Category Archives: Kenya Trip Summer 2012

Bring a Book Distribution

Books donations at Royal Academy
Books donations at Royal Academy

One of the biggest achievements of the trip so far was the books distribution. Some of the books collected from each participating school in England were carried to Kenya and handed out to schools with very limited resources in Kenya. Each school received between 90 and 100 books, which were age appropriate for the children there.

super excited
super excited

The kids were so excited even to be holding the books for the photographs, and just kept staring at them! One of the teachers at a kindergarten school was telling me that since receiving the books they have begun a daily reading session and at the end of the hour they have to practically wrench the books out of the children’s hands. It is so lovely to see them using the books and enjoying them so much.

As time goes by I am hopeful that reading will become an important part of the school day for children at these schools, we will be doing lots of follow up work to keep you up to date with what is going on.

Enjoy the pictures!

Thanks for our books!
Thanks for our books!

New Sponsored Child – Saidi

The most recent new child to be sponsored is called Saidi. He is a three year old little boy who lives with his mum, 6 month old baby brother Simon and three elder sisters Aisha, Pili and Riziki in a mud hut in Mtomondoni.

Saidi’s case is by far the most extreme I have ever seen. I am not exaggerating when I say that just witnessing the hell this family were forced to live on a daily basis was incredibly difficult and emotional.

Saidi's mum with Saidi and his baby brother outside their house. The mat they are sitting on was used as a bed for mum and the five children.
Saidi’s mum with Saidi and his baby brother outside their house. The mat they are sitting on was used as a bed for mum and the five children.
Saidi's House
Saidi’s House

She currently lives in an extremely run down one room mud shack which is in serious disrepair, but she is currently not being charged any rent by the owner of the land (a distant relative of her step mother). The lady who runs the food programme for our children at school at lunchtime helps her and gives her leftover food when she can. Without her help I suspect the family would not have been able to survive this long. Regularly they do not eat and the first time I visited them I discovered they had not been able to eat a single thing for two and a half days. When they do eat they often can only afford sima or ugali (which is flour mixed with water) and they drink only salt water. The three older girls have been admitted for free to a local school run by an English sponsor, and receive free school lunches there during term time monday to friday, however food at home is a severe problem and Saidi is severely malnourished as a result. With the mother unable to eat on a regular basis her breast milk was drying up, leaving her unable to feed her six-month old baby.

Saidi's whole family inside his house
Saidi’s whole family inside his house

The first priority when I met this family was to get them an emergency food parcel within hours. I soon realised how desperate this family really was when I discovered that although they now had food, they had no plates to eat it off. It was like starting from scratch completely; they had absolutely nothing. Nowhere to store water, nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat from or to prepare food in, no clothes – nothing.

Saidi
Saidi

I was also seriously concerned about Saidi’s health. Although he was almost 3 and a half years old, we fitted him for some new clothes and he needed age 12-18 months. He weighed next to nothing and had no energy at all, falling asleep every couple of hours and unable to support his own head or to sit up because of a lack of energy. I carried him everywhere because he just simply did not have the energy to walk, and his muscles were all floppy and weak. I was extremely scared, knowing that death from malnutrition is common in this area of Kenya. Before we met her, one of our sponsored children lost a sister at a similar age to Saidi due to lack of appropriate food.

We were lucky to have an expert on hand since one of the staff members on a school exchange trip taking place at the same time as our trip had been a midwife for more than 20 years. She shared my concern and was kind enough to accompany me to the supermarket to help me find the best possible way of getting as many nutrients and vitamins into Saidi as quickly as possible. She  and one of the other staff members were also kind enough to pay for the powdered toddler follow on milk we bought. This milk is designed for children from 1 year old and is rich in iron, vitamins and minerals to increase his weight and strength. That alongside an enriched diet im sure will have him running around fit and healthy in no time.

