Saturday, 25 June 2011

Children, children and more Children!

Thursday was spent at a Limuru Children’s Centre K branch which is a day school for pre-school children up to the age of 7. The school has regular students that come from difficult backgrounds living in poor circumstances so the school feeds the children 2 meals during their school day. It feeds at least over 100 other children that come to be feed with not being feed by their families, as well as offering extra schooling after school hours to children in need of help with their studies. The school is funded through African Encounter (the company i work for and supports this project) to help with the up keep and sustainability of this project.

In the morning we helped prepare all the food as well as sorting through thousands of never ending beans and maze to sort the bad from the good a job that takes endless hours! As well as cutting huge buckets full of cabbage! Soon watching lots of happy kids eating and full of energy to learn! Also had my first porridge which was pretty nice.

Play time was the most fun chasing the kids and spinning them around and playing funny games they just loved it see them laugh was so great! The kids were all fighting to hold my hand I ended up having over ten kids on each arm each holding a finger rather than my hand was hilarious. They were beautiful children that just wanted to be loved. The afternoon was teaching them maths and all the children were trying to pull me into their class, after being pulled every way possible finally went to the middle class teaching them to add up with so many kids pulling and shouting for your attention and help at once! Some really got the hang of it where as others are still behind and struggling but they did well, was a lovely day but was really hard to leave the children.


Friday morning we headed to Limuru Children’s centre which is a day school for pre-school children as well as home to orphans that go to different school. This school also provides meals for the same reason as K branch and feeds over 150 children including the children coming in off the street to be feed. The morning we spent helping in the kitchen. My job was sorting through the thousands of beans now being an expert at this job there was easily millions of them taking up the whole morning to get the job done. The women work really hard so was good to be able to give them a break and help out, as they have to do this tiring job most days. It was soon playtime with the kids who were such a joy playing hop scotch, spinning games on the swings was great fun.

We then headed to village market for the afternoon for some lunch and to the Masai market who were charging extortionate prices like ten times over what they should be priced! I was trying to buy a painting and he said the most ridiculous price so i laughed and was like no way! Started telling me that it was from the trees as to why it was so expensive, so i said what natural resources so you paid nothing, he replied, 'oh but its hard to get it with the police' i was like what so its illegal? 'oh no no.. So funny i soon walked away as he was just talking rubbish for so long! All for being a Mzungu! 

Jikaze I.D.P Resettlement Camp

In 2008 during the elections there was a number of bombings and attacks that took place amongst the different tribes which resulted in thousands of people being killed. People moved from their homeland. Most of their homes were burnt down or destroyed. As a result of this thousands of people are still displaced. A lot of children are now without parents or families, many people now have no surviving family members. Today we went to a camp where a number of the survivals are living known as Maai Mahiu.

It was about an hour’s drive to Jikaze and on the way we stopped off and see the most incredible view of the river valley although it was misty and cloudy it was still an incredible view, just beautiful.

When we arrived flocks of children just came to meet us, most of them with clothes falling off of them and poor health. There was this one little boy who has cut his head and was crying he was so sad. We spent the day with the children splitting them up into groups and the main thing we were teaching them today was about love and how we are to love our neighbour, and the meaning of what love is. I was with the older children in the age of 10-14 and after playing games. There was a small talk on love from Luke and then they were asked to draw of write what love is to them in photo frames they made. One of the girls I spent the day with wrote I love Charlotte, she was so lovely.

I spent the majority of the day of with two girls called Ruth and Mary, who were such lovely girls it was so heart-breaking to leave them with them telling me they will miss me and not wanting me to go. Mary lost both her parents in 2008 and looks after her younger brother. Ruth and Mary were best friends and to hear them say they love each other and look out for one and other and just seeing how they stick together through their experiences. Mary asked me if i had a bible as she would like one to read so I hope to return to buy her one. Just to think about what all these people went through in 2008 and for now how their life is many will never be able to return to their home lands but to remain where they are. People’s lives were turned upside down and will never be the same again, but through the help of other people they will be able to improve their situation. From all the people living there you could really feel a strong community bond and sense of connection together.


