Sue & Richard update Sunday 1st November
Sue & Richard update – Sunday 1st November
Life in Kenya is unpredictable! We had made plans for each day in the past week, and I don’t think anything happened when we thought it would! Nonetheless, we have settled into our little two-room abode quite comfortably and are learning just to shrug our shoulders like the locals do when the power goes off, or there is no water in the taps! So what actually happened this week?
Tuesday is Millicent’s shopping day, so Sue went with her to the local market and followed her around as she negotiated to get the best prices for food for the School and the Care Centre. It was quite an experience! Richard stayed at ‘home’, waiting for the plumber to come and sort out the airlock in the system. He arrived eventually – lovely chap – and he sorted it! (For the time being anyway…) Later in the day we went into school to take photos of all the sponsored children. They duly lined up for their snaps – one with a name-board (so we remember who they are) and the next one without (so they don’t look like convicts!) This should mean that all those who sponsor a child in this area will soon be able to have an up-to-date photo of their child. Another job ticked off our list!
On Wednesday, we were due to meet up with Millicent at the Care Centre for a demonstration of the cooking stoves we had seen in Nairobi. Unfortunately, we had a call to say that Millicent was unwell and was lying down sleeping, having walked to the Centre from home. We went along, and she was obviously very unwell. The men arrived to demonstrate the stove – the cooks were impressed, but poor Millicent was too ill to get up and see anything. We took her home to rest.
Thursday found Millicent still unwell, so the plans for the day were once again changed to enable us to drive her into Kisumu for tests. This involved one stop at a clinic to get a blood test (30 minute wait), another trip to Millicent’s doctor, who is a lovely Indian Christian lady who also treats the children at the Centre when they are ill), then another drive to find a pharmacy that could supply the drugs Millicent needed (by now Typhoid was confirmed and Malaria also suspected). This took a long time, but eventually was successful, and we took Millicent home. Every stage of the process also has to be paid for – maybe the NHS is not too bad after all! As we were about to leave Millicent’s home, a thunderstorm of epic proportions broke. The land around flooded in 10 minutes. Once it subsided a little we got in the car, prayed, switched the 4-wheel drive on and drove ‘home’ before darkness made the journey even more hazardous.
On Friday morning, we went into school early. They have a session at that time where the school is divided into two groups – one younger, one older – for singing Christian songs and some Bible teaching. The singing in both groups was hugely enthusiastic – most enjoyable. One of the teachers then gave the children a very clear and helpful message, communicating with them very well indeed. One of the things we are trying to do while we are here is to help the sponsored children to write letters to their sponsors, so, with the Head’s help, we had groups of six at a time sitting outside under a tree, writing their letters…until the school ran out of the Pamoja forms and couldn’t print any more because they didn’t have any electricity, or ink for the printer in any case! They have promised that the ink will be organised for Monday and hopefully electricity will be back too! Millicent was feeling much better, following the treatment and prayers, but sensibly, for once, had a quiet day at home. We have promised to take her and Eric for vaccinations next week.
By Saturday, Millicent was feeling well enough to go away to the Ladies’ Conference that she was due to attend, so we spent the day with Eric, visiting some of the widows that his group of churches supports and taking them some food. The poverty in this beautiful rural area (about 5 kilometres from the town where we are staying) is extreme, and it is both heart-breaking and frustrating to see people suffering with conditions that could so easily be treated if facilities were better. We then went on to visit two of the older children on the Pamoja education scheme who are at local ‘form schools’ (for pupils aged 14-18). It was great to meet these two lovely young men who have clearly benefited over the years from sponsorship. They both have ambitions to work in agriculture in the future, and were pleased to write letters to their sponsors.
Today, Sunday, has been a good day of rest. Eric came with us to Calvary Chapel in Kisumu, which has a good mix of ex-patriots and Kenyans. Graham Jones, originally from UK but now living in Kisumu, working with Kenyan pastors to train them in Bible teaching, gave us excellent teaching on ‘God is good, all the time – for that is His nature’. We also met Bev and Charlie, a lovely couple from the Southampton area who have been working in Kisumu for over five years with the New Life Centre Children’s Home. Thanks for the contact, Nick! They are returning to UK permanently on Saturday, so we were glad to meet them to learn something of their experience of living here. They kindly invited us to join them and other friends for lunch, so we spent a leisurely few hours chatting in a lovely location overlooking Lake Victoria, with a gentle breeze blowing in off the lake. Probably not much hotter than UK, looking at the record-breaking temperatures you have had today!
Next week is the last week of school before their long holiday, so we are hoping to spend more time there. Plans involve completing the letters, doing more music with them and hopefully organising some kind of end of term sports day. This also needs to be admin week, where we work with Millicent to help her organise some of the things that she doesn’t normally have time to do! And at some point, we’ll need another trip to Kisumu for those promised vaccinations! Those are the plans… we’ll see what actually happens! God may have other ideas, and in any case, as I said at the start of this update, Kenya has a way of re-planning your schedule for you!
Thank you to those who have sent messages via e-mail or commented on Sue’s Facebook page. Lovely as the people are here, we miss our friends back home, and it’s good to hear from you!
Many thanks for all your support in prayer, and your interest.
Sue & Richard