Morning Porridge

Newsletter July 2017

 Above photo – morning porridge

Simple changes can sometimes make big improvements. The school has always had a ‘feeding programme’  where the maasai children are given morning porridge (watery boiled maize meal) and a vegetarian lunch – meat is expensive. The new head teacher noticed that most of the children have no breakfast before coming to school so moved the morning porridge to the start of the school day . Result – a  big improvement in the children’s concentration and behaviour, at no extra cost!

We now have around 180 sponsors educating the 209 children at the school. We all think about maths and science when education is mentioned but there are spin off benefits. Diana Siamanta from the eldest class writes about some of the benefits of education:

“Long time there was no education in maasai community. Further on now education has reached our land. This education has brought many changes to our community. Long time ago maasai used to circumcise girls but when education came we refused because of the knowledge we are gaining from our teachers. FGM has brought many effects to girls life. Education has also stopped early marriages which they used to marry small girls to old men.”

The school has owned laptop computers for some time but slowly they are being incorporated into lessons and lesson plans. Teacher Edgar is taking on the difficult task of moving the ICT project forwards; getting the IT illiterate teachers to now do all their planning on the computers and integrate computers into their lessons. This has saved a lot of money because previously, all the teachers’ resources had to be purchased from the Kenyan Education department.

Everlyne at the county championships
Everlyne at the county championships

Anyone who follows athletics will know that Kenya produces some  world class runners. We are thrilled to discover we have an excellent runner in school. Everlyne Naisula, aged 12 is now the county champion at 500m. Running at county level brings its own challenges – transport and costs. The family cannot help financially so the school has to pay for all the costs of taking her to the championships. We have shoes for Everlyne but many of the children she runs against run bare foot.

Not every child is an expert runner so the school is keen to have other activities at sports day. Does anyone have any older style sports equipment they can donate – sack races, egg and spoon, three legged races etc. It needs to be small because of suit case space.

New clothes for the children's home
New clothes for the children’s home

Janet and Derek recently visited the school and orphanage, bringing with them a £20 donation from a local church. The children in the children’s home / orphange all had a new top, shorts and flipflops. £20 can go a long way in the local Kenyan shops. A few comments from Loise  Metian, one of the girls in the children’s home:

“At school we eat enough food than at home
At school the sleeping place is very good than the skins of animals at home.
At home I was wearing dirty clothes but at school I wear clean clothes.”

All the school children are encouraged to develop non-educational skills so we are pleased to see most of the children enrolling in scouts. First aid was taught to the children and they had a 3 day camp (in tents) at school.

Scout leader with the school children
Scout leader with the school children

To widen the skills of the children, a  number of school clubs have been started. The music club  has the added benefit of educating the wider community through song and dance. Most of the parents in the area are illiterate so the music club perform their songs in the community to teach the parents about the effect of drugs, HIV and the effects of FGM. They recently performed in front of the Deputy President of Kenya.

The walking and hiking club gives the children an interest in their wider area as well as non classroom learning and bonding.

The art club teaches art – something missing from the Kenyan curriculum so not covered in normal Kenyan lessons. Donors have sent most of the art materials.

Art club
Art club

The local weather has continued to be a challenge. The rainfall over the past 2 years is well below average and there is very little vegetation for the animals. Most Maasai do not have any paid jobs; they scratch a living from raising goats and cows. There are no cows left in the area due to the lack of grass and most goats are just about surviving by eating leaves. Many are dying. The drought is country wide and the cost of basic foods is rapidly increasing. You cannot sell an emaciated animal so money in the area is very tight. There is unlikely to be any rain before November so things will just become worse over the next few months.

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We mentioned in the November 2016 newsletter that the school borehole, installed in 2013 had pumped over 4M litres of water, enough to fill 12 large swimming pools. A few weeks ago it suffered its first major breakdown. We thought the pump, 150m (500 feet) down inside the borehole had broken, but on removing it we found  a broken metal adaptor. A simple fix and the solar pump is now working again. The lack of rain is making all our borehole struggle to pump enough water. Demand increases and the water table in the surrounding area has reduced. Water  from this borehole has been slowly reducing, year on year. In this dry area of Kenya, a 150m deep borehole is just not deep enough!

Scout leaders watching the pump removal at the school.
Scout leaders watching the pump removal at the school.

The project to repair the many broken hand pumps in Kenya continues. We are now getting closer to 300 repaired pumps. With each pump serving say 200 people, that is another 50-60,000 people with clean water.

As always, a massive thank you to all the donors and helpers as without you, these projects would not be happening.

You are welcome to leave a comment below.

 

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26 thoughts on “Newsletter July 2017”

    1. Glad you liked it. We usually distribute a food parcel to the parents of the school children at the end of term in October. This is a few weeks before the rains come in November (hopefully) and the time when everything is most desperate. If you would like to contribute to it, please use the donate page on the website and mention that it is for the food parcel – thanks.

  1. Fantastic work as usual. Great to hear of all the clubs too. The children s own comments were a nice addition Roger. If only we could send our rain clouds or transfer water! Keep up the good work.

    1. It’s now a lot easier to include comments since the new head teacher Bonface is running the school. Just ask for a few essays and they arrive! Also helped by the children being a little older so they now have views on the world and better written English. Glad you enjoyed the newsletter.

  2. Up to what age are the children educated and what happens next. One of the chldren I sponsor is in the older age group, I think. Will we continue to sponsor her in a different school? Will we be asked about a younger child? Just curious as we want to continue our support.

