With four of our supporters we had a very busy and fruitful visit to St Peter’s in May.
Jan and Jenny, who have been twice before, sourced and presented many relevant books for all ages, and a handsome set of shelves made by our Polytech boys, to St Peter’s school, as the nucleus of the school library, which they will maintain and ‘grow’. Jules, accompanied by Jon, is one of our very ardent supporters, with a particular interest for the disabled, and raises funds for us through Pocket Money Fights Poverty and her Warfield
church, (appropriately!) St Peter’s.
What I was looking forward to with eager anticipation was seeing in action for the first time our newly founded Clinic in full swing. I was not disappointed! Initially, there was a gathering of about 63 disabled children under 15, with their carers, of which I was glad to see some ‘new faces’ – the word is still getting around!
I was very impressed by the way Pamela, our full-time Occupational Therapist, and her helper Christine, were running the Clinic, giving lengthy, caring and very professional treatment to the kids. Every time I visited, the Clinic was invariably full, with people waiting patiently. The biggest joy was seeing visible improvement to some of these kids – particularly the cerebral palsy cases, and babies catching up their milestones.
However, this joy was tinged with sadness, too – some children here are very poorly indeed. We will endeavour to refer cases to specialists for assessment, and if affordable, procure relevant treatment/operations. Some of these children are also very seriously malnourished, and this is something we are addressing urgently, with specialist advice and treatment.
We all attended a Centre gathering of micro finance ladies, learning about their businesses, as well as attending a Management Board meeting. The success of this scheme is reflected in the amount taken in from repaid loans and savings from a routine gathering of all five Centres – some £14,000. Lifting families out of poverty.
I attended and spoke at two of our regular community forums on FGM – where arguments and counter arguments are made passionately and without let! There are still some hotspots of resistance, but we do know that through our persistent and well structured programme throughout the year, that we are winning!
Men do attend this event – adding to the ferocity of debate – and many men spoke up against FGM.
I was very impressed by the work done by the water engineers and their workforce in building the 3km underground pipeline, and associated infrastructure, for our 24/7/365 water supply and irrigation project to St Peter’s and next-door secondary school. They faced formidable boulders en route, and still have just one more rock formation to blast, before completion, in a few short weeks.
Still no visible progress in our attempts to reduce proposed import and VAT taxations on our sanitary pad micro- factory, still awaiting shipment from Southampton. Efforts continue, but ‘pole pole’!
I visited our primary schools’ lunchtime feeding programme – where we are providing – despite a huge hike in food prices – a daily lunch to over 1,500 kids in seven local primary schools. Even more needed, and effective in this period of food shortages.
I delivered posters, poems, drawings and stories from our two Somerset school – Butleigh and Puriton to their respective twinned schools, St Peter’s and Our Lady of Consolation, now being displayed and studied with interest
– and have brought back their return offerings. Children learning from children.
I visited and spoke to our sponsored secondary school students in their various schools – about whom sponsors will hear in due course.
The prospect of a harvest is minimal – it did not rain at all during our visit in May, and, in Fr Frankline’s words “Since you left nothing, except for the last two days, we had some showers down here, but many farms have
already surrendered. Our situation on food and other sustenance is more threatening than any other time before.
I foresee closure of St. Peter’s institution prematurely due to financial constraint and especially food. Thank God we are expecting around 25 to 30 bags of maize from our farm at Ntumbara [the drip feed and irrigation scheme that we funded] which is not yet ready – it needs around 3 weeks – we thank God for this”.
These people face a long period of hardship until they can start planting again in anticipation of the rains in October/November.
As part of a new initiative – ‘Horizons’ – I took seven students (some of whom we sponsor) from various local schools, with a member of staff, on a three day trip to Nairobi – to widen these guys’ horizons – some of whom have never been out of their tribal area.
In a varied programme: Marcella, our university sponsored student, gave a conducted tour, giving a personal and inspiring insight into uni life; we had a tour of the Kibera slums, and saw the work of the amazing Jane Anyango who mentors young women at risk; were given a tour of the National Museum by a friend of mine, who gave marvellous, relevant contexts; a guided tour of Parliament; and visited an Animal Orphanage.
Eyes, horizons and ambitions opened wide!
For more information about St Peter’s Life-Line, please visit the charity’s website.