From there it was a simple matter of getting him into school. The transformation in such a short period of time was quite incredible. Within days the formula milk was beginning to show some effects and seeing him all smart in his uniform was very emotional. Even though I have only known Saidi for a couple of weeks, I already feel extemely protective towards him and can’t wait to see him grow and go from strength to strength. His class teacher at school is a close friend of mine, and with her supervision and lots of love and care from our sponsorship co-ordinator Rieder, i’m certain he will come on in leaps and bounds!

We are looking for sponsors for all three of our new sponsored children, Linet, Peris and Saidi. Sponsorship costs just £75 per year and you can become a sponsor at any time. Get in touch now to start helping them along on their exciting new journey.

Thank-you

New Sponsored children – Linet and Peris

Hello everyone!

Thank-you for your patience waiting for all the photos and news from the trip to Kenya! The internet was pretty sluggish so we struggled to make updates as regularly as we wanted to!

First and foremost let me tell you about one of the most important things we did on the trip – sponsoring three new children.

The first two are 8 year old girls Linet and Peris.

Peris (Left) and Linet (right) in their home
Peris (Left) and Linet (right) in their home

They live together with their two younger sisters Janet and Naomi, elder brother and the girls’ guardian who is Linet’s mother and Peris’s grandmother in a mud built house in Mtomondoni.

(Left to right) Linet, Ferndinand (their older brother), Janet, Peris, Naomi and their mum (back) in their house
(Left to right) Linet, Ferndinand (their older brother), Janet, Peris, Naomi and their mum (back) in their house

She works in a local Shamba (farm) as a farm worker to try to raise money to feed her family; but unfortunately she has never had the money to send the girls to school at all. By 8 years old, it is crucial that they begin as soon as possible so that they do not feel too out of place in the lower kindergarten classes. Whilst starting school late is common in this area, at their age we wanted to be careful not to make the girls feel too conspicuous whilst still ensuring they begin in the appropriate class for them academically. Both girls have begun in Kindergarten 3 with a view to moving them up into Standard one as soon as possible. Whilst we were not able to sponsor all four children, the director of the school we send the sponsored children to has agreed to take on the two younger girls as ‘complementary’ students, allowing them to study there for free without paying fees.

They are both such lively and happy girls, despite having a very difficult home life. Their positive attitude and energy is quite incredible. Linet is clearly the ‘big sister’ of the other three girls, always making sure she is looking after them and that they are ok. Peris is the quietest of the four, but is super excited about being able to go to school, full of smiles and happiness. All four girls were understandably nervous on their first day – Just the experience of being in a concrete building is enough of a shock for them, and I found them following me around like little lost sheep! Everywhere we turned there they were, grinning at us! But very quickly they have adapted and begun to make friends and feel more comfortable in their classes.

When we collected them for their first day at school they were clearly wearing their sunday best clothes, but despite this none of them even had any underwear. Kindly, the JCC school group who were also in Kenya at the same time as us donated some clothes to them, and their faces absolutely lit up. They were twirling around feeling like a million dollars. Seeing Peris’s reaction when I pulled even the most bare essentials out of the bag of donations was one of the most wonderful moments of the trip for me. She immediately jumped up and down with excitement pointing and shouting ‘For me! For me!’

The girls taking breakfast before their first day at school
The girls taking breakfast before their first day at school(Left to right - Linet, Naomi, Janet and Peris)

To see them all so smart in their new uniform for the first time on the last day was extremely emotional, and they were so so happy and pleased, they couldnt stop saying thank-you and kept asking us to take photos so they could see themselves in their posh clothes.

Linet in her smart new uniform with her hygiene kit
Linet in her smart new uniform with her hygiene kit
Peris in her new uniform with her hygiene kit
Peris in her new uniform with her hygiene kit

They are all incredibly excited and cant seem to stop smiling. I can’t wait to watch them grow and progress in school, to begin to feel like they belong there and to do well. This opportunity truely has changed their lives, I cannot thank all our donors on their behalf enough for what they have done for them.

Enjoy the photos – as always they say far more than I ever could!