Wednesday began with a bible planning session for the Power Womans group in the afternoon. Each week we go in to the slums and meet with a group of ladies that carry HIV/AIDS, doing a bible study, teaching them business skills and ideas to make a living, as well as praying for them and generally being a support to them for them to talk about their circumstances they are facing, and to support them in any way possible. This week the bible study was on Matthew 9:27-37, Jesus heals the blind and mute and the workers are few. Preparing a summary and question time for the group.
Before going to the slums we had a refelction session of the week so far with the group I have been looking after for feedback and so on. We then headed for a local lunch in Limuru with this random guy foloowing us in and having lunch with us rather funny!
We was then began our hour journey to Kibera slums which are the biggest slums in the whole of Africa with the population of over 1 million people living there. Approaching the slums and being there was heartbreaking to see what people called a house, seeing the depths of real poverty. What amazed me was the joy people had which was just incredible.
The power womans group was a real inspiration and also learning so much from the ladies as well as teaching them. Their faith and love and joy they have for God is amazing, seeing how alive they are although they carry a life threatening disease, and leave in extreme conditions there spirits were so incredibly strong! They were amazing women! Seeing what they have accomplished to earn a living for themselves was also really great to see.
It didn't feel right to take any photos of the slums that day being peoples lives is not a such an appropiate photo opportunity. On the way back we stopped to see polo being played the first time I see horses here in Kenya!

The main thing I have been learning since being here is the real definition and extremes of what poverty really is. The poverty we identify with so much is what we see before our eyes and see people without many materialistic things and things we think people need. Yes important things like a home, running water and food is what people need but it goes beyond that, so many people come out and try to fix things and make things better by providing the materialistic things they dont currently have thinking this solves the problem but it really doesn't, its just a short term fix and can often cause more harm than good.
For example if you see a child hungry or begging and you give them money or food that will fix the issue then and there but next time they are hungry they will then go to depend on others or always have the view the mzungu will pay ot feed them which is not teaching them the right way or helping them in the long run as they will just become dependent on this. The same is if you were to buy them house appliances they needed it would be all well and good, but they are unlikely to be able to pay for the run and up keep of it in the long run. Sometimes things will look simple and basic and not what we are used to, but if they can manage on it and it does the job then this is no need to buy something more flash, but instead look to see what the real need is beyond our worldy materialistic western view. There are so many issues and mistakes made by people not being aware of the real issue and real extreme of poverty, they will often rush into treating the symptons before indentifying the problem or more often than not misdiagnoising the problem. 

The four types of poverty are poverty of being, community, spiritual intimacy and stewardship. Everyone experiences poverty in some form in their life wothout even realising it as when people think of the word poverty they think poor people but it goes beyond that. That is why you will often see poor people so much more spiritually happier than rich people that have everything! The power womans group were a prime example of this. The children here experience so much heartache and experiences we could not even begin to imagine yet they have so much life and hope it overwhelms me.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


Today was another early start! Began with a encouraging devotional of have no fear! An interesting fact, fear appears in the Bible 365 times!

Today was back in the similar area as yesterday, just a little further on so another long journey on Kenya's greatest roads! In this area it is very unusual and rare for a kenyan to have seen a 'mzungu' (white person) before! So was lots of stares and screaming children running towards me, was a little over whelming!

Today we were going into the local community and the local school to do dewarming and most importantly the removal of the jigger!
For those of you that don't know what a jigger is; it is an insect that feeds by burrows itself into the skin of a human often under finger and toe nails which can become infected. It is often found on the soles of your feet. The jigger will then begin to lay eggs inside of your skin and you will then become heavily infested. It can lead to loss of toe nails, gangre and other serious infections and sometimes even death. It is very common in povery driven areas.

First off we went to Kanjae school which was a little weird with it being so noisy after visiting the death school the day before you could certainly notice the difference! The children had never seen a mzungu before so they were hundreds of kids running towards me, clinging on to me, jumping on me touching my hair telling me they loved me was so over whelming but was so amazing to be there with them! Posing and screaming and jumping up and down and racing towards the camera for a photo was a funny experience! I then got them to sing for me which was pretty amazing! The school was extremly poor with very little resources at all.
One of the teachers begun talking to me demanding I give him money and that I am very rich and can take him to England which was a bit intense but made him happy with taking a photo of him and his class which was more achievable.

After dewarming at the school we then begun our community visits where we went to remove the jiggers!

