Kanamai Development Trust Update – June 2021

Kanamai Development Trust Update – June 2021

We have been so grateful for all the personal and church support we have received for the Trust over the past year, and through the pandemic, and now that we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel, we thought you would like to know what we have been doing.

Just before lockdown in February 2020, Paul met a Kenyan doctor, who was very keen to help him, as at that time, he was not working.  He helped Paul whilst he was there, and on Paul’s return to the UK, he arranged for the Kenyan doctor to deal with some of the urgent needs.   Little did we know then that 18 months on, he would still be running the clinic on Paul’s behalf on his own!   We are so grateful to him, as without him, many on life saving medication would certainly have died.    So, although Paul has not been able to go out to Kenya, the work has carried on.

Little Angels was closed just before Easter 2020, and we were told that it would not open again until January 2021.   So, we arranged some tuition for the older children who would have been sitting their end of school exams that year.    However, in September and at very short notice, the Kenyan educational department, gave instructions that schools could re-open.   To help the older children we arranged for extra tuition, as we were also told they would sit their final exams in January or February.  Like here, they had to observe social distancing and this meant making changes at the school.   As we were told we could no longer have children living in the dormitory, we decided to make the dormitory into a larger clinic and pharmacy and put in hand the changes which needed to be made in the school.  A lot of looting had taken place whilst the school was closed, and we needed to replace some desks and chairs and other equipment which had been taken.

We are pleased to say 19 children passed their exams, so have now moved up to secondary school.   This is a great achievement for them, and also for the teachers who helped with extra tuition.  

The much-needed tourist trade in Kenya has virtually stopped, so now there is extreme unemployment, and of course poverty is rife particularly in the area in which we work.   Unlike here, they have had no rain which usually falls in March/April, so crops have died, and they are being told that the price of food is likely to triple. 

Although state school teachers received no pay during the pandemic, we continued to pay our staff, though at a reduced rate, and now that everywhere is so dry, we have cleaned and deepened our well, and are looking at other ways of saving money, including adding solar panels.   We have also given, and continue to give, basic food to some of the families who have no means whatsoever of earning money in these difficult times.  

Your money has enabled us to keep going, and so we do want to thank you, not just for your interest and support, but on behalf of all the people have benefitted from your generosity.      (Pearl & Paul Walker)   

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.