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October ’09

We have just returned from our October trip rather more weary than usual as flights from Nairobi were cancelled and connections in Paris missed. We spent 10 days in Kenya, all of them full to the brim. The main emphasis of our trip was establishing communication between our high school there and The Kingsway School in Cheadle. To that end we took two teachers , Anthony DiPaola and Karen Clarke from The Kingsway with us to do some teacher training, introduce ITC on the two laptops and create curricular exchange possibilities. They worked so hard and forged excellent relationships with staff and students alike. It is hoped that a more pupil-centred learning approach will help those students who are not of the highest ability to gain better results as well as maintaining the excellent standards already at the school.

We met up with a lady in Nairobi who had shown interest in a water filter workshop at her home in Kitale, some 100 miles north of Kisumu. This was very successful and it’s hoped to visit the site during our next visit. We spent a bone-shaking day driving to Kilgoris (Our contact there, Fredrick, already has a workshop in the Transmara among the Masai .) to discuss the possibilities of a workshop in the town. This will begin in the next few weeks when Joseph will go and start the training. From there we rattled our way another several hours to a dry, forbidding place on Lake Victoria, Bala, where there is an orphanage with 800 children! We had already arranged for four filters to be installed by our workshop in Simbi but the orphanage is going to start its own workshop to serve the surrounding area as well. The roads were some of the worst we’d been on.

We have a list of another 6 widows in Nyandiwa to whom water filters will be donated.
Steve could no longer walk past the well at school without sourcing and screwing on three missing nuts! This activity drew quite a crowd and even some assistance!

We met with the Rotary President in Kisumu who at last signed the papers to enable funding from Rotary District grants here to be released to fund gutters and tanks on all our local primary schools to enable water harvesting, rain water being clean enough to drink.

Steve met with the agriculture committee to introduce some ideas for irrigation. Some years ago our friend Margaret Bancewicz told us of a hydraulic ram pump used on Raasay . It uses only the force of the water to pump miles and to quite a height. Steve has built one! and the big boys at church spent a happy morning with their new toy testing it out in a local stream. It works! Steve spent time with Ayugi looking for a suitable site by the river for the pump to be installed. It’s problematical but he’s sure it can be overcome – it just needs the ‘pump committee’ to come up with a good idea! They’ll be working on it – I know this because at least two of them are planning on a trip to Kenya to install it!
The Primary School buildings are not yet completed but we are sending funds to do this before our next visit in February 2010. We are also purchasing teachers’ desks and lockers, text book cupboards and 70 new double desks so that pupils can sit two to a desk rather than the three at present.

We bought another £400 of text books for the library from Kisumu – a shop which offers us 25% discount!- and took with us some lovely reference books donated here.
Angela took individual photographs of all our 72 sponsored students. We can report that they are all doing very well both physically and academically, some being in the top 3 in their classes and some being prefects.

We are funding another 8 students at University or Teacher Training College through the Hope Beyond Form 4 Scholarship Scheme. This is one of our main expenditures but we feel it is worthwhile both now and in the long-run.
We took with us lab coats and science equipment donated by Loreto, Moss Side, pens and pencils donated by Barclays and yet more school bags donated by The Seashell Trust. We also gave each Form 2 student a pencil case made by Year 7 students at the Kingsway school, each with name and pencils etc.. The teachers asked for clocks so we bought one for each classroom. They were greeted by much cheering and clapping by the students who found it hard to believe!

I have already mentioned the sterling work carried out by Anthony and Karen. We bought the school a printer so that documents such as registers and exam results will no longer have to be laboriously written out every time they’re needed.
We visited Lwanda Lutheran Secondary School to ascertain whether a partnership with Moorside High Scool in Swinton might be feasible. The Headteacher at Moorside is an ex-colleague of Angela’s. The school is in its fourth year, has just four classrooms, one cupboard of books and two latrine blocks. We are hoping to establish a link soon so that Moorside can fund more buildings and equipment and begin a curricular exchange similar to the one between the two Kingsway schools.

