Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Monday week 1: meetings and lamps

Today was a busy and satisfying day; one where I felt I really began to do what I am here to do.
I began the day by sorting out the lamps (ordered from Sunny Money, the trading arm of the charity Solar Aid) I intended to deliver.  I added a message with a Bible verse and prayer to each box.

Zachariah, a trusted taxi driver, picked me up from the hotel late morning and took me to St Peter the Rock. Jess, the current volunteer at Casuarina, met me there - she came to find out what I am doing and to take photographs.
St peter the Rock is now two schools, set up by the admirable Gladys. Her original idea was to have one school where able bodied pupils and pupils with physical and mental disabilities were educated alongside each other. Unfortunately many of the parents of able bodied children apparently objected to this and threatened to withdraw their children, and so Gladys has been forced to split the school into two parts.
I began at the school for pupils with disabilities. The majority and mental disabilities. The first thing which struck me was the friendliness of the,pupils. On seeing the welcome I was given by one of the teachers, I was surrounded by children who wanted to hug and touch me.
I first gave Gladys the solar room light I had bought for her.  Plans are underway to build her a new school and I have offered to provide solar lights for the school.  The lamp I gave is for her to test.

Gladys took me into the school and introduced me to her five teachers. I gave her the solar lamps I had brought and explained that I would like five of them to be given to five of the pupils to take home, and five to staff. I was given the chance to hand out the lamps personally, which was very moving.

Gladys then gave me a tour of the school and explained how it is set up. The pupils are divided into groups according to ability. When they reach standard 5 and 6 they are doing the work set for pupils in mainstream schools, albeit for pupils at a lower stage of schooling. They eat at the school, and as I arrived they were having their lunch.

I was taken into the computing room to see a lesson where pupils were using computers provided by donors, with resources provided by other donors, from Sweden. I was struck by the understanding that Florence, their teacher, showed in how to move her pupils on in awareness of computers, and by the way in which these pupils worked independently and with an obvious sense of achievement.

I was also very appreciative of the positive and warm relationships between the teachers and their pupils. Kenyan schooling can often be quite harsh, but this most definitely was not.
One little gem was seeing one of the younger pupils admiring herself in the wing mirror of Zachariah's car.

Gladys' school is underfunded and surviving in extremely cramped conditions. She provides boarding facilities, because otherwise many of these pupils would be left home alone.
The space available to her has steadily been reduced by her landlords. She has a small piece of land on which she grows crops to help to feed the children.  Gladys told me that the children learn to water and tend the plants.

Fortunately help is at hand as a group in the UK have accepted the task of building a new school for Gladys and her pupils on land she has purchased.

I was also taken to the other part of the school. Here pupils are taught in small classes. Sponsorship of many pupils has recently ceased and Gladys is actively seeking out new ways to fund them. Here we arrived as the youngest children were having their after lunch nap!

After this, we went to Noah's Ark Academy. The same group which has accepted the challenge of building a school for Gladys and her pupils raised the funds to build classrooms, toilets, an office and store room for this school.

I was here to meet Florence and her sewing group. I was welcomed as a member of the group and given my own dress - their uniform, as was (much to her delight) Jess.

Each of the group introduced themselves. I explained why I was there and what I could offer. This was a little bit of a difficult stage, as Florence had expressed a strong desire for much more funding than I am able to provide. However, the members of the group seemed really pleased when I showed them the lamp I had brought to light one of the rooms, so that they can work together in the evenings.

 They were also pleased when I told them I will buy them a sewing machine, equipment and fabrics, and that I have brought patterns to teach them to sew some African animals which I hope they may be able to sell to. Tourists.
I also met Ali, the young man who I sponsor at the school, along with his mother and brother. I had brought some stationery for him and a ball.

He seemed pleased with these. I was a little disappointed in Florence's instant response - clearly a strong hint - that he a,so needed exercise books and a school bag. I ignored this!  I spoke to Ali's mother about the solar lamp I sent out for him (and four of his classmates) last year, and she reported that it was very useful and helped him to work in the evenings.
We had to have an inordinate number of photos taken as every member of the group wanted to have an individual photo - taken on their phones - with me, as well as taking several versions of the group shot!

Between visits I had some great discussions with Zachariah - more of which later!


  1. Wow,you are doing so we'll,I am so proud of you. Love the green dress.Gladys sounds an amazing woman,pleased she is being supported by others. Hope you have won over Florence,she is a good contact to have on your side. Thanks for keeping us so we'll updated.I can't believe what you have achieved in such a short time. Keep smiling,strong and well. I am sure God is delighted in what you are doing x

  2. Thanks Ronnie. Even more action today - met with the ladies at Utange Baptist. Going to be a very busy few days. Have a good contact who I hope will take us both into the fabric market in Mombasa to buy ourselves some fabric to bring home; I am going to go with her (if she agrees) wome time next week I hope to buy fabric for the ladies.

  3. AMAZING!! You are doing so well and so quickly. I admire you're grit and determination. Glad you have good contacts and people you can rely on and thanks so much for the updates. They are inspirational. God delights in you xx

  4. I finally made it onto the Blog Carolyn. Ronnie gave me the details. I love the latest fashion photo! Great to see and hear all that God is doing through you and others there. I look forward to keeping updated as the weeks progress. Not long until Ronnie arrives now. God bless.

    1. Thank you for visiting, Michael, and for your comments. Looking forward to Ronnie arriving.