Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women in Kenya and the 2nd most common cancer in women worldwide, but 86% of cases are in developing countries.
The link between hpv infection and cervical cancer is well established, and caused virtually 100% of cases of cervical cancer, hpv 16 and hpv 18 are vaccine preventable types and contribute to 70% of all cervical cancer cases. Cervical cancer is claiming the lives of young women in Africa at a time when they are needed to support and care for young children. The limited medical care makes the management of women dying with these invasive pelvic tumours hugely challenging and distressing.
The vaccine is expensive and therefore not available to the majority of Kenyan women on cost grounds alone; add to that the ignorance of women to health advice, lifestyle measures and access to screening programmes, very few individuals access the vaccine.
This project aims to raise awareness amongst adolescent girls and women of the health risks and educate them on how to protect themselves with risk reducing behaviour. Over 80% of Kenyan women have never had any form of pelvic examination; we hope to dispel some of the ignorance surrounding this and encourage women to attend screening, as well as education around other risk factors of sexual behaviour, smoking contraception etc.
When surveyed, given the information, around 90% of women would present their daughters for hpv vaccination if it were affordable to them.
We have access to the girls at Tumaini, with the additional exciting possibility of going into other local secondary schools to educate and vaccinate the students. The hope is that this would become an on-going programme year on year. It may even become an example to neighbouring schools/districts to take on similar projects, and who knows where it might lead?
Hpv vaccination is the world’s most expensive vaccine; it comprises a course of 3 injections and costs around £45 per child. We have established a supply of vaccines, fridge facilities, and a willing team to get involved with all aspects of this project. To vaccinate all the girls 12 years and over at Tumaini will cost in the region of £8,000. We will purchase as many vaccines as we can with the money raised and start vaccinations in July this year, the more we can fund, the more girls we will be able to vaccinate.
This is a life-saving intervention, and whilst it does not meet the criteria of large scale population disease management, for the individual girls and families involved it is huge.
It’s like throwing starfish back one at a time, but who knows where it might lead????? Would you like to help us throw a starfish back? Visit www.justgiving.com/savealifehpv or simply text HPVM88 to 70070
Written by Dr. Orton
After years of wanting to visit Tumaini I have finally made it! It has been a privilege to be part of this community that is so generous, full of love and hope. There hasn’t been a day since I arrived that I haven’t been overwhelmed with the culture of generosity. It ranges from paying for hospital bills for a cancer patient to the monthly support of those making their first steps after leaving the kids home, to the Cooking Mamas sharing some of their lunch with Jacqui, Beth and myself.
This generous attitude is coupled with the challenge of making people less dependent on foreign aid and more self-dependent. This will be a continual journey and will take courage and responsibility from everybody involved to make it happen. But it is so wonderful to see this journey well on the way.
The sense of together-ness and family blows your mind away. Last week we had the honour of joining the teacher’s prayer meeting held at Maureen’s house. Glyn, Jane and Maureen are the people that steer the vision of Tumaini and give the energy in starting up projects here, but there are so many people like this prayer group that are the glue that hold Tumaini together.
The vastness of the project is impossible to comprehend. I don’t think after two weeks I know everything that is done here, but here are a list of projects I am aware of Children’s Home, Feeding Programme, Nursery, Primary School & High School, Jiwe (Stepping Stones), Coffee Shop, Health Care, Church, Mission Care Houses, Tomato growing project, Water Project, Compassion in Action, Tailoring, Kids Club!
And I am sure I have missed some.
With God all things are possible
Jesus Christ is Lord of Tumaini
The Holy Spirit has anointed us to proclaim freedom from sin, sickness and satan
This community will make God’s Name famous in our world.
This week’s blog was written by Rachel Field from the Hub Central, Rotherham, with photos by Helen Sherrington.
