Newsletter -June 2020

Such a lot has happened since our last newsletter, so I thought an update was due.

The biggest changes of course have been because of Covid-19. Paul was not able to go to Kenya for his 12-weekly clinic in mid-May. Providentially, in February he had linked up with a nearby government clinic and a young Kenyan doctor named Claus. Claus was able to source all the medicines from a nearby Mombasa pharmacy. We sent out the money, and Claus and our friends have carried out the distribution and are seeing selected sick patients. Dr Claus is very well connected with other doctors and surgeons working nearby, and this has already been a real step forward. After all these years, Paul now has a young colleague who is carrying on the work in his absence. It looks as if Paul and Claus will have to do the same again in August. At present we are just working from month to month.

Of course, things are never easy in Kenya! The government decided we could no longer have a dormitory, due to problems with safeguarding in other schools. That has been a big blow for us and the children involved, and it has taken a good deal of organising to make sure they were looked after. They also gave us a long list of things we needed to do to at the school, to bring it up to their requirements, and we have been getting them done over the Spring months. The Easter holiday then ran into lockdown and closure because of Covid- 19. And can you believe this? Someone got into the school at night and dug up all the pipe work for the water supply to the toilets! Add to that, some goats got into the classrooms and made themselves at home. We have had to replace the pipes, and the water tower and tank, in time for the school to re-open next week June 8. The classrooms needed a very deep clean and disinfecting. To achieve social distancing, only 70 of the 200 children at the school will be in school at any one time. We did have a slightly stressful moment when our school leaders thought it would be a good idea to cut the desks in half, but we quickly persuaded them that would not be necessary! But we have had to buy a few extra desks.

As for the dormitory, we shall be converting this into a much larger clinic and pharmacy, as a joint outreach venture of the KDT and the Vipingo Medical Centre. There are good toilets and washbasins there, and this will be another big step forward. We can more easily lock up medicines too, which is good.

All the local factories have closed, as have the few hotels, so no-one is able to find work. Add to that the severe weather conditions – drought followed by torrential rain – you can possibly imagine the hardship being experienced by our Kanamai villagers, who have received absolutely no help from the local government. We have ensured that the most hungry and vulnerable are being fed and cared for; but without the Kanamai Trust there would be starvation, plus death from infectious diseases.

So, despite ‘lockdown’ here, we have continued. We have difficult moments, and sometimes, we have reluctantly had to say ‘no’ to some requests, but we do the best we can.

We were planning to have a Summer Ball this year, but of course that had to be cancelled. So we are now very low on funds; but we trust that money will continue to come in. Unlike large charities, we don`t rely on large donations from big organizations which, due to the sudden, huge falls in their earnings, are having to withdraw their charitable giving. As always, we can assure you that we use your donations extremely carefully, knowing that we are responsible to you personally for how we deploy them.

On a personal note, because he is now aged 70, Paul has been working in semi-isolation at Southmead, doing daily `virtual` clinics. He has avoided catching Covid -19 thus far, and his recent antibody test was negative. So this rather lonely and restrictive way of working may have to continue until an effective vaccine has been found. Then, perhaps, he can return to normal working, and eventually to his beloved Kenya. I am well, working in the garden and in the house, and looking after our two new `rescued` cats. They have settled in well, though how they will feel when I am not at home all the time, remains to be seen!

We hope you, too, are well. I am afraid we have no photos available, but If you have any questions or requests, do please get in touch with us?

With greetings and good wishes.

Christmas 2019 Newsletter

Dear Friends

As I am preparing the accounts for the year end, I am very conscious that we could not have done what we have done without your help.

The school has continued, the children fed, the students leaving this year have done well in their end of school exams, and are now able to go onto secondary education, which is a great achievement. We have continued, despite all the problems we seem to face on a daily basis. Even as I write this, I do so, knowing that our school is under attack. In the last week or so, our security lights have been stolen, and several desks and chairs taken from one of the classrooms; our fencing has also been damaged, as men have broken on to the site. Our security guard has given up, as he is so scared – he was chased by guys with machetes. And this is all happening because of the extreme poverty they all live with. Chopping up our desks and chairs for firewood to sell, is understandable when you have nothing to eat, but it does cause us problems. Now, too, the weather is very bad and causing extreme flooding, as you may have seen on the t.v.

