A time to reflect

wavingFor a year we have been working with Bedminster Down Secondary School to enable ten students and two teachers to visit and work at the School. The students have worked hard to raise the money for the trip, and everything was in place for their visit. Two weeks ago, Pearl was at the school packing bags of books, pencils, paper, clothes, toys and blankets with the children and everything was in place ready for their visit. More importantly, this visit would have been potentially a life changing experience for them.

Sadly, recent events in Nigeria have created a ripple effect across Africa and now the Foreign & Commonwealth Office has advised that Kenya has become too volatile to travel to, with white people being particular targets. It was with heavy hearts that the trip to Kenya was cancelled. The school have worked hard to find an alternative option for the children and they will now be travelling to Tanzania, visiting and working in a number of schools out there. Hopefully they can share some of their experiences with us to include in our next update.

From the Trust`s point of view we have to accept that travel to Kenya is too dangerous at present. This will have an impact on our ability to take items out for the school and for the clinic. We don’t know what the future holds for our friends in Kenya, and we do hope that at some time ‘normality’ will return and we can feel that it is safe for us to travel.

Since reaching this decision, Pearl has been to Bedminster Down, and has agreed with Ben, the teacher most involved with organising the trip, that they should take the packed bags with them to Tanzania, and distribute these items in the schools and villages they visit. We will keep the blankets which have so lovingly been knitted for us for the Dormitory, and hope to take them out with us at some point in the future.

We can still operate from the UK, as we have a good local team in Kenya. This week we have sent money out to complete the classroom which our children were going to help to build, and when it is finished we will call it the Bedminster Down Room, as they had collected the money for its build.

We have had fantastic and generous donations in recent weeks including £1,500 from Dr Liesl Currie, and her family and friends, who completed the Bristol 10k race – an amazing amount of money. Thank you Liesl and all your supporters! We have also been given a gift of £3,000 to enable us to build another block of toilets in a village without any sanitary facilities.

Poverty and hunger are on the increase in Kanamai. The fence around the school was damaged as thieves targeted the school’s food store. We have sent money out to fix the fence.

On a daily basis, the Charity continues to fund the teaching staff and provide money for food for the children. We will continue to do this and therefore it is important that, although we cannot visit, we can still provide the financial support for the school to grow. Bedminster Down School will also be providing support to the school.

So much has been achieved over the last few years and we are continually grateful for the support we have had. We know it will be harder if we can no longer regularly visit Kanamai, but we have to consider our own safety and also the safety of our Kenyan friends. The situation may change, but we don’t know when. We will ask the team in Kenya to supply photos so we can show progress.

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