This isn’t my first visit to Tumaini. It’s my third. But no matter how many times I come I am still amazed by just how many people make up this community. I would take a guess that there are probably around 1,000 people linked with Tumaini in one way or another. That’s a lot of people! And that’s a lot of smiling faces that I get the joy of seeing every day.
And that’s what makes me so amazed! Tumaini is a place of such joy and hope!
I like to talk to people. (That is a bit of an understatement as anyone who knows me will tell you!) And so I often get the privilege of hearing people’s stories. Behind every one of the smiling faces I see there is a story. Every one of these eyes has seen a lot. And yet God has given every one of them a reason to smile. The smile isn’t simply covering up the pain; it is a true expression of what God has done in their lives.
Google defines the word ‘Community’ as ‘a group of people living together in one place’. Tumaini is so much more than just a community. Tumaini is an embodiment of God’s heartbeat.
Wherever you go in Tumaini you can see God’s heartbeat. Even now as I’m writing this I can hear children playing and laughing. They feel safe, they are happy and they are loved. I know that makes God smile.
Yesterday I went to Mama Sema. Every Thursday a group of women meet to praise God together, encourage each other in the word of God and spend time together. There’s something wonderful about that. There’s something of the very heartbeat of God running through their meetings. We were discussing love and how to love one another. And, although I knew what I was saying was an encouragement to them, I knew that in many ways I didn’t need to say it. Even as we were walking to the place we meet these amazing ladies were spreading God’s love with everyone they met, the school children they saw, the people they passed in the street, the lady that lives in her make shift hut… They were spreading God’s love and embodying his heartbeat.
The children’s home is another example. Off the top of my head I could name you 36 children that I know that either live there now or used to live there (There are probably more that I’ve either forgotten or have never met!) That’s a lot of children! And yet they are all so close and Mary and Charles (the parents) have so much love for every child they have. I can’t wait to go and share a meal with them later this evening because there is something there that is just so wonderful! The love in that household is actually indescribable and the hope that these children have been given is amazing! These children now have a future.
Now, don’t think I’m naïve. I know that Tumaini isn’t perfect. It can’t be. It is a community of nearly 1,000 very imperfect people. Not everyone smiles all the time; I’d be a bit freaked out if they did! But it is very evident just from being here that these imperfect people are making up something that God delights in.
Written by Helen Sherrington – The Hub Central, Rotherham
Happy New Year and thanks again for helping us to start 2013 with good news.
This week we officially opened our new toilet block, there was much anticipation as staff and students waited to see what was in store for them! It was especially good to see a special toilet, opened exclusively for students with physical disabilities and Felistus able to stand to walk in (many of you will have seen her on our video clips from 2012).
We would like to especially thank all those involved in making this possible, the project took a little longer than anticipated but at last we are happy that it’s open for business!
As we start the new year we are looking forward to making many new stories and friends. We are happy to welcome new visitors and are looking forward to catching up with old friends this coming year.
Thanks again for being part of this year’s story.
Xx Glyn, Jane & Maureen
Peace means different things to different people throughout the world – quietness, the absence of conflict, at ease in heart and mind, stillness, perfect harmony, life as it should be, reconciliation, serenity, freedom from fear… Over 2000 years ago, a baby was born to bring peace to the world, making a way for mankind to be at peace with God, to live in harmony with each other and our world. May you find peace and rest in that Peace Child, this Christmas.
The Peace Child – a tale of 2 rival tribes, forced together by the building of a bridge but brought together by the birth of a baby. Tumaini students presented the story with lively dancing, singing and expressive drama and narration – a colourful array! The message of the play came through loud and clear to leave disagreements of the past behind, to strive for peace and friendship rather than conflict and to work together for a better future! Food for thought at the end of a year and a great focus for the year ahead.
We wish you all a very happy Christmas and a wonderful 2013!
Thank you for all your support and love throughout this year.
