Two of our school children with their mother.

Newsletter March 2019

The above photo shows 2 of our school children with their mother outside their hut. As you can see, it is a traditional small mud and stick hut. No light, no toilet, with just a small cooking area and space to sleep. We are expecting many of these children to have some of the best exam results in the county – amazing when you consider the background of most of the children. Their sponsors should feel really proud of the opportunity they are giving these children. In most families, these are the first generation to have an education. This causes problems with homework as there is no light and the children have to do household chores as soon as they arrive home, such as find the goats (boys) or collect fire-wood or look after the younger children (girls).

Looking after younger children after school.
Looking after younger children after school.

A Dutch charity donated these brand new water pumps – 60 pieces. They are more complicated and expensive to install than the normal pumps available in Kenya but they are expected to be more reliable. We put them in important locations such as school, health clinics etc. We are still repairing broken hand pumps and have now exceeded 700, but where the pump is irreparable we now have the option of these new pumps.

A new 'blue pump' installed at a clinic.
A new ‘blue pump’ installed at a clinic.

The pumps come from Holland in a shipping container, complete with all the pipes and pump rods. Hidden inside the pipes are drinking bottles so each of our school children are now the proud owners of a personal drinking bottle, as are children in many other schools.

Filling the drinking bottle with water
Filling the drinking bottle with water

Kajiado County health authority is taking part in a World Health Organisation project to treat every primary school pupil with  antibiotic syrup for the eye disease, Trachoma. The project has been a great success with a reduction in the disease from 60% of the population to 20%. They hope to eradicate the disease in 5 years. We were wrong to assume that the many red or opaque eyes in Olepolos were due to smoke in their huts from cooking fires. The disease is transmitted by flies or on hands. If caught early the drugs are very effective. If left, an operation is required but with only 40% success rates. The photo shows our school children lining up to take their medicine.

Children lining up to take their Trachoma medicine
Children lining up to take their Trachoma medicine

Kisames, a small shanty town about 1Km from the school has long been filthy with rubbish. It improved about a year ago when Kenya banned plastic bags (it is illegal to have a plastic bag in Kenya) but it was still a disgrace. Our school is trying to be a shining light in supporting the local community. A few weeks ago the children took food and water to some of the elderly and recently they had a litter picking afternoon in Kisamis. We are hoping the locals of Kisamis have been shamed or encouraged by the efforts of our pupils to keep the place clean.

The children collecting and burning rubbish in Kisamis.
The children collecting and burning rubbish in Kisamis.

Norah is matron of the orphanage/safe-house. The numbers of children here keep going up. Death and family breakdowns are common. Snakes and scorpions can get in through the gaps under the doors. With 14 children at home and no adult around to help, Norah nervously overpowered a cobra the size of her broom – with her broom.

The school matron tacking a cobra.
The school matron holding her weapon.

Our learning through computers project is fortunate enough to be supported by 2 schools. Both St Joseph’s from the UK and Sha Tin Junior from Hong Kong have donated computers. Thanks to them, we now have 45 computers in school with a further 15 in transit from Hong Kong. The extra computers is causing our school solar electrical system (we have no grid electricity) to creak so it will need upgrading soon.

It is not all hard work at school. One of our sponsors generously donated a treat for every pupil and staff member: a mandazi (African doughnut). Everyone chipped in to make 800 mandazi in the school kitchen. It was too hot for such mass production but well worth the money at 2.5p per mandazi. This was big news in Kisamis, the nearby town.

Finally, a few videos of the children performing in the school dining room.

Class 3 singing I look upon the sun.
Class 1 singing ‘shake a mango tree’.

Our thanks as always to the many kind donors and sponsors who make all these projects possible.

Comments are now closed

Helen & Roger March 2019.

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33 thoughts on “Newsletter March 2019”

  1. It’s always good to hear the news. Positive changes and great to hear the children are out in the community. Always smiling happy people. Thanks for all your hard work.

    1. Thanks Eileen. The Head Teachers is putting working with the community into the heart of the school; something I completely endorse.

      1. Thanks for the comment. Eric and his team are doing a great job with repairing pumps. Why other charities just leave installed pumps to break down is beyond me. A repair costs a small fraction of the cost of a completely new installation.

  2. Love hearing about the school and even better to see the video clips . A happy school environment is clear to see and also the fact that the headteacher is keen in involving the local community . I am so very very proud to be a supporter . Well done Helen and Roger for your hard work and your vision x

    1. Thanks for your thoughts Emily. All too many Kenyan schools think that children absorb an education just by being there, i.e. the content is not important. We are concentrating very hard on providing the best quality education. When you consider the poor start in life that most of these children have, they need an excellent education so they can compete with others in the eventual job market.