Mosquito nets from Old Mill and christmas packages

6month old twins snoozing under your net
6month old twins snoozing under your net

We were lucky to be able to visit most of the families who received mosquito net donations thanks to the christmas packages and the donation from Old Mill PTA.

Many of the families we visited were in truely desperate situations. Tiny houses with just one room and very many children and adults staying together. No electricity or running water made daily life difficult for the vast majority.

Mosquito net in use with a 3month old baby
Mosquito net in use with a 3month old baby

All the mosquito nets were clearly being used, although many people did not have a bed to hang them over! Instead babies and children were sleeping on the floor under the nets. All the mothers were extremely grateful for the nets to protect their little ones, one mum told us she had been really worried due to the heavy rain Mombasa has had this year resulting in lots and lots of mosquitos. Malaria is rife in these kinds of conditions with stagnant water everywhere. However thanks to your mosquito nets not one of her children has suffered from Malaria so far this year. An incredible achievement – well done everyone!

Enjoy the pictures, they say more than I ever could!

Libby’s first week in Kenya

Hello I’m Libby I am a volunteer on the Milele Kenya trip.  To start off my trip we travelled here by aeroplane, this wasn’t the most simplest of trips I’ve made. We had to stop off at Cairo for a man who took ill, this delayed us by 3 hours unfortunately, we then missed our connecting flight but on the bright side the man got to hospital all ok. When we arrived at the airport we were told the next flight wasn’t for 2 days so we had to stay at hotel. Travelling to the hotel, we found they’d printed our tickets wrong so we were on the flight which left only a few hours later, but being positive of the little time we took it to freshen up and have a nice hot shower ready to get down to it! As our bad luck as going we knew there was something ready to strike. Yep there was… our shower/bath had broke! We then had to move rooms just to have a shower. A few hours later we were ready to leave the hotel at 4am, when we got to the waiting area of our transport it hadn’t arrived. People began to get more stressed and panic that they’d miss their flight again! Finally as we arrived at the air port with 6 cases and 2 hand luggage bags between us, we found that we weren’t on the flight we were meant but a flight a few hours later. Yet again our trip to Kenya trip was being delayed!

Eventually we arrived in Mombassa greeted by Rieder, sponsor coordinator for Milele and Moses, a close friend. From then the journey began to Mtwapa. The drive was so hot and humid but it went fairly quick. Arriving at our home was a blessing; we were finally here after all the messing about! We are staying with the director of a local school called ‘Mtwapa Acdamy’ and her family; so overall there are 11 of us! We were directed to our bedroom which was a complete surprise they had made beds for us with mosquito nets hanging over both our beds and they had kindly supplied us with tooth brushes, tooth paste, mirror, hair brush and a comb.

The days from our arrival have been busy. So far we have visited local schools of which are all in need of help and support. Some didn’t have resources such as desks, pens and books. Others couldn’t afford to pay the teachers. Seeing schools like this compared to ours in the uk was a big shock! There was no big concrete building and heating or air con it was as basic and basic could be! The students there were all clearly every poor with no shoes or rags for clothing but this didn’t stop then turning up to school every day. Education to these children was evidently the most important thing in their lives.

We got the opportunity to view some local houses from students attending one of the schools as mosquito nets and food parcels were handed out to around 60 houses. The houses were often small and cramped with people sleeping on the floor and cooking resources next to a children’s bed! It was all one big hazard but these people don’t have a choice.

Since we’ve been in Kenya we have spent a lot of time with students from ‘Mtwapa Academy’ this was the first official school I ever went to in Kenya and it was a pleasure. We were greeted by singing, dancing, karate, acrobatics and poems it was such a warm welcome. ‘Mtwapa Academy’ is a private school from KG1 to SD8 they have many classrooms all decent sizes, toilets, kitchen (with a feeding programme) a library and offices for the head teacher and director. All the students at this school strive to achieve their best and most of all they all do it with a big friendly smile! I’ve found education is so different from the way I’ve had education so far, for example they start school at 6.30 and finish at 6.30, they have a 1hour 20minute lunch and they have core revision after school for the higher years in the school. 