The first visit was so heartbreaking it was four young children that had jiggers in their hands and feet and were leaving in exteme poverty. They were extremly frightened spoke no english and were in so much pain they were in tears. They live in something that just about gives them shelter they have nothing no food, clothes, shoes not even anything to slip on but paper. Most importantly they have no parents. There mother walked out on them after finding out their father was a bit of a womaniser and was an alcoholic that just spent all the money that they were able to raise or not even being around. He is never around and if he is he is drunk. The children are not allowed to go to school as they are so poor and dont have clothes or a uniform to wear and are not able to learn from no food, this was just one of the heart breaking stories of Africa, there is so many more like this. But when you find these children and then have to leave them its the hardest thing to ever walk away from, as all you want to do is give them a home and food and a life they deserve and love. 

The day certainly did not get any easier, another visit  we made me was to an old lady of nearly 90 who was living in just as poor conditions. She had jiggers along with several other infections to her feet along with suffering from many other medical problems. One of the team was a doctor was able to help treat her. Seeing the poor health she was at and the poor conditions she was living in just weasring rags and sleeping on infested rags. We had to burn a lot of these to help prevent further infection and disease through how she was living. Her daughter was also very sick and had HIV but was in denial and refused to accept that she had the disease so we were unable to help treat her.

These are just some of the cases that are so heart breaking to witness, but even harder to walk away from knowing people live this way and people can be so ignorant to such poverty in the world it is more than material poverty but spiritual poverty too. As much as we would love to buy them things and give them what they need its only a short term fix and doesn't help them in the long run. But to know we have helped them health wise can really benefit them.

Today was filmed by a T.V crew that will hopefully gain publicity, and to make other people in Kenya aware of the health issues they may have including jiggers. With it being filmed people will now know how to get help and to treat them which could help more people than we are aware, which would be an amazing result. 

To completly remove the jiggers the treatment has to be repeated every day for 30 minutes for the next 2 weeks we have provided them with the treatment to do this to cure this problem. We also fumigated there living areas and all their belongings to get rid of any mosquitos, maleria, jiggers and any infestations that could cause illness or further problems.

This was a hard day, it can feel so helpless but the most powerful thing that can be done for these people is pray and to have hope, as God loves these people.

Tomorrow I will be visiting the poorest slums in Africa where over 1 million people live.


The weekend was very quiet; just spending it at Brakenhurst (where I live) relaxing like a true Kenyan! With lots of time and not much to do proved to be quite difficult for me! It was a real in sight of how to survive with no technology for the weekend, and time seeming to remain still but it was preparing me for the busy and challenging week I have this week.....

On Sunday an induction was given to a new mission group that arrived from Australia that are part of the ACTS (christian volunteers) program. This week I am on project with them all week which includes a large scale of challenging things to commence. Stay tuned!

Kambui School for the Deaf

Monday morning soon came round and was a very early start,  we drove for an hour and a half down very holey, bumpy roads was a long and interesting journey! It was over come with great scenery; going further into the rural area seeing more of Kenya and the beautiful scenery that didn't know Kenya had. Stopping of to see endless fields along the way of coffee beans and tea leaves seeing how its grown was really interesting, more so for all those tea and coffee lovers, can't say I count myself as one of them! But was rather amazing!
We soon arrived at Ngewa Health Centre where we meet the local health workers that were coming with us to Kambui school.

We finally arrived at Kambui School where over 300 primary students board and 35 secondary students all of which are unable, and never been able to hear or speak. As we arrived all these little heads peered out of the classroom windows, the thing that struck me the most was the silence it was the quietest school I had ever seen, it was so surreal with hundreds of children and complete silence.
We had come to get rid of malaria, by getting rid and preventing further mosquito infestation to help these children from being affected by the disease any further, and to improve their living and learning environment.

We had a meeting with the head teacher and some of the staff who taught us some Kenyan sign language and told us a little about the school. Some of the things that I heard just broke me for these children. These children have been put in this school as they are unwanted as the parents are unable to relate to them with not being able to communicate with them, they are seen as casts off. The majority of the children have had attempted to commit suicide, just the day before the head teacher see a girl sititng by herself to go over and find rope around her neck and trying to strangle herself. The children have no self worth, they see that they have no reason to carry on, the children are disturbed by there home lives and generally depressed with no hope.

We then began to fumigate where the children lived where over 50+ children lived in one room in such poor conditions. With blue overalls, face masks and tanks on our backs we looked like we were ghost busters! This was then followed by the classrooms which were so different from England's!

We then meet with the children to give them a health talk which was translated by the head teacher into sign language followed by giving them tablets for dewarming.