Once again we picked up our walking shoes and headed out to the hills of Mgambonyi for a week. Ronald and Agnellah’s family welcomed us into their home again and we enjoyed their warm hospitality and of their friends, many cups of tea and delicious kimanga (my favourite is made with bananas).
One aim of the week was to buy a third cow, named Martha – that was a fun experience! As we walked, we enjoyed the beautiful scenery, interesting conversations and catching as much fresh air as possible to keep our bodies going up the hills. On our way we met up with Saul (the beneficiary of the cow) and Tole, his friend and neighbour. Newton, the farmer selling the cow, is a retired agricultural officer from the Ministry of Agriculture. He and his son, Ayub taught us so many things as we stood together in the cow sheds; measuring a cow to confirm its weight, making silage, amounts of water required to produce a litre of milk. Did you know??? For a cow to produce 20 litres of milk, she needs to drink 100 litres of water as well as eat a good diet and regularly lick a mineral bar (cow’s lollipop/sucker). After enjoying a cup of tea together and doing the business, Ayub assisted us all in taking Martha from their home. I seriously felt sorry for her, she’s not used to walking far and she ran up those hills, guided by Ayub (he really knows what he’s doing!)
Another aim of the week was to visit 3 nursery schools; 2 of them held in government primary schools (funded entirely by the parents) and 1 held in a new church hall to assist 23 little children who would really struggle to walk any further to school each day. Catherine, Margaret and Jane work with the children, they teach them to read and write, teach them songs and do games in a big circle on the edge of an extremely steep hillside. Apart from the use of a nice, small church building, they have no other resources or facilities. At around 10 every morning they prepare porridge for the children, but it’s very simple porridge made with flour, sugar and water – imagine how much more tasty it could be to add some wholesome milk…! These ladies do a fantastic job, Catherine is a teacher, Margaret is studying Early Childhood Development and Jane assists and prepares the porridge for the children. The children were very shy at first, but as we spent some time playing with them and giving them the tiny toothbrushes we took for them they began smiling and playing and then laughing at us as we tried joining in their games of frog jumping and duck walking…
Some highlights of the week were being invited into the homes of so many families, sometimes for a cup of tea, sometimes for a meal and all the time to pray for the family. We spent a very interesting couple of hours with an elderly couple, born in 1918 – they had so many stories from around Kenya and in particular that area. Modest people, they were pioneers of the murram roads reaching their area and key workers in their local school and church. We met the 2-week old bull of our second cow, Iwi – he’s cute and cuddly and a great friend to the little orphaned calf we’d met on our previous visit. We were also welcomed for a delicious meal at the home of the Chief, he showed us around his shamba (garden/farm) and sent us away with some baby marrows (courgettes) bigger than I’d ever seen before!
Shali is a young lady who had dropped out of High School over a year ago because her family did not have the money to send her anymore. In the two years she was in school, Shali missed many weeks due to lack of fees, but being very hard working and industrious Shali was determined to find a way to complete her education. We agreed to partner with Ronald in sending Shali back to school. We visited the school at Kitumbi and chatted to Shali, I asked if she’d had a good day and she answered, “A wonderful day!” The school is next to one of the largest forests in Coast province so while we were there we went for a stroll – it is a beautiful pine forest, with jacaranda trees and palms thrown in for contrast, what a sight… and when we reached a clearing we looked out towards Tanzania, if we’d have been there early in the morning we’d have seen Mt. Kilimanjaro but at that time in the afternoon it had disappeared into the mist.
On the last day, we were invited to join Ronald and Agnellah for a special lunch held in appreciation for the partnership of the church leaders and their faithful, hard work throughout the year. We were both invited to share our stories with them, we felt very honoured to be invited. It was a special time, we learned about how their church came to be, why the building is where it is and some prophecies concerning the people of that specific area and their impact on the world! Exciting!
Members of Tumaini Family Church are in Mgambonyi right now at a conference, empowering men to be closer to God, to love and lead their families and to be active in their faith. In a couple of weeks time, our young people have also been invited to join their youth at a conference for fun, friendship and challenges for life. It’s an exciting link!
