As some of you know we managed to take a lot of clothes and shoes out to Kenya this time. So one of the big jobs we have had was to distribute all of those items to people in the local area.
We first took our heavy cases to Mbazi Community Group, who help children in the Gorafani area. When we got to the group there were only a few children there but this soon changed. We managed to give out lots and lots of items including a handful of Arsenal shirts to some extremely grateful children. In total we gave out 125 items to about 50 children.
On Friday we took the remaining items to Bethel Children’s Care Centre. We arrived in style with a number of cases stacked on the back of motorbikes; the only problem was that one ran out of petrol on the way! Never the less we made it at about 8:00am and started to distribute clothes to the 80 children who regularly attend. When we had finished kitting out almost all of the children with shoes and every single child with clothes we still had quite a lot left over, so we decided to see if they had any brothers and sisters who wanted anything. Some of the children ran home and the word soon spread. Within minutes of sending the children we had a large crowd forming. We brought small groups of children into the compound and gave them clothes, shoes or both. This carried on until about 3:30 in the afternoon. When we finally ran out about 200 children had received something, making our total this time about 250 children who have been touched by your donations.
Thanks so much to all who have donated! There are always more children who need shoes and clothes so please keep the donations coming and we’ll keep giving it out!
Hope you enjoy all the smiling kids in the photos!
Rich and Amy
Whilst here we have visited the Mbazi project, giving out some of the smaller girls clothes and shoes as well as the remaining mosquito nets. The children were really excited to see us and we were pleased to see lots of familiar faces since the last time we were here.
Billy has also been working on this project teaching some basic maths and social studies to a small group of children, and is clearly a firm favourite, happy to co-ordinate regular games of football!!
Despite unfortunately loosing a member of their team to a heart attack a couple of months ago, the group have managed to make some progress with the building, having secured the first classroom and begun to make a blackboard for it, and started a second classroom. A large area has also been cleared of the long grass and weeds to make space for a playground for the children.
Our most recent visit to the Mbazi group last week showed once again just how determined and motivated this group are. The small building which was the only classroom over easter has now been expanded to a much larger building with a high roof accomodating more children with lots of space. Their plans extend to a second classroom which is currently being constructed next to the first of equal size. The new facilities they have built also include a brand new toilet on site which is being well used by the children at the school and the feeding programme on a saturday.
Whilst we were there the first aid kit got lots of use, just as it always does at this project. Being next door to a quarry there are many stones and rocks in the area, meaning it is much too easy for children to trip, fall and cut themselves. This is a common problem in the area we work, and since many of the children cannot afford shoes small cuts can easily become very dangerous, especially at this time of year in the rainy season. The large pools of dirty water infect cuts and scrapes and with medical care out of reach for many of the families this can cause extremely serious problems for the children.
For this reason we had prioritised the shoes many of you had donated were crucial to take to this group as soon as possible. wellies especially came in very handy and lots of happy smiling kids were thrilled to receive shoes and clothes. Everyone who donated something which was handed out this time will receive photographs of their items specifically as well as a group photo in the post as soon as possible, so thankyou very much to all of you!
Today we were back in Gorofani to visit the Mbazi nursery school. The school is held in the same room that is also used for cooking the food programme at the weekends. Today there were 29 students in attendance, mostly in KG1 and 2, although there was a small class of older KG3s.
We busied ourselves for an hour or so clearing the stones from the ground with some of the committee members, before handing out some of your donations to the children.
There were balloons, toys, crayons, colouring pencils, toy building kits, games, colouring books and paper, all of which were received very excitedly by the pupils and teachers alike. Once they had figured out what on earth balloons were; all the children were crowding round clamouring for you to blow theirs up, then letting it go flat and coming back again!
THANK-YOU so much to all the generous people who have donated these things, they will really help the school and all the kids were so excited and proud to get their very first toy!
On saturday we took a trip to visit a new group for the first time. The group is based in a very rural area towards Takaungu called ‘Gorofani’. The name of the town means ‘place with a storey building’ on account of the fact that near the main road passing through the town there is a two-storey house; quite a rarity in this area!
The group itself is comprised of 12 local adults who founded an association to provide aid for needy children, orphans and those living with only one parent or in very impoverished circumstances. The group provides a feeding programme every Saturday with 200 children already registered in its first year of running. This week more than 150 children came to eat rice and beans. The group also has a nursery school running in the mornings from Monday to Friday to provide education for 40 of the youngest children who cannot walk the 8 kilometres to the nearest school and back every day. The group has documented more than 600 orphans, one parent children and needy children in the very local area alone who are currently not receiving regular meals or any education and could therefore benefit from its support.
The projects currently receive some support from the government in the form of flour, rice and beans to distribute, any extra costs are currently being scraped together using small weekly donations from the committee members, local volunteer staff, cooks and teachers.
Although the intentions of this project and its potential are fantastic and the resourcefulness and dedication of the association’s members is astounding; it brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘living on a shoe-string’!
The kitchen for all 200 children is transformed during the week into the nursery school, and the cooking equipment consists of one very large metal pot, a large spoon made of coconut shell, wood for the fire and a box of matches. There is also a nearby freshwater well which has been built by the members and this water is used for the cooking.
I hope you enjoy these photos as much as we enjoyed the day. It was truly special to see such a well managed, independent local group doing such good work with such a small amount of money. Keep your eyes peeled for more pictures of this group when we go back there tomorrow!