End of term

Newsletter November 2014

(Above photo – the children receiving a gift of soap and flannel at the school closing ceremony)

We are delighted to hand over our newly built clinic in the school grounds to Medicforce, an American charity who will run it independently from us. They get off to a flying start by giving a health check to every child in school. The Baby (Reception) class are the first to queue and are expecting the worst: an injection!

Testing lungs by blowing a disk
Testing lungs by blowing a disk

They are in fact tested for temperature, sight, lung function, height and weight, teeth and something mysterious involving ear wiggling.  The medics are superb, making everything fun. Lungs are tested by blowing a smiley face on a string.

The playground is now a dangerous place full of blood, vomit, screams and groans. One man lies at an awkward angle having fallen from the roof but really, all is well. For eight days a paramedic is training 4 local Maasai as community health workers. For the students and medics it’s very intensive work; for us in the office it’s great entertainment.

Closing assembly - how to use a facecloth and soap.
Closing assembly – how to use a facecloth and soap.

Gifts for achievement given out in final assembly are poignant. What Western child would be happy with a plastic plate or a toilet roll? This assembly has culture as its theme and all the children come in Maasai dress. The school drama club treat us to an exuberant, Kalinjin tribal dance and we are moved to tears by just how far these disadvantaged children have come. We are ever mindful that without their sponsors, most of these children would today be wandering with their family’s goats or collecting water and sticks rather than receiving an education.

Dressed for the end of year ceremony
Dressed for the end of year ceremony. Note the Dulux gloss paint on their face.

Kisamis, our local town is buzzing.  A crowd of thousands has come to watch the Vice President of Kenya open a county administrative centre.  Numerous adults perform warm up acts for three hours before his arrival but our own drama group are the only ones privileged  to perform their Kalinjin piece for him and the 30 politicians. The VP is from the Kalinjin tribe and grins widely during the performance. Our school is firmly on the map and we feel rather proud.

We understand nothing of the many speeches in Swahili but find out later that the Vice President is dismissive of older men marrying young girls: “My age mates, how can you think of marrying a girl under 18?”

Each year seems worse than the previous. The November short rains have come, but this year they have been very very short. We asked why some of the goats are now returning to the area when there is no grass for them. The answer is that there is almost no grass left anywhere in the Maasai lands of Kenya, so they might as well come home to die. Without torrents of rain soon, it will be desperate.

Food parcels from our child sponsors are a life saver. Each family received the following:

Food parcel to each family
Food parcel to each family containing rice, ugali flour, sugar, tea, fat, cabbage and chapatti flour.

To quote Peninah, a Maasai woman:

“The mothers are very happy to have food as now it is very dry and they don’t have anything to eat. The cows and goats are very thin and you cannot sell them. Four out of 10 have died.”

Two words that should never be seen together: Drunk and electrician.  After destroying some of our solar equipment, we sent him packing. Fortunately, his replacement was much better.

Next classroom
For the past 2 years, many donors have kindly supported the building of a new classroom via the Big Give Christmas Challenge. It will soon be nail biting time again. For a few minutes each day on December 4th – 6th, donations are doubled.  We currently have 7 classrooms and we hope this year’s Challenge will allow us to build the 8th.

The latest new classrooms are on the left; the new clinic on the right.
The latest new classrooms are on the left; the new clinic on the right.

Finally, many thanks to our numerous donors and supporters as without your help, these projects would not be possible. Don’t forget to ‘like’ our facebook page for up to the minute news.

Helen & Roger November 2014

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10 thoughts on “Newsletter November 2014”

  1. What lovely pictures! It is so amazing to sponsor a child and see the good that it does. Helen and Roger you do the most fantastic job – well done to you both x

    1. Many thanks for sending the news letter.
      It is amazing what the both of you achieve each year
      I will put the photos in the Bournemouth North Rotary News letter
      It is great to see the finished buildings and good look with the new clinic.
      Kind Regards
      Rotarian John Horswill

  2. allways a pleasure to read. Hopefully they will return to West Sussex where we can see them all again.

  3. Such a moving Newsletter. You are doing great work and let’s hope you continue to be supported well. The children look so healthy and happy which is amazing considering the harsh weather conditions that exist at present. Pray for rains.

  4. Ah, rehearsals for the school concert will never be the same! Well done. I see that In one of the Masai groups that FGM has now been banned from this December (the cutting season). Let us hope that the opposition to this spreads throughout the tribe.

    1. Hi Penny. Actually, FGM has been banned in Kenya for many years; it is part of the constitution. We are told that it does not happen in the area that we work in and the elders are against it, but it may happen in the interior of Kenya. It is a pre-marriage ritual. Girls who go to school usually get married much older than girls without schooling. Older girls can resist FGM and FGM is discussed in classes at school, so the best answer to banish FGM in Kenya is to get the girls educated.

  5. i enjoy reading the newsletters . many prayers will be answered. i have setup onlink page to get some help with your water pumps it may take time .

  6. Thank you for the newsletter – so good to see the children having health and hygeine care, and dancing so exuberantly!
    Let us all pray for rain on their lands.

  7. What a wonderful job you both are doing, it fills me with pride to read about all the work you do. The children look so happy and healthy and so cared for. I love sponsoring a child and love reading about the progress you have made with the school. Well done Roger and Helen ! Please bring them back to Hampshire next year and hopefully to Hayling Island were they will get a big welcome.

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