Paul continues to run his medical clinic on site, every 12 weeks and now has the assistance of a nurse, (who we pay for) to help him. He has also met a (local) surgeon there, who is very interested in helping Paul, so we will pursue this lead.

With the help of a school here in the UK we have been able to purchase some play equipment for the playground this year, and we are very grateful for all the help we get from the two schools who Pearl visits on a regular basis.

So…. Still plenty to do…….Thank you so much for your help and interest in the Kanamai Trust. You really are making a difference! Have a lovely Christmas.

From Pearl, Paul and all the Trustees.

Newsletter Summer 2019

All the schools in the UK have now closed for the long holiday. Paul and I have already had our main holiday for this year, and towards the end of August, Paul will be going back to Kenya for another medical `camp` (as it`s called there).

Pearl has been visiting various schools and organisations, the last being last month, when one of our local schools Year 2 put on a singing concert in aid of the Kanamai Trust. As well as the concert, two girls did a sponsored silence, and raised £104, and another girl held a sale of her toys and other things at her home, and at the school and raised a further £117. They wished us to use the money to buy play equipment for the playground at The Little Angels, and this money will be going out to Kenya in this coming week. It is very encouraging to see such commitment from young people, and we are so grateful to them, and the schools, for giving us these opportunities to spend time with their children.

Life is very precarious in Mabambani, where The Little Angels is situated. A young man was recently killed and two others have gone missing. This was reported on National TV and questions are being asked of the police. It`s all about land, and wealthy landowners and landgrabbers pay the police to deal with difficult villagers. Corruption is rife in Africa, and it is a constant problem our friends must live with.

The School continues to thrive, and we have been delighted to hear how well the senior children have performed in their National examinations. These students, who have all qualified for a high school education, have to pay school fees, buy school uniforms, shoes and books. For the past two years we have managed to cover the costs of 22 students, with help from some kind friends who have sponsored one or more of them. It costs about £200 a year to keep one student in high school. Although some parents are able to provide support, many can`t. So we do need help to make it possible for these very committed children to continue their education until the age of 18, when they receive their National diploma and the opportunity of higher education or a good career. We shall have another batch leaving school at the end of 2019. If you can help, please do get in touch with us?

Paul continues to go out to Kenya every 12 weeks, where he regularly sees about 60 patients and distributes about 150 prescriptions. He remains very busy, working full time at Southmead Hospital while always preparing for the next camp. Although we do all we can to make sure the paperwork required to import medicines is valid, there are often questions asked at Nairobi Airport. It is amazing how often they seem to change the rules! Still, we carry on. He has also given a lecture to the doctors at Kilifi District Hospital.

The cost of living – of food and petrol – continues to rise rapidly in Kenya, and so sadly the days when £40 per year paid for a child`s education at the Little Angels are long gone. Realistically, it has doubled. Teachers` salaries have risen, and the cost of basic foodstuffs – maize, porridge, sugar, rice, etc. – are astronomical. We are very rarely able to provide meat for the children, so their diet is mainly vegetarian. That is not a problem, but does need more managing. We currently have 15 children in the dormitory, and in fact one of our older children, who is at secondary school now, is living and helping out there, after suffering abuse from a family member.

This update may seem a little gloomy but, sadly, the socio-economic status of the poor people of Coastal Kenya has in fact become worse rather than better in recent years. So the Dinner/Dance we held in March, attended by almost 100 friends and supporters, was a great encouragement to us; as are the many verbal and written expressions of support we receive. Interest in the Kanamai Trust among people of all ages seems as intense as ever. We have already booked the venue for next years` Dinner/Dance – Saturday 13th June at the Aztec Hotel , Bristol . More details of that later, but meanwhile, please book the date!

So, very many thanks for your support – we really do need you – and every pound counts and makes a difference.

We hope you enjoy the rest of the Summer.

With all good wishes and our sincere thanks

Paul and Pearl