PostHeaderIcon Training Centre, Trails & Trekking in Taita Hills

20-Mar-2014 15:32, Apple iPhone 5, 2.4, 4.12mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 50

Speaking of cows can take you to all sorts of places! We’d planned to expand the gene pool of the cows in Mghambonyi by finding new places to buy healthy cows. Saul, one of Zaidi’s partnering farmers took us to the place where he bought Ada, a beautiful strong Ayrshire.

The Agricultural Training Centre at Ngerenyi is an amazing place, 84 acres of fertile land, forest, a small dairy farm, accommodation, conference facilities and a huge dam teaming with beautiful birds, which supplies water for the centre and never dries up.

As we explored the centre we ate red guava, saw bananas, potatoes, maize, napier grass, avocadoes and macadamia nuts growing and then, to our amazement we passed a bush with wild strawberries and another which looked like raspberries.

Our brains began working overtime and we talked with the Principal about bringing agriculture students for a residential week, to spend a couple of days at the training centre and then time in the forest and with our partnering farmers…

21-Mar-2014 06:03, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D5000, 4.5, 28.0mm, 0.013 sec, ISO 800

Friday became a very busy day, we visited the teachers and children of Kiriwa Nursery and talked about moving into their new building ‘Bob’s Place’, which is almost complete. During April we will meet with parents, teachers and children and officially hand the new nursery over to them. The children demonstrated their skills in reading and counting, actively reciting counting rhymes and they enjoyed playing with little finger puppets too.

21-Mar-2014 17:17, FUJIFILM FinePix Z700EXR, 6.4, 6.4mm, 0.011 sec, ISO 200

Leaving the nursery, we had to rush to the forest where we were to meet two Forest Rangers. We sat on logs whilst enjoying the cool fresh air under the trees, watching Sykes monkeys inquisitively watching us and jumping around. Jonam and Gabriel, the rangers were interested to hear ideas of ventures in the forest and were very supportive of bringing children from other areas of Kenya to learn the importance of the forest, appreciate the eco-system and learn about responsibly tending and using what we have. They said, “It’s good, how can the children learn about what they have never seen.”

20-Mar-2014 16:43, Apple iPhone 5, 2.4, 4.12mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 50

We extended the meeting to a trek through the forest, this time it wasn’t the monkeys jumping around, it was us trying to avoid safari ants! (Aaah!) The little blighters find their way into your trousers and then start to bite as they go up your leg, so you start jumping around and bashing yourself as if you’ve gone mad (believe me, it’s worth it – Ngangao Forest is stunning!)

As we walked we watched colourful butterflies flying around us and listened to the calls of monkeys and exciting birds such as the Taita White Eye (a bright yellow bird, with a white ring around its eye) and an unusual thrush with enchanting birdsong. Once through the dense forest, we climbed to one of the highest places in Taita Hills, from there you could see the town of Voi (in the lowland), in the other direction a small town on the road to Taveta (a Tanzanian border town) and in the distance the magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro (actually that’s not quite true – if we’d been there at 7 in the morning we could have seen Kilimanjaro, but at 12 noon it was completely covered in clouds!) What we did see on the way down was a cave, which is the playground for porcupine at night, there were none there in the daytime but we saw their footprints from the mouth of the cave.

During the afternoon we met the Forester and the Ecosystem Conservationist for Taita-Taveta District to discuss activities in the forest. They were extremely welcoming and supportive of working together in the future to educate children, welcome visitors, protect and grow the forest!

22-Mar-2014 11:46, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D5000, 6.3, 18.0mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 200

On Saturday, with Kelvin (another partnering farmer) we visited Brookside cooling plant and were very happy to hear that the milk yield of the area is increasing. Lorries from Nairobi are collecting milk four times a week.

We visited Saul and his family who have Ada and Martha, we spent time chatting with their children and waiting for Saul and Mary to come back from the shamba (farm). The farm is set at the top of a very steep hillside and sure enough Saul and Mary came walking up that hill each carrying a 30kg sack of napier grass on their head to feed the cows – they made it look easy, but as they got closer you could see how much they were sweating, it’s hard work! The biogas system is now working and as we turned the tap you could hear the gas hissing as it released from the tank. All they need now is for a specialist to connect the system to their kitchen with piping.