The touch rugby teams are still competing and enjoying it. A friend of Sam’s donated lots of pairs of trainers which were very well received. We watched a football match between our school and Wang’apala, the local boys’ boarding school. The latter team was kitted out with matching strip and boots whilst our team had some in a striped top, others in plain blue and several with bare feet. Does anyone out there know or have a business which could sponsor a strip and boots? We can’t guarantee the advertising will do much good in Kenya but it would give the team a boost. We lost 3.1 by the way.

The girls’ hostel will be complete in time for next term’s Form 4 girls to start using it. We signed the rental agreement with Mary on whose land it’s built and who will act as matron with a bed across the door! The Form 4 boys are camping out in the old house we built for a member of staff some years ago. This is how keen they are to study in school using the solar lighting in the library.

The Mooncups have been such a success with the Form 3 & 4 girls to whom they were given last May that we are informed not a single day of schooling has been lost by the girls since then!! They were distributed to all Form 1 & 2 girls this time and will continue each year with new Form ones. Staff and students alike are thrilled. The Jephcott Trust funded 100 and we have funding for another 60. They make excellent Christmas presents for girls and women if you’re stuck for an idea!! (Gift list on our website.)

The dispensary continues to function well under Edwin’s management. It has just been inspected by the government during a vaccination campaign and was given a Grade 1 which means the government will make available free vaccines for children. Brilliant! Edwin has extracted some 30+ teeth since May and keeps excellent records. We took out with us the usual thousands of paracetamol capsules, bandages, plasters, needles, gloves, small instruments, spectacles. Doctors and nurses reading this, more of the same please!

We visited all the dental students trained by Jon Robinson on our last visit in May. They are doing such a good job under very difficult conditions and in such shabby premises. They have safely and ‘painlessly’ extracted hundreds of teeth since their training. The smaller needles Jon used are more expensive and they’ve been using bigger ones but Angela suggested in no uncertain terms that the finer ones might be a better idea even if patients have to pay a few pence more! (She shudders even as she writes!) Ken has a small clinic in Misambi, our roadside market place; Paul and Philemon are itinerant but work mainly in Misambi whilst Doreen works in Sondu some 20 miles away in a grubby back street. Her surgery is as clean as possible and she has lots of patients on market days.
Those of you who have been interested in our sponsored student, Elijah, who suffered a severe breakdown during his first term at college will be pleased to know that he is now almost fully recovered and hoping to return to college. He has been advised to wait until next September rather than go in January. His place is open any time. Thankyou for your concern and prayers.

Small Businesses
These are plodding along up to now although we can report that the chickens began to lay whilst we were there (Not a result of our visit but nice!) and the cow – Angela! – is in calf. The vegetables have been unsuccessful so far because of drought conditions but mild rains have been helpful over the last five weeks. Unfortunately there are predictions of an El Nino in November which will wash away everything including homes if it does indeed occur. An item for prayer. The sewing business is doing very well making uniforms for two primary schools and clothing for the wider community. One lady is at present being trained at a local tailor’s to make shorts and trousers.

Karowley was used the week prior to our visit by a young teacher from the Kingsway School whose world tour took her to Kenya where she met up with her parents from Bramhall. All three helped in the school and Jim visited Maseno University to deliver a Chemistry lecture. He hopes to help out the University with funding from Manchester University. We warned them about the idiosyncratic plumbing and the bats in the roof but we didn’t know about the lovelorn weaver bird who woke them up every morning at 5.00 pecking at its reflection in the bathroom window! No earthquakes this time but a wakeful night listening to Debbie the cow mooing because she couldn’t locate her day-old calf.

Thankyou yet again for making this work possible by your donations, interest, prayer and insights. Thankyou from everyone in Nyandiwa and indeed many miles afield who share in the water projects and now school support. Please, if you are receiving this by post and have an email address, just send me a message to let know the address

Last year’s Christmas cards were a success so we’ve had more made this year. If you would like some, email and we’ll get them to you. (Photos of Nyandiwa with a couple of robins!) £3 for 8.

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