Tuesday, 17 November 2009
We launch a new Training Programme
This was my sixteenth visit to Kenya; I went to launch a Leadership Training Programme. During the next two years, every two months, for three days, we will train leaders in theology and practice. Many trainees will be local people who have received no training. We hope that this programme will have a profound effect on those who attend, giving them new perspective and ethos. Plus ease some of the problems that can ensue from having untrained leaders. Long term, this will benefit the church
and the wider Kenyan community.
Jackie’s Vital Input
I was accompanied by Jackie Oliver from Generation Church base in Ewell Surry and Executive Director of ‘Through the Roof’ a charity supplying wheel-chairs worldwide; one of the distribution centres is in Kenya. Together we delivered the first three days of the training programme. Jackie lectured over 40 students on the Theology of Disability Showing how God treated people with disabilities, such as Moses, from Scripture, using lectures, workshops, discussions and videos. The generator rebelled and refused to operate the projector, so the PowerPoint presentation was not used. I used a similar roll-out on the subject of
What have we done so far?
We have been working in Kenya for sixteen years alongside our partner Sammy Nawali. To date, along with the help of many others from the UK and the USA, we have been able to assist in funding the following:
• Orphanage - mainly boys, girls are placed in safe homes
• Garage - giving space for vocational training for street boys and orphans
• School - currently teaching 130 pupils and growing
• Church building - the congregation continues to grow
• Sure 24 - twice weekly feeding programme
We are still faced with many challenges; the ongoing school building work; implementation of a clean water programme, we hope to have a bore-hole installed in November 2009; food for the orphanage and the school, each child receives a midday meal, often this is the only meal they get. My passion is to set standards that others can follow, and that our investment will have a much broader impact.
The country continues to improve. Our route is along the road from Nairobi to Nakuru, it used to take 3–4 hours due to pot-holes. A Kenyan pot-hole is something to behold, some of them are like driving down one side of a mountain and up another. The road is now completely resurfaced and pot-hole free! It reduced the travel time by half and instead of concentrating on holes in the road we were able to take in the views of the fabulous rift valley.
There are still issues regarding IDPs, Internally Displaced People as they are euphemistically known. Many remain in camps, afraid to return to their original homes due to the violence they have experienced. I visited an orphanage in Molo, Western Kenya, the results of violence was obvious; destroyed homes, deserted streets, parched land and withered maze. Maze is the Kenyan staple diet and as we viewed the devastation Sammy said, “The rains have been reducing for the last five years, looking at the brown fields makes my stomach turn over, lean times lie ahead.”
In the orphanages we visited, we were saddened to find that the staff did not know where the children were from, all trace of their relatives were lost.
One Saturday Jackie’s hotel room was burgled, so we spent a morning at the Police Station, whilst Jackie completed the paperwork, I browsed the notices peppering the walls. Many were from the Red Cross aimed at IDPs who are desperately searching for their missing relatives.
Chickens and Goats
I continue to be encouraged by the progress of the various projects, especially the ‘Sure 24’ feeding programme. Friends in the USA have provided funding which has been used to purchase chickens, goats and even cows. I met five of the goats and one of the cows who has been christened ‘Reverend’! These animals are vital in providing milk for the children.
I saw a few chickens scratching at the bare earth, but Sammy informed me they were “…just visiting…” They need further funding in order to purchase some more hens, the first batch died of chicken flu.” I hasten to confirm that this should not be confused with bird flu. Sammy explained the demise of the chickens was bitter sweet; no possibility of eggs, but every time a hen died, it provided a hearty chicken supper for the children. The boys were always delighted when the head of a chicken began to droop, they knew it was flu and they knew that in the evening their tummies would be full.
Molo orphanage has three chickens; I was keen to know how many eggs they produced each day. After Sammy stopped laughing he said “They need food and water before they can do that, they can just about keep body and soul together on what they manage to scavenge.”
Water is vital to the survival of these projects; the bore hole must get installed as soon as possible.
I hope this update gives you a flavour of what we are doing in Kenya. If you would like to sponsor one of the children in the orphanage or school, come with us next year to visit Kenya, or buy and chicken or a goat, then please get in touch.