  3. So lovely to read this newsletter. I’m so privileged to be able to help. Well done on all your hard work Helen and Roger. Warmest wishes, Adele

  4. So much joy in the faces of the children and adults. I can feel the positive energy 🙂
    Well done all concerned. I echo Adele’s comment … it is a privilege to help.

  5. How very humbling to see the lady outside her home at the top of the page. As I consider having to declutter and downsize at my time of life, and compare even my own garden shed with what she has, I realise we have absolutely no idea how they live.
    I am truly grateful to have an outlet here through which to help their standards and health improve, and I realise I should be doing more

    Thank you both for continuing in this work

    1. We have been visiting the area for 10 years but we are still amazed just how little many people survive on. Often a few plates, cups and pans plus a water carries are their only possessions. It does mean that for many of our school children, the first book they have ever seen is when they start school.

  6. Wow – all power to Norah!

    Interesting about the plastic bag ban in Kenya, if only we could emulate it in the UK. However, the trachoma doses in a plastic bag using plastic cups does not fit this protocol. (Perhaps medical uses are exempt?)

    Thank you and well done to you Roger and Helen, like others I feel privileged to be part of your amazing and humbling work.

    1. An interesting observation on the plastic bags with the medicine. All the shops now give out a type of thin cloth bag. When entering the country, the airlines are advising passengers to leave any plastic bags on the ‘plane, including any bags used for duty free.

  7. A fascinating insight into the lives of the Masai children and their families. It really helps to bring home how much our relatively small donations can bring so much to a community. The children all look so smart and happy. Bringing in the goats or collecting firewood after school is so different to children here spending their time after school checking their social media on their smartphones.

    1. The children are kept very busy by their parents after school time which causes a problem with homework. The head teacher would like to board the exam class (class 8 next year) to avoid the home pressures.

  8. Thank you for such an informative newsletter. It provides a fascinating insight into the charity and the people it supports. We are so pleased that we are able to contribute to such vital work. Well done Roger and Helen.

  9. How happy everyone looks. There is obviously a wonderful atmosphere in the school you have created. It must be a great example to others. Wish all children in this country were so positive about education.

    1. The children really value an education as they see it as their passport to a better life. In the UK I am not sure that we really see the benefits that an education brings.

  10. I am immensely proud of the progress that our sponsor child has made at the school. Every time we receive a letter or drawing from her we notice an improvement. Yes, we are proud of the fact that we have given Christine the opportunity, but we are even prouder of the effort she has put in.

    1. Nearly all the children try really hard. Perhaps some of the boys are less enthusiastic but that is probably the same the world over

    1. Thanks for your support Marco, although I suspect that there are similar challenges in China.

  11. Great update and videos! Amazing story about the Cobra… What’s brave lady!! I was so glad to visit your amazing school two years ago with my daughter to meet her little girl, Deborah Nosim, and bring school supplies. I’ve just shown our son this newsletter and the young boy he is now sponsoring – and he is really excited! As someone else said, it’s too bad we can’t ban plastic here in the USA. 🤷🤷 Thank you, Roger and Helen, for everything you do. It is an honour for our family to know you and be a small part of your school.

    1. Thanks for your support Diane. I hope your son gains from his insight into another culture.

      1. What can I add to what everyone’s has already said!
        I just love the ‘Shack The Mangoe Tree ‘ performance!
        Well done Helen and Roger. Your reward awaits you in heaven!

  12. How privileged we are to be able to share this insight to lives which are so different to ours. God Bless you and all involved. How I wish to be there (temporarily!)
    My heart goes out to the pump pumpers but what a blessing it must be to the families involved. I do wonder what else we could do to better their lives without spoiling their traditions. I feel so inadequate. Bless you both .

    1. i suspect that the best long term solution is a good education as this allows people to design their own destiny. Short term, there is no better help than local clean water.

  13. Thanks for the interesting newsletter…I’m struck by the huge difference that the school is making for the children and others in the surrounding area. Who knows what positive benefits will result in the area over the coming years? From little seeds giant oak trees grow. Thanks so much Roger and Helen…I feel privileged to be a part of this!

    1. It’s a 20 or more year project but we expect some great improvements to the area in 20 years time, thanks to the educated youth. As an example, the government opened an office in the local small town (Kisamis) 1KM away. Nearly all of the government workers had to be brought in from outside the area as the local population just did not have the skills. This should all change in a few years time.

  14. I found the newsletter to be extremely interesting and informative.
    Would you please let me know how I can contribute to your good work, although I am in my 80s and therefore on a pension. But nevertheless I would like to contribute.

  15. Roger and Helen. I cannot imagine the sacrifice you are making to our community. we cant have anything to offer but just our heart filled with thanks giving. To all who are in support of osiligi obaya and the entire community i say thank you very much. I really miss the little Angels there in Kisamis and you people may our good Lord bless you abundantly.

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