Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Highs and lows

I knew today would be a difficult day in some ways, and it was.
Another rainy start (though Ronnie will be pleased to hear that the rain cleared completely by mid morning, leaving sunny blue skies).  Jess, Angelina, Nico, Abdul and I transported the sewing machines, table and other purchases from Casuarina House to the church.  As Jess said, we should have used a matatu to transport them - they were very heavy and the distance seemed double to that which we walked unencumbered!  However, we did it.
I explained to the women that I had not been able to help them all and why; I explained (again) that my purpose to buy equipment mainly.  I told them that I had decided to buy some chickens and some charcoal, but that I did not have time to go and buy lots of different foods.  Then I began distributing the items I already had.
The ladies who were given the sewing machines were delighted with them:
I had prepared a "contract" for each one to sign, stating that they promised not to sell the machines and that if they did they would pay me the full cost.  Festus and John have offered to follow this up.
I was able to give out five sewing machines and one table today. The rest of the women who are being given a machine have been told that they can collect it on Thursday from Casuarina House.

I also gave out the wonderful pans which Patrick found for me:

and the hairdryers and straighteners:

I spoke with the ladies for whom I am buying chickens:
and gave all of the ladies for whom I cannot buy what they asked for a solar lamp to take home.
Then came the really difficult part, as lady after lady came to me to ask for "something else" - charcoal, fabric, a sewing machine....
To begin with I listed these, but in the end I decided I just had to leave. It was hard, but it was getting so that women were just asking for anything they thought I might give them.
A lovely moment was seeing this lady carrying home her sewing machine in true African style:
We then handed out the solar lamps I had bought for pupils and staff at Utange Baptist Primary.

I had an enjoyable time wandering round the school and taking photos, and talking to Moses about my project until Jess returned from lunch at Casuarina.  Then we headed across to Mikorashoni school.  This was very close to where I went with Juma on the previous day. 
Here we met with Mr Joseph, the head teacher, and handed out lamps to his staff and pupils.
Our final stop of the day was Utange Primary school.  When I visited the school in 2010, this was very run down.  Since then a lot of money and support has been provided by Mombasa Rotary Club, and the buildings have been transformed.  Nonetheless, class sizes shocked me - they ranged from 80 to 111 in one class, taught by just one teacher.  I cannot imagine trying to teach a class of 111 children.

I met the deputy head, who was very welcoming.  I explained to him about the solar lamps and asked the staff which of them had received a lamp when they were sent last year.  None of them knew anything about any solar lamps.  The head teacher (whose picture I have receiving the lamps last year) has since retired.  I suspect the lamps may have lined her retirement fund.  However, it was a delight to give out the lamps this year, to staff and to Standard 8 pupils.  These pupils are about to take their final exams, so hopefully the lamps will be of real benefit to them as they revise.


  1. Amazing,you must feel so blessed seeing all your hard work come into fruition. I always say that one cannot change the world but can change the world for one person.Gosh you have helped so many. Well done Caroline. Keep smiling,God is on your side and knows you can't give everything to everybody x

    1. Thanks Ronnie. It was good to see the happiness of the women who I was able to help - but hard to see those I couldn't so disappointed and desperate. However, I still hope to be able to do more in future - and to offer help through other channels as well, such as Utange Primary and St Peter the Rock.