Kanamai Update – February 2023

Just a quick recap. We found this area – which is about 40kms north of Mombasa – on a holiday to Kenya way back in 2005. Such poverty was a shock. Mud and stone huts…no toilets….. no fresh water… no shoes ….. not much in the way of employment so children not able to go to school. We felt we had to try and make a difference. We have slowly over the years, built a school, a clinic, toilets, a small farm, and sunk new wells.

We now have about 200 children attending school (free) and providing a simple breakfast, and lunch as well as good teaching, which has enabled them to go on to senior education. This means that we have teaching staff, a cook, caretaker, doctor, and guard to employ. We take children of all faiths and none into the school.
This has kept us very busy ever since!

Sadly, lots of things have not changed. There is even less employment available now since the pandemic, as most hotels round about have closed. There have been changes in government, but not a lot has changed. The extreme weather conditions continue to cause us problems. They had little rain for about 4 years, so the ground became useless for growing anything, and when the rains did come it just flooded everywhere as the ground was like cement. The outcome has been empty bellies.

However, the work of the school (Little Angels) continues as is like an oasis in the middle of a desert. Although we continue to provide some food, we cant do it at the weekends and school holidays, so last weekend, 4 hungry children – found a mango tree with fruit on it, and while one or two climbed it, the others stayed underneath it to collect the fruit. Unfortunately a huge branch broke off onto the children who were all badly injured. 3 were taken to hospital, and the first we knew was when we received a call Saturday lunchtime to say the hospital would not do anything until they had some money to pay for their treatment. One needed urgent surgery to his foot, another had a broken arm which needed setting, and the third had severe lacerations. They also needed blood transfusions. They were considering amputating the boys foot, but fortunately, after two operations they have saved his leg, and now he is out of ICU. Sadly, the 4th child, who went home, obviously had internal injuries and died at home, the night of the accident.

That was over the weekend. On Monday we were told that the government wanted every school to have a lab for science lessons, stipulating what size the classroom needed to be, and the equipment needed. So another challenge we face!

We are so very grateful to those who have supported over us over the years.

Every penny has been well spent. So – thank you.

Pearl & Paul Walker.

Quick Summer Update – July 2022

12th July.

I have heard today that there is an outbreak of cholera, dengue and chikungunya in the area. The authorities have visited our school, and although we do not have any cases of any of these awful diseases in the school, they have forced us to close the school until we have changed the toilets, and sinks, and changed the floor and the taps in the kitchen and ensured new good drainage. The cost will be about £1200. Though I have not expected this expense, I have sent out the money. Food or drains – what a choice – but we must try and keep the children at school if we can.

Pearl.

Kanamai Trust newsletter – Summer 2022

Writing this, as I am, on a lovely morning, with the sun shining and feeling safe and secure, it seems so sad that in other parts of the world, despite the weather, many are living in fearful and dangerous situations.

The war in the Ukraine is awful, and it is heartbreaking to see what families are going through in that country. We are also now realising that this war is having serious consequences around the world, and in the last month or so we have faced this in Kanamai. Food, where still available, has more than doubled in price. There is very little fuel now, and the number of people who are completely without food is growing daily. Maize and flour have until now come from Ukraine, and so is in short supply; whilst the oil used for cooking has dried up. If you add into the mix that there has been a long drought, so Kenyans have been unable to grow their own food; and that the water levels are so low that their wells have dried up, you will see that our poor friends are in a crisis. In some parts of Kenya people are already dying through starvation. We know this to be true since we hear about it from our friends in Kanamai. And we see in the media huge siloes full of grain going to waste due to the Russian blockade of Odessa.

In past years, we have been able to help our friends by buying large quantities of grain when they have been unable to grow their own food due to drought, but it has never been as bad as this, with the price of grain increasing weekly. We have been forced to reduce the food we provide for the children to just one meal a day, and this is just scratching the surface I am afraid, since this doesn’t cover weekends and out- of- term time. Unless things improve fairly quickly, this will escalate to become a huge, global problem.

I am afraid I don’t have any answers to ease their pain, except to give as much money as we can, and hope and pray that this situation does not get any worse. We are continuing to teach the children at the Little Angels, but whether children will be able to continue to go to senior school is debatable. Even our teachers who have children at senior school are finding that, because of the cost of food, they are not able to send their children to school. For them it really is a case of food – or schooling.

If you feel able to give a little extra for food, we will gladly send it out on your behalf. Our friends are well organised and know which of the Kanamai villages and residents are in the direst need, and will endeavour to buy and distribute grain amongst the poorest. We are determined than no-one in Kanamai will starve.

We are planning for Paul to visit again in August, just after the Presidential election, which is always a time of unrest and often rioting, so hopefully the worst will be over before he goes out there.

Pearl has been asked to speak to some of the children at a local school here in Portishead in July. This will be her first visit for more than two years.

Meanwhile, we do thank you for your continuing interest in the work of the Kanamai Trust. We are so grateful for that, and it has been lovely to hear from so many during the time we have all been isolated through the pandemic.