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.