Sue and Richard update Easter Sunday
First of all, a very happy and blessed Easter to you all! Unfortunately it is unlikely that you will read this any time close to Easter as the internet here in rural Kenya is even slower and less reliable than it was when we were here in the autumn, so I’m writing on Word while I remember what we’ve done and will post it when we get back to Nairobi.
Sue has been here in the Kisumu region for nearly two weeks, and I joined her last Monday following a very hot drive from Nairobi, but one that was mercifully free of incidents. The daytime temperature here is around 32 – 35, and humid. We have decided to sleep in the little tin guest house on Millicent and Eric’s compound this time rather than driving back into the local town at night where we stayed previously, as it means we are more free to be with the children in the Care Centre in the evenings without risking our lives on the dreadful road here each night. The lack of insulation in the house means that it cools off when the sun goes down, which is a good thing. Regular visits from a large toad who likes to come in at night time are maybe not quite so good, but things like this, and the sheep and cows coming and going remind us that we are truly in ‘the rural’, as the locals call it!
We have spent most of our days either at the School or the Care Centre. It’s great to be back with the children again, and also to receive such a warm welcome from the adults here. We have been really encouraged by the improvements that the new Head Teacher has made in the school: everything is so much better organised than it was last year: he is clearly an experienced man who leads his team well and has the respect of the children. Everyone is making much more of an effort to keep the school tidy, too, despite the constant battle against dust and dirt, which is encouraging. He has been extremely welcoming to us. In school, we have organised to have all the blackboards repainted, one classroom completely redecorated and various work done to the outside of the school. The banner we brought from UK (see previous post) is ready to be put up, with locally made poles. Tomorrow, we have planned to redecorate another two rooms and organise pin boards for all the rooms. We have also been in the classroom, doing some teaching and singing with the children. They learn songs very quickly!
At the Care Centre, we have had a lot of fun with the children, again singing and playing games. They loved Twister, and generated wonderful chaos with a game of Pile-up; lots of children sitting on each other’s laps! They loved the various simple toys we brought, and it’s good to see the musical instruments we bought them last time being put to good use. The round thatched rest house that was in need of repair when we were here in the autumn is in the process of being renovated; new grass on the roof first, then the mud walls will be repaired. We are also in the process of redecorating the dining room at the Centre. We have only been able to do so much in the way of practical tasks because we have had a lot of local help.
In the next week, we anticipate doing more of the same, as well as working on various necessary aspects of paperwork. Doing anything that involves the internet here is so time consuming and soul destroying that we want to collect as much information on paper as we can to bring back to the UK, particularly about some of the older children who are on the Education scheme. It has been good to spend time talking to some of these young people this week: just like young people the world over, some are doing really well, but others are struggling. We hope we have been able to encourage some, and indeed it was good this morning to see three of them who have not been attending Church regularly turn up this morning.
Once again on this visit we have been impressed by the selfless way Millicent and Eric serve the people of this area. They are loved and respected by the locals, who recognise how much they try to do for them. They have identified one situation in particular. Sadly, a few years ago, the man who sold Pamoja land to enable them to build the Care Centre here was murdered. The house his widow lives in, along with her two children (one of whom is sponsored by Pamoja to go to our school) is in a terrible state. Looking at it from the outside, in UK we would think it was a derelict cattle shed. We hope to use various money that we were given for this trip towards rebuilding the house (Millicent asked us if Wednesday would be a convenient day to build it!)
Thank you for reading this far. Apologies for lack of pictures – I hope to rectify that when we have an internet connection that does not resemble a thread of broken string!
Thank you for your interest, your prayers and all your support.