We were made to be connected with other people; we need each other! As we begin to build friendships, we give but at the same time receive so much. Get connected somewhere – it’ll change your life!
Hot, dry weather and growing tomatoes doesn’t usually go together over here but thanks to the genius of Amiran and their partners our tomatoes are doing amazingly well! Planted from seed just 10 weeks ago, we’re so close to harvesting now – our mouths are watering to sample the first fruits! I’m sure Mr Patrick, Dennis and Martin will get the first 3, they certainly deserve it after all their hard work.
In the photos you can see Dennis spraying the flowers with `Fruit setting solution.’ He has to do this as soon as the flowers appear, or the tomatoes won’t grow – this is specifically necessary for tomatoes growing in a greenhouse here at the coast. Mr Patrick and Martin are continuing the huge task of pruning and tying up the branches; the plants are now officially above head height – Glyn’s head height that is – still a pretty good achievement!
Elsewhere in Tumaini life goes on – new toilets are getting their finishing touches and the Form 4 class in High School are sitting their final examinations. They are very happy because this week they’ve done all the maths papers; it’s a huge weight off their minds. As they complete their exams, a group of 8 young people, living in the children’s home are making their plans for the next phase of their lives – they’ll be starting a new, independent life and some have even been offered the opportunity of a work placement in a hotel in Mombasa for the first couple of months next year, that’s really exciting.
Please pray for our Form 4 students as they step into these final few weeks at school, life as they know it is going to change massively, there’s excitement, apprehension, intrigue and uncertainty – pray that they will make wise choices as they step out into a whole new world!
Have a great week and thanks for checking in on us
Xx Glyn & Jane
WOW! What a week!
This morning it felt CHilly (with a capital CH) After breakfast, we had an appointment to officially meet the Chief and two Sub-Chiefs of the area to chat about future plans and share ideas about partnership. We were very warmly received in the office and the meeting was constructive and very encouraging. We talked about the Share a Cow project; growing strong Napier grass and developing existing irrigation. As they are also farmers, they had some excellent ideas and were extremely supportive.
Another area we discussed was supporting the local children in their education. There is a huge need for assistance in the nursery schools. Many nursery teachers are earning £30 per month and some even less; resources are scarce and children walk a long way, up very steep hills to reach their schools early in the morning (often through the thick mist on the hills). The Administration were very happy to hear that the Share a Cow project has already started and offered their support and help as we establish a new partnership!
After the meeting, we set off to visit Sylvester, Agnellah and their family to be introduced to our newest addition. Our second cow is called “Iwi,” (pronounced “Ibvi” – have a bit of fun and try to say it!) it means “Second.” She looks wonderful and is almost ready to give birth, which will be great news for Sylvester and his family. Not only will she replace the milk yield they’d lost with the cow who had died a day after giving birth; she’ll also become a mama to the sweet, orphaned calf who we’ve grown to love! Sylvester’s family are very excited about this new project and his sons are hard working guys who are already planning ahead. We talked through the partnership agreement together and sealed the deal with a delicious meal of Mseto (rice and beans).
So now it’s time to head back to Mombasa, until next month when we will visit our first born calf and hopefully help another family with a cow, as we seem to be getting a lot of requests to join the project.
We hope you have enjoyed reading our diary over the last few days, so the question now is how can you get involved?
We have already blessed two families with a Dorcas and an Iwi, would you like to help us bless more families? Join our “Share a Cow” project and give a cow a name! Your gift could change the fortunes of a whole family and impact a community!
Walking, visiting, praying, learning, thinking, planning… describes much of what we’ve been doing this week and particularly today. After breakfast we visited Ronald and Agnellah’s neighbours. Passing one home, Ronald explained that the mama is a nursery teacher who is paid very little and she’s a single mum of three children. Mama works very hard, the children are very young and although home is their little haven, it’s difficult to live with a polythene sheet for a roof in the temperature of the hills and the damp, misty conditions.
