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.

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