Al Shabaab.

P1010134The politicians blame each other for their failure to protect their people from the terrorists who are killing poor Kenyans along the Northern Coast on an almost daily basis.  Kenya is now in desperate need of guidance and practical support from its friends in the West but, like most `post-colonial’ African States seems determined to cure its internal and external ills without our help –other than, of course, `Aid` (money)!

Sadly, we are discovering that small charities such as the KDT are now needed more, not less, by the very poor, frightened people of Coastal Kenya.

Paul and Pearl