Come along and browse our Christmas Gift Shop for a variety of presents and cards, from a range of prices starting at £4. Plus stop for tea and cake whilst you shop. It’s the perfect way to start your Christmas shopping!
On a grey and damp Thursday in July, I made my way to Crystal Palace Park at 6.30 a.m to meet up with 29 other riders and our tour organisers for the first time, to embark on a 3 day ride from London to Paris. I didn’t really know what to expect but as we got underway I quickly matched up with another lone rider of about the same fitness. Despite the early start we had a bit of time pressure on day 1 as we had to get to Newhaven in time for the ferry! The ride was challenging having to cross the south downs and, despite the sun coming out for the afternoon, we had to fight some fairly significant cross and head winds but we rolled down to the check in with about half an hour or so to spare. With the 4 hour ferry journey and the change in time arriving in France it was gone midnight before we were tucked up in our beds.
The second day was the shortest ride and with no time constraints we had the luxury of a 10 o’clock start. It remained sunny all day and the route took us through some really beautiful French countryside. The wind however kept up and, especially in the afternoon, the terrain was definitely undulating!
The final day was another early start as we had over 70 miles to cover. The morning was once again a bit grey and dismal, at times we all just put our heads down and pedaled, at others we came together in small groups to chat and cycle together which really helped on some of the harder sections. We had covered 46 miles by lunch time, over half the day’s distance, as the second section would be significantly slower winding through Paris suburbs and on to the city centre. The rain petered out and it became pleasantly bright for the rest of our journey. Negotiating the Paris traffic was “interesting” especially towards the end when we were trying to stay together but finally the Eiffel Tower came into full view. This was an amazing feeling although it was difficult to take it in and concentrate. We ended our ride at the furthest end of the Champs de Mars park from the Tower where we were greeted by friends and family that had come for support.
This was certainly a challenging event but it was also an amazing experience. It was so well organised that we really had nothing to worry about except the riding, all the others taking part were great company and it’s something I would really recommend to anyone that might be considering it.
By Gill Nord
Karibuni is helping students who have been supported throughout their school life to become employed and start their own independent careers through a sponsorship scheme.
Many students need further training on completion of their schooling at University, college or in a vocation.
We are looking for sponsors to provide more secure funding to students at this stage.
Typically, sponsors have offered between £20 and £50 a month, to fully or partially sponsor an individual, or an equivalent annual sum.
Karibuni has already supported a number of students through to this point. They range from those starting careers with top international firms to those looking to set up their own businesses.
We are now looking for sponsors for the next academic year, starting in September, when we expect to have 14 students proceeding to further training.
Last year we piloted the scheme at two centres and we are hoping to start extending the scheme to other Karibuni projects if we get enough support.
We are now looking for sponsors for 14 young people who will be moving onto further education courses later this year.
Each case is different. Here’s how Makena, who runs the Tusaidie Watoto project, described one of last year’s sponsored girls:
“Lydia is pursuing a Certificate in Community Health Nursing. She joined Tusaidie Watoto Nursery at the tender age of 5 years. Her mother sells vegetables by the road side to earn a living and that is how she has been able to support her family. While in Primary school, you would see Lydia at the roadside selling vegetables with her mother and yet she would always have books by her side to read if they were not busy. She is a jovial character with a smile always on her face. She is also hard working and has told me several times that she would love to build her mother a house and to change the family’s lifestyle.”
If you would like to know more, please email Robert and Penny Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on 01235 200402
Karibuni Children – A Huge Step for Small Feet
A little boy, barely more than three years old, throws himself at the legs and body of the head teacher, who is talking to the surrounding children sitting cross-legged on the matting. A gentle hand of reassurance comes down to placate the boy, which, although gratefully received, can not take away his urgency for attention.
The other children, some managing to interact with each other and the other two staff members, all look wide-eyed at the ‘mzungu’ sitting in front of them, listening and applauding their attempts at singing together – a heart lifting sound.
The little restless chap doesn’t give up on his attention-seeking – and who could blame him. The head teacher, whose gentle nature and physical contact he craves, tells me later that they found him locked up in a shed.
He had not been abandoned, but for his own safety and parental piece-of-mind, his mother had resorted to shutting her son away on a daily basis in order to go out and find work…any work that would give her enough to keep them alive for a while longer.
How long this had been going on was not known, but the psychological trauma to this boy was apparent for all to see.
I was in a little school in Kibera, one of the world’s worst and biggest slums, sprawling on the edge of Nairobi. Kibera is the unfortunate home of over 60% of Nairobi’s population, on 6% of the city’s land. The 1 million tenants massing in 12’x12′ mud and tin constructions.
I attended this school with Karibuni Children organisers John Cotton, Joy Murphy and David Welsh. Now Kibera is not a place I would have chosen to visit – I have no need to actually visualise the horrors of abject poverty on mass – but as I am now a temporary resident in Kenya and my in-laws were visiting from Wingrave, Buckinhamshire, Ken & Sylvia were keen to support John and his mission.
Although small, the Tusaidie Watoto Nursery School and Kibera Primary School is producing a powerful punch into the lives of over 250 children, who otherwise would face a future of crime, illiteracy and probable prostitution. We spent time amongst children who had little but the uniform they stood up in and food provided by the school.
