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Visit to Kenya – October 2019

Report Oct ’19

Just when you think the roads can’t get any worse, they do, and not just fractionally! The main road is
one huge pothole for the last 15 miles to our turnoff which we can’t now take as the middle section is
completely impassable. We went a different route which has been graded as far as the new technical
college but then deteriorates sharply. Ayugi has written to the local MP to no avail. The powers that be
should be ashamed of the way the ordinary people are disregarded – a high school, 2 clinics, 11 primary
schools and several churches virtually unreachable, teachers taking 3 hours to walk home. (Thanks for prayers about our journey
home – it didn’t rain Monday so the roads on Tuesday were navigable.) Electricity was installed two years ago to our school but
hasn’t worked for the past 22 months – Steve thinks he dreamt it. Rant over – for now.
In Kisumu we were offered an excellent rate of exchange at Barclays which started off our visit well. We purchased £480 of
chemistry equipment in time for the practical exams next week, a pressure cooker for Edwin to sterilise instruments at the clinic
and footballs and netballs – easier than carrying them with us. We arrived home just as the afternoon rains were starting. They
are torrential. Some nights it poured continuously but by mid-morning the flooding had subsided just leaving squelch behind. The
ground becomes treacherously slippery and you just get soaked. Last visit it was drought and famine and this time it’s flooding
and the maize is infested with army worm.
Kolweny Kingsway High School’s Form 4 exams were about to begin with the largest contingent yet
– 72. They thoroughly enjoyed their trip to Nakuru which we funded. There is still urgent need for
us to complete an upper storey to the library which will provide a large classroom and an IT room –
the government has sent a dozen desktops but there’s no room and no electricity. Would you
believe they also send huge boxes of books which are not required; last
year’s syllabus, subjects not taught or surplus to requirement?
We spent just a short time time discussing the irrigation project mentioned in our last report as we
think we may have cracked the design challenge. We were hoping to have it started but materials
need to be ordered so watch this space.
The science lab will be refurbished before anything else as it is in a parlous state. It’s always someone else’s responsibility to
maintain buildings so I’m afraid there was some rustication this time and promises have been made to put individual teachers in
charge of different buildings. The library is immaculate thanks to our ex-student librarian, Boniface, and teacher, Diana, so no
reason why other rooms should be left to deteriorate. Welcome to Africa! We’ve decided to tile the floor like the library as it’s
We stocked up the First Aid kits with plasters, bandages, germolene and paracetamol. We handed over knickers & bras and
handed out 400 pens and 200 pencils, football, netball and a variety of other things.
We took 60 + photos of our sponsored students and videos of individuals for The Kingsway School Cheadle. We met with Form 4
to wish them well in their finals, fixed signage to our new buildings and watched our football team in a
friendly against Oriang.
We held a retirement celebration for our principal, Chris Ogutu, who has been with us since the school
started. Primary and High School staff attended and it was followed by lunch. It was quite moving to hear
how appreciated Chris is. We just hope the replacement will be as good or better – there’s no choice in the
appointment. The opportunity was taken to thank Projects for all that has been accomplished at the school.
Love and appreciation was passed to all reading this report for support of whatever kind. It was restated that
what had once been known as a ‘place of darkness’ has become a ‘place of light’. What was particularly
pleasing was to hear someone say that a community has been transformed- that was our original purpose in setting up the
charity and has been our strapline.
The Primary School had donations of 40 school dresses and we’re
sending money for uniforms for any new students in January who
can’t afford one. We handed over knickers, pants, pencils, pens,
football, netball. 1st aid kit etc.. We used the canvas bags to carry all
our goodies and then gave the rest to Everline Banda to sell to make
money for materials for the new sewing room which is going great guns. We’re buying them a
second machine. They are learning how to mend uniforms and girls are sewing reusable sanitary pads. By next term all the
classrooms will have been refurbished after which we expect the school to keep them looking good. There will be a trophy and
prizes for best class all-round each time we visit. Due to Headteacher Judith’s efforts the compound is looking very smart and the
trees we planted are growing well.
Class 8 will be having dinners during exams in the next fortnight and we’re considering providing lunch for all the pupils during
the famine months of May-July. Exam results last year were the best ever so the school is well over capacity with 50+ in most