Another elderly mama we visited is over 90 years and lives alone on the top of a hill; she struggles to stand upright but still works very hard as a farmer in her shamba (farm land) she’d planted maize, ready for the rain. This mama is called Patience and as she happily welcomed us to her home we tried to imagine what life is like for her! Patience is a happy mama and she’s refused to move in with her son and their family at the bottom of the hill until she’s unable to light her own fire! Stubborn, hard working, happy and patient! Makes you think…
As we climbed up and down the hills visiting each home, we were asked to pray a blessing upon their family – very humbling!
In the afternoon we walked to Mgambonyi to experience market day – it’s a real community affair, the farmers bring their produce, some is sold here in the market and some is packed in sacks, to be collected by lorries and taken to the main market in Mombasa, 6 hours away. Agnellah Mwangoji, who we’d visited at her home on Tuesday has a stall in the market selling children’s clothes as well as other material bits and bobs to support their family.
The presence of visitors in the shopping centre caused a bit of a stir and many people greeted us happily. We had some fun with a few small children on their way home from nursery school as they cautiously came to shake our hands, then turned to run away. One little boy, shouted, “Piga Picture” and came running with two other little friends.
A community such as this has many things to teach us; we identify what is easily lost, through progress. Considering this, we continue to plan of how together we can enhance this community and give a helping hand to hard working people, meeting their challenges and putting flesh on the bones of what is already in their hearts and in their hands!
A change of plan meant that we didn’t meet Cow No.2 in her new home today as Sylvester was building a new shelter for the cow. He’s asked us to visit tomorrow when we’ll see her settled in her new home, ready for the birth of her calf.
Yesterday was a day of walking up and down hills, we left where we are staying at 10am, after the hill clouds had lifted and set off to visit families who are in need of a cow.
Our first stop was to the family of Saul Mwatika, he lives with his wife and 6 children in a small house made from mud bricks on the side of a hill a few kilometres outside of town.
Saul is a committed farmer who is struggling to feed and educate his children with the little income he is able to get from his 2 cows.
Saul has land with the potential to grow enough Napier Grass to feed at least 3 cows. We are looking to “share a cow” with Saul to help him increase his milk yield and the quality of his herd, at the moment he is only able to produce around 10 litres a day.
Our second family is Sylvester & Agnellah Mwangoji who live on an opposite hillside with their children and grandchildren. They had one cow, which gave birth two weeks ago but died the next day (even the vet didn’t know why). They are doing their best and are feeding the calf twice a day with powdered milk, it’s looks very healthy.
We have been told of a very good cow that is due to give birth within the next week, so tomorrow will go and see how she is and see if we can buy her for Sylvester and his family.
As we walk around we can see the land is very fertile and well looked after, there is a fresh water stream coming out of the mountain that the local community have tapped into to pipe water to all the people in the area. It’s amazing to see. As we climbed to see the source, we could see what a blessing the water is to the community and what can be achieved when a community works together!
As we walked, we were invited into many homes and had a chance to chat and discover some of the challenges of farming in the hills. One of our last stops was to visit a farmer who has four cows and is producing around 80 litres of milk each day, 50 litres in the morning and 30 in the afternoon. It was good to see the different styles of farming and the difference a good breed, in conjunction with plenty of water, makes to the milk yield each day.
As we walked around we also discussed the need for Bio gas, there is a growing number of cows in the area and an urgent need to protect the forests, which are an essential part of the ecosystem here but obviously people need to cook! This would be an extremely effective use of resources.
After walking several kilometres, we finally returned at around 5pm! Exhausted but invigorated and excited about the potential here.
Tomorrow we hope to bring you an update from today and some photos of our new cow!
Thanks for checking in our our journey.
Xx Glyn & Janey