There were so many smiling faces, eager and willing to absorb details and information from the outside world, the world beyond their litter strewn, mud encased, bare existence. We were able to talk with these delightful children, hiding the horrors of their ‘real’ lives whilst in the protection and comfort of their classrooms.
In the huge scale of things, caring for over 250 poverty stricken children in Nairobi may not seem a worthwhile cause, in a country and continent rife with problems, but these children may well go on to produce a powerful punch of their own.
This is only one of the ventures undertaken by the Karibuni Children, who are now seeing the fruits of this labour of love and compassion in the students attending University: qualified, confident and cared for – hopefully a strong influence in the future of this country and continent.
I wept when I left the confines of the school, so powerful was the impression of hope against the odds for these lovely little human beings.
Tania Francis “done Asia, now exploring Africa”
Each year, our trustees cross continents to visit each of our projects in Kenya to see what progress has been made and to ensure funds are being used effectively.
Trustee and Founder Joy Murphy travelled out to Kenya on the 13th of February and will be joined by Chairman John Cotton and trustee Nigel Roberts on the 28th of February.
Week One: Joy in Mombasa
For the last couple of years, it has been too dangerous to visit the projects around Mombasa, on the coast, because of security fears. But this year she was keen to make the journey to the sites in the area: the Hunajeza and Upendo projects.
At the end of her journey to Mombasa, Joy sent this message back to Britain:
Greetings from the Kenyan Coast!
I have been to Tsunguni and spent a day at the Hunajeza project. They are struggling to keep on with it as all the voluntary grandmothers get old. They can no longer grow vegetables to sell, and there is no water anyway. But they keep on in hope and with faith and have started a nursery. I hope the families can manage the very low fees. After one night there I am now in Kilifi and have been at Upendo all day. They keep on growing – their women have had more education and they are getting younger women to join them. But no water here either, people are really struggling. Every drop has to be bought, delivered and stored, not easy in small homes. Showers are a bowl of cold water and, if you’re lucky, a jug! Tomorrow I’m flying back to Nairobi and hope to have a good shower! All is well and I feel well loved and cared for. All I have met send their greetings and love to you and gratitude for all your support.
God bless you and with love.
After flying back to Nairobi, where she will be visiting more projects, Joy was able to tell us more about her visit to the coast.
I have done my visits to Mombasa and arrived in Nairobi late last night. Lindberg’s driver, George, was there to pick me up and bring me to the Presiding Bishop’s home where there was a bishops meeting in full swing! So I met them, half asleep as I was and bedraggled from the journey from Kilifi.
The visits to the two projects went well, although one, Hunajeza is really struggling. It is a Women’s Fellowship project and they have been going for 35 years, so you can imagine the women are now getting old! Sadly they are not attracting new, younger women to take on the work and now have to pay two cooks to provide around 60 lunches Monday to Friday. Until now the mothers and grandmothers have done all the cooking, etc, as well as digging the shamba (smallholding) to grow vegetables for sale and for lunch, which provided some income. They have now started a nursery, but don’t seem sure that they will get fees to even pay for their food or the teachers’ salaries! Hunajeza means ‘we are trying’ and they are keeping on trying, but are very tired and dispirited. I tried to encourage them, but it seems they no longer ‘own’ the project and really need new leadership and community involvement.
The Upendo (meaning love) project is also a WF community programme, but is in total contrast to Hunajeza. It is well managed and the whole group, of mixed ages, is actively involved, fund raising, meeting, praying, giving hands on assistance with the many children, and being very involved with the lives of the AIDS orphans the programme supports – it would be great if the Hunajeza leaders would visit Upendo for just a few days! Here I did a couple of home visits, first to a very young widow with five children, who are very bright and doing well in school. Their home is falling down, their bathroom is a bundle of twigs and torn plastic and there are no facilities at all. The family is almost at the top of the waiting list for a newly built three roomed house from the project. The next visit was to a mother of five whose new house is completed and built next to her old falling down home. The contrast is stark! The project raises donations to build these simple, strong houses for the most needy of the orphans.
My accommodation was challenging in both places. The first one I knew would be very basic, and it was, although the family did everything they could to make me comfortable. I may be getting too old for latrines, etc, especially when I had to get up in the night to go – no lights, toads in the passageway, no water and across an open area! And a ‘shower’ is a bowl of cold water and a jug! However, it was only one night, although I should have stayed another night to try to work some things out with them.
The home in Kilifi was more comfortable, but still no water (so same shower arrangement and pouring half a bucket of water down the loo to flush) until the last night when we heard water suddenly start to fill the cistern. The family immediately ran hoses from taps to fill giant containers and left them running. When I got up for the loo I should have worn wellies! The tanks in the cloakroom were overflowing! I turned off the tap, but then had to wash and dry my feet before going back to bed, I didn’t stay up to mop up, I’m afraid so had to wade through the flood to have my shower the next morning.
I realised as I was taken to Mombasa airport on Wednesday evening that I hadn’t looked in a mirror since leaving Nairobi on Sunday morning! Not a pretty sight when I got to the airport!
I am now in luxury at the Ntombura’s, not just running water, but hot running water! Plus I have Internet access and a new Kenyan SIM card for my phone! (And a ‘normal’ loo!)
They have made me very welcome and I feel I have come home again.
My love to you all
Mungu awabarike. (God bless you all)
We’ll keep you updated with the latest from Joy and the other trustees during the rest of their trip.