    1. Hi Joanne. Currently there are a total of 11 primary years – 3 pre school years (baby, nursery and pre unit) then 8 primary years (class 1 to 8). This takes a child to around 14 or 15 years old assuming that have not missed any school years. After primary, there are 4 secondary school years. I would estimate that only about 30% of primary children in Kenya continue to secondary schools. Once your sponsor child finishes primary school, you are most welcome to support the same child through secondary school if you wish but it will be at a different school, the exact school depending on how well your child does at the end of school exams.
      This is the current situation, the 3,8,4,4, education system (the final 4 being university). For the past 2 years, the Kenyan government has been talking about changing everything to a 2,6,3,3,3 system. We will know at some stage!
      Your oldest sponsor child is in class 4 so just over 4 years before she finishes Primary school. Thanks for supporting both children so far.

  3. I’m still amazed by how much you mange to achieve. It really is amazing. The little girl we sponsor has changed so much from the sad little girl in the original photo that we are now unable to identify her in any of the general photos. Would it be possible to have end of term photos with the pupils identified and named.
    I have sent general post cards of where we live in East Anglia, landscapes, and seascapes, no houses, castles or luxurious scenes but I’ve no idea if they get delivered. do you consider it a good idea or is best not to do it?

    1. Hi Peter. Thanks for your comments. You will be receiving another update about your sponsor girl in October, including photos. Did you send the cards direct to the school? If so it is a bit hit and miss whether they arrive, and also a 20 mile round trip to collect them from the P.O box. Probably better to send them to Tracey / Helen who will hand deliver them. Any child that receives a card or letter will write back so it suggests that they may not have arrived. Excellent to hear that they contain only landscapes, seascapes or animals. We do try to avoid cards showing wealth.

  4. I heard your recent newsletter at my daughter’s house in Shetland. She signed up to your web site in Thaxted, several years ago, when we first saw the marvelous dancers. I would like to send you a small donation. Is it possible to get a cheque sent to an address you can make use of. ? Please advise. The newsletter was very interesting. I’m glad I heard it. I am virtually blind now and very deaf. I am ninety eight years old and still remember the dancers. Thank you for all the work of bringing them to the U.K. Margaret Slee

    1. Hi Margaret. Thanks for offering to help the Maasai Warriors community. You can send a cheque to Osiligi Charity Projects, Elwell House, West Buckland, Barnstaple, Devon, EX32 0SW. As you can see from the newsletter, it will be put to good use and 100% of any donation is used in Kenya. Glad to hear that you so enjoyed the Maasai performance all those years ago.

  5. Thanks for the continuing up-dates. All very encouraging in spite of the drought (and other) problems. I have visited Uganda twice with The Cliff College International Training Centre team (as well as Sierra Leone and Nigeria many times). Our next trip to East Africa may be to Kenya which is the mother church for the Uganda Methodist Church. We will probably be based at KeMU (Kenya Methodist University. I’m not sure when or exactly where but near Nairobi so a visit to Osiligi may be possible – I’ll get in touch with Tracey as I am (professionally) interested in the Safe House/Orphanage project as well as the school.
    – and, Margaret, I too was inspired to get involved by the visiting dancers!

    1. We look forwards to you visiting the school and orphanage the next time you visit Kenya.It’s about 30 miles South West of Nairobi. Just arrange with Tracey.

  6. I am so excited to read of the happenings, I pray improvements willshow the children and parents that they are not forgotten. I love the dance routines/shows. and would love to support in more ways than just money – although I appreciate that too is a major necessity- My prayers are with all who help in whatever way, thankyou to the local organizers. May they be blessed .Heres to the next few years of service and improvements and Lord please send the much needed rain.

    1. Thanks Florence. It’s lovely to see the school growing. Thanks for your help in the early days getting it to where it is.

  7. What you are doing is eye watering. I plan to make a donation but also, it has occurred to me that you might be interested in a possible link to a Schools project in Nepal which currently involves upwards of 28000 school children. If you are interested, I can give you the relevant contacts plus will send them an introductory message. They are wonderful people and as you might imagine, they have some problems that are probably not dissimilar to yours.

    1. Thanks for the offer of a donation David. The Charity does not have any spare resources to work with another country / project but the school in Kenya may well be interested in the link. It all helps the children grow up into a global world. I will ask the school if they are interested in the link. I will come back to you.

  8. There is no exercise better for heart than reaching down and lifting people up , look at how you have helped this Maasai community!

    1. Thanks Bonface. Much of what is now happening at the school is down to your hard work as Head Teacher.

  9. Hi Roger and Helen

    Are you taking donations to help our future Olympic runner? I am a size 4 and could donate some women running shoes, alternatively we would donate some cash to pay for any costs associated with her competing. Also we would like to send some art materials, when you next go. And are you still collecting shoes for the children? I am saving some but not sure whether or not to send them on to you.

    Regards

    Jo

    1. Thanks for your offer of support for the runner Jo. We are keen to support her running career but will speak to her sponsor first.

      Shoes – We have to be a little more selective these days due to lack of suitcase space. We need boys and girls sizes 2-5, black leather, ideally non lace-up. Thanks

  10. Hi Roger and Helen,

    I just love reading your newsletters. Such a lot of progress and achievements. So many opportunities for the children. Reading their own words is particularly moving.
    Please remind me of items/letters that I can send to yourselves for your next visit.

    Best wishes,
    Susan

    1. Hi Susan, thanks for your comments. Cards or photos are great for the children but please avoid pictures of wealth if possible. Thanks

  11. Hi…. Once again this is such and inspiring newsletter. I’m glad the children are encouraged to sing and paint and walk, and impressed at the anti-FGM campaign. May the rains come soonest! Rosa

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