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.