We then had a lunch of rice and beans and some unknown contents!
In the afternoon we had p.e and games with the children it was the quietest play ground I have ever been in for that amount of children! This time with the children was really special but very hard with not being able to communicate and trying to sign best as you could for them to understand you, and with them signing to you and you not being able to understand was also frustrating for them.

There soon becoming lots of laughter and tapping me constantly for my attention to take pictures of them posing, they just loved their photos! There was one child especially who would not let go of me! Being able to spend time with the older ones and making them smile and taking an interest in them could just see such a difference, these children really needed this. Letting one of them use my camera sure made his day.

It really amazed me when the children began dancing for us with such rhythm and one of them drumming when they have never heard sound and was so amazing! Was not the case when we were asked and made to dance for them, we were only put to shame!

It was really hard to leave these children, they are such incredible children that are so gifted and incredibly special if only they knew that. It made me realise how we take listening and speaking for granted and what a privledge it is to be able to voice how we feel and what we think and to get by in life.

However the staff look after the children well and are finding ways to help them the best they can with counselling sessions to try and help them. A company has contributed money to hold sign language lessons for parents, local docotors etc to be able to communicate with the children this could make such a difference in realtionship with the children.

Also on a positive not the school is now safe and mosquito free from our work for 6-12 months.

All the photos will be added to my facebook page.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Karibu Kenya

So after a crazy few weeks amongst all the madness, and lots of emotional goodbyes it reached the time for me to leave England and begin my journey to Kenya!
The journey was a little interesting! It all began with my luggage nearly being lost at the airport, my name being announced to tell me they may have lost my luggage, thankfully they found it and I just had to go and ifentify it! Was sure a close one with nothing to live off for the next 6 months would have been very challenging! So I board my flight with being held up for an hour and a half to be told that there is a fault with the plane, luckily it was just a technical fault and was soon fixed and i was on my way. Goodbye England!
The flight was really long with lots of families and young children screaming all night, the flight was very Kenyan orinatated to get in the theme which was nice. After a long flight and arriving later than scheduled to Nairobi airport I was then meet and the journey to the resort began!What was meant to be a very short journey was a 2 hour journey due to the traffic and congestion at this time, the busyness and crazy driving made me feel like I never left! To my great fear there was a surprise in store with many BIG BIRDS!! The biggest birds I have ever seen there was lots of them everywhere flying so low, even though i was in a car i was still ducking for shelter! No chance of escaping birds after all!

I soon arrived and was shown around Brakenhurst where I am staying, and all the companies are ran from for whom I will be working for. I am staying in the volunteer house which is full of lots of different volunteers from all over the world for one of the programs I will be working with, who are doing a mixture of the programs available.
I was soon briefed with whats in store for me and what I shall be doing over the next few months and all that is to come which all seems very exciting! Although some crazy things I maybe required to do like drive here! eeek I don't know how prepared I am for this just yet!
I am going to be visiting a number of projects over the next week or so to see what work they do and how they operate etc.

Today I went to a program called Angels run through A.C.T.S (one of the companies, more mission and christian orientated) Angels is a program that looks after abandoned and mistreated young babies that are homed and brought up until they are adopted, the program is not a childerns home. Due to Kenyan laws baby of such an age are required to be brought up in a family upbringing so will be adopted as soon as there is interest in the child after following procedures. At the home at the moment there is  young children the oldest being 3 years and the rest under 1 years old. The stories of some of the babies are heart breaking including being abandoned in the street and left for dead or on people's door stops are just some of the cases they come across. 
One of the baby's callled Martin is a story of a miracle due to surviving an abortion, just incredible he is alive! Another one of the babies has HIV and is really poorly, was so sad trying to feed him and seeing how poorly he really was. It is usually not allowed for children carrying HIV to be allowed in a home with healthy children, they usually have to be sectioned to live with other children of the same condition which is not a necessity, children carrying HIV or any kind of diseases struggle to be adopted they are often unwanted.
The babies are really under developed and at a slow growth rate for their agr, Peter aged 3 is not able to talk, just one of the cases.
These babies really need love, adoption gives them a chance of a life they have not been able to have. They were brought into this world unwanted but there is hope that this can change, nethertheless its not an easy thinng to experience and see as you can see so much need and so many more changes that need to happen, but its a start.
Later today went to a market which was crazy full of kenyans trying to get you to buy, saying they know you, why wont you buy etc! Was an experience.