Our main road
Water & Health
Joseph continues to make filters, some for sale and some we buy for needy widows. He’s going to Nairobi soon to install filters
It really was the best news to have Edwin back at the dispensary, employed by the government. This quarter the
dispensary was graded second best facility in the whole of the district of 250 square miles and that includes a
small hospital. He is delivering babies and attracting patients with his skills. We dropped off supplies of
medicines, dressings and gloves and gave him new dental equipment and a pressure
cooker for sterilising, BP monitors and blood glucose testing kits. We also gave him
baby clothes which he uses as an incentive to encourage new mothers to bring
babies back for vaccinations. The roads being as they are, it’s easier if Edwin can stay
over at the dispensary during the week so we have built him a small house.
The only time we could visit Kennedy the Dentist was en route home as the roads had been fairly unnavigable
during our stay. Unfortunately he was out at a meeting but we checked out his building and he needs to have more pressure
from the water source for the descaler to function. He can have a tank high in the roof section – let’s hope that works. We took
him medical goodies including a pack of dental needles which had been one of four in Edwin’s dental kit– Edwin had a tooth
removed there the previous week and reported that he was using very large needles – shivers at the thought!
Steve preached at church as usual after some lengthy singing from the youth choir plus a solo,
a duet and the adult choir. I spoke to all the women after church, around 65, to ‘sensitise’
them to the work we are doing to keep their girls in school and to advertise our sanitary
packs. They seemed quite enthusiastic but time will tell. It became increasingly difficult to be
heard as the rains started on the tin roof. We had taken so many paracetamol with us, each
woman was able to receive 4 packs and that’s after replenishing 1st aid kits, giving to
individuals and two dispensaries. Something we all take for granted and costs us so little but
so welcome here – thankyou for all those packs.
The bats hadn’t returned to our loft. In fact nights were quiet if you discount the occasional over-zealous guard dogs and dawn
crowing competition, oh and the roaring river half a mile away (sounds as though it’s pouring down) and I hoped the scrabbling in
the loft was ghekkos.
Steve turned his hand to plumbing to replace the head on the shower which had mysteriously ended up in the window ledge. The
rain was so torrential our roof leaked in several places but thank goodness for the tiles – you can’t hear yourself think under the
tin roofs.
We visited several friends including baby Joy Dorothy and her
parents, Charles & Celestine, Judith & Charles and ‘Wheelchair’
Kennedy, his wife and three children. Our friend, Dorothy, who
came with us last time took this family to her heart and has raised
enough money in the interim to pay for Kennedy to have an
industrial knitting machine (He is trained and for a while taught in
college before the government closed the department.) and also to construct a workshop to
house it and a table and cupboard. He demonstrated his skills whilst we stood in amazement at his dexterity. This source of
income will radically improve this family’s life, freeing it from near destitution and hopelessness.
We had very few visitors due to the rains, just Dorcas. We met with Mary (seamstress) in church after the service. She has a long
way to walk home in the opposite direction.
We walked to the river (mad dogs and Englishmen – very hot) to see Ayugi’s four fishponds, a
retirement project. They have been stocked with 3,000 tilapia fingerlings. Fish will be sold at
the local market or to fishmongers. The nearest place to buy fish is 15 km away and transport
costs more than the fish.
We have invited Ayugi and Everline to come over to England next Easter. 2000 was our first
visit to them so 20 years working together. They will hopefully be able to go into The Kingsway
School at some point and we will be having a get-together for all supporters so we’ll contact
you with the date.
I’m now going to compose letters to the electricity company about the failure to provide mains electricity after installing the
wires etc. two years ago and to the local MP about the fact that all our excellent facilities are virtually inaccessible due to the
state of the roads – copies to President Kenyatta and our Ambassador. A lot of good it will do but I’ll feel better!
Thankyou again for making this work possible by your donations thoughts and prayers.
If you are receiving this by post and now have an email address, just send me a message to let me know the address and we can save on postage.
If you no longer want to receive the report please let me
know that too. 0161 440 9091/ 07963 255682
Collecting for next visit in late spring 2020:
New Knickers Boys’ pants Bras (34-36 A or B)
Canvas bags Toothbrushes
Paracetamol/plasters/germolene Spectacles
Click top pens (Tops get lost!) Pencils with erasers

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