There are still many days left and our list of things to do is still long. Our plans for the rest of the trip is to find 2-3 more children to sponsor, distribute the books that were donates to Milele, help the jcc group (who are also visiting at the same time) hand out clothes and shoes to the children in the local schools, offer our help and support to those students who are struggling at ‘Mtwapa Academy’, visit Riziki and Takaungu to take the 4 sponsored boys to see their sisters. No doubt there will be a 100 other things we have to do!

My experience in Kenya so far is good, not only have we have got a lot done but I’ve been able to see and experience the way life is for people living in Kenya. I’ve travelled on motorbikes through the side streets; I’ve helped prepare food, wash up, help clean clothes and stayed in a home with no running water and no electricity. I’ve also not had my normal luxuries like my phone, laptop, big double bed, hot water and my normal food and my favourites like Nutella! My biggest task in Kenya is being away from the people I love. Every day it’s a challenge I have to face not being able to wake up to those every day faces or have theses morning conversations. I’m not going to say I don’t miss home because I do but I am also enjoying Kenya no matter how different it is I can feel that already I’m becoming a better person and I know completely realise how lucky I am. I just wish that for one day all those selfish people could come and see how the poor innocent people have to live everyday!

Thank you for reading I hope  you are all ok and I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Local Schools Projects

During yesterday morning we went to visit three local schools which are in the residential area of Mtomondoni. The first school was called Rescue Centre Mtomondoni .

Rescue Centre Mtomondoni
Rescue Centre Mtomondoni

It consisted of 165 children aged between 2 and 7years. The classrooms were made from iron sheets and they were lacking basic resources such pens, books and desks. Rescue Centre has 3 teachers and a school director, however since the children can only afford to pay 200 shillings per month (around £1.60) they are unable to employ qualified teachers and instead rely on volunteers.

At Rescue Centre
At Rescue Centre

They are attempting to run a food programme for the children at lunch time, however the kitchen facilities are limited and they have no reliable source of food. Despite these challenges the school seems determined to provide local children who aren’t able to afford to go to school elsewhere.

the kitchen at Resue Centre
the kitchen at Resue Centre
Victory Academy
Victory Academy

The second school was called ‘Victory Academy’. It is a nursery school with 65 children between the ages of 2 and 5 years. They have a small building with three classrooms and two fully qualified teachers and a cleaner, since this school has been established for several years now. They also make a lot of their own resources, demonstrating their dedication and hard work attempting to provide the children with the best quality care possible. Each child contributes 300/= per month (around £2.80). For example, the teachers often do not get paid; or receive very small amounts each month. The school runs a feeding programme and each child can pay 25/= per day for school lunch (around 20p). Alternatively children can bring packed lunches from home, many struggle to receive food at lunchtimes. We were really impressed with the positivity and motivation of the two teachers here. They were overwhelmingly dedicated to providing a high standard of education to local families who cannot afford normal school fees.

The classroom at New Life
The classroom at New Life

Finally we visited New Life. This school only consists of 1 classroom with around 40 students attending each day. The school starts at baby class and finishes at SD4 also; there are only 2 teachers at New Life which are only qualified to teach up to SD2. This school doesn’t have its own resources as it’s rented so the equipment is along with the building. As they are renting they have to share a toilet with many other students in the building.

New Life School
New Life School

Each student is expected to pay 300 shillings per month (around £2.80) ) this is not including food as this school does not have a feeding programme so students are expected to bring it from home or buy from the local places. New Life is a school which puts education before anything else; they give their best to provide good education and care to all their students. They are hoping to soon move into a building with 4 classrooms, a toilet and only them on the site.

All these schools were a pleasure to visit and were truly inspirational. We look forward to taking some resources for them as soon as possible

Thanks for reading!