22-Mar-2014 14:38, FUJIFILM FinePix Z700EXR, 4.6, 12.2mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 400

From there, we enjoyed meeting new Zaidi calves, both heifers – one from Chelsea and the other Donny. It’s great to see beautiful healthy calves. Iwi and Penny are very strong, heavily pregnant and eating loads ready to deliver in the next couple of months. After seeing the cows Kelvin took us around his shamba where they are growing green peppers, cauliflower, maize, kales, napier grass and other green leafy vegetables. Kelvin moved around the hillside with the agility of a mountain goat as we picked green peppers together.

Arriving back at Ronald and Agnellah’s house early evening, we enjoyed watching the sunset and playing with their children with bubbles. They laughed, danced around catching them and watched with awe as some climbed higher and higher until they could be seen no more!

As always the time disappeared quickly – but it was a successful few days of planning, permissions, assessing where we’re at with Zaidi and figuring out how to improve.

Thank you – the impact of your love and support is strengthening and far reaching!

21-Mar-2014 10:15, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D5000, 10.0, 18.0mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 200

22-Mar-2014 14:09, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D5000, 5.6, 48.0mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 250

22-Mar-2014 09:55, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D5000, 10.0, 18.0mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 200

21-Mar-2014 09:59, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D5000, 5.0, 18.0mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 400

22-Mar-2014 13:51, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D5000, 9.0, 18.0mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 200

PostHeaderIcon Melons & Kids!

22-Feb-2014 09:49, Panasonic DMC-S3, 3.1, 5.0mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 320

What can I say about last Saturday? It was excellent!

If you have visited Tumaini before you will have passed by Mombasa’s rubbish tip, very near to the airport.

You may have noticed the smoke rising from it or the smell as you passed by but you probably wouldn’t have noticed the families that live there. Kibarani is a very poor area of Mombasa. On one side of the main road, people live in and amongst the city’s rubbish. And on the other side, people live in a slum village; a slightly better quality of life but still miles away from what we would call a home.

This area had really caught my attention about a year and a half ago and I really wanted to do something, however small, to help the children there.

Last May myself and a group of young people from Tumaini were able to go and do a fun day in St Francis School, in the slum. It was an amazing time and we were welcomed there again last week.

We did a morning full of games, lessons, dramas and fun in a very sunny and in places very muddy field! The children had fun learning that God loves them enough to send his Son to die for them to wipe their sins away and the leaders had fun teaching it!

The best moment had to be the chant competitions. The children were split into 4 different teams and they had to think up a team name and a team chant. We then did a competition to see who could be the loudest! Wow! I think I underestimated just how loud 200 kids could be, especially when they are being encouraged by leaders who were getting so involved! At one point, after an awful lot of shouting, singing and whistling, I had managed to quiet the children down. But I couldn’t manage to quiet the leaders down at all! They were all desperate for their teams to win which the kids loved!

22-Feb-2014 06:55, Panasonic DMC-S3, 3.1, 5.0mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100

We also had a great drama which was so so funny to watch! The kids were getting really involved which was just excellent!

Afterwards we had juice, biscuits, lollipops and fruit, lots of fruit! A television crew from Denmark had come along to film a bit of what we were doing as part of a show on a certain charity which has many projects, including the school at Kibarani. They left at least 30 watermelons for the kids which was just amazing! Everyone got more than enough and we were able to leave at least 20 for the schools feeding programme this week!

The day was a huge success so thank you to all the people who willingly volunteered themselves to help out, giving their time and energy to help brighten up the lives of these gorgeous children and to present Jesus to them in a way that they’ve probably never seen before! THANK YOU GUYS!!

Written by Helen Sherrington

22-Feb-2014 07:16, Panasonic DMC-S3, 9.0, 5.0mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 100

22-Feb-2014 07:34, Panasonic DMC-S3, 3.1, 5.0mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100

22-Feb-2014 07:08, Panasonic DMC-S3, 9.0, 5.0mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 100

PostHeaderIcon Tumaini @10

18-Feb-2014 05:29, Panasonic DMC-FZ150, 4.0, 41.4mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 125

Where have we come from? When we came to Timbwani there were just 2 Nurseries (one in a wooden shelter) and unfinished Primary School. Children played in the village because they couldn’t afford to go to school. Some were 10, 11 and 12 years old and had not even been to Nursery School.

There was food for children in the village 1 day per week (Thursdays)

Then Shelly Beach Hotel closed and we lost the major source of employment and income to the village, things were looking pretty bad, but God had a plan and a plan to involve many, including you, as you are reading this!

We started by feeding 50 children on a Wednesday and from there God helped us to grow, He provided a place for children who could not go to school anywhere, provided homes and families for children who needed a loving home and people who needed a safe place to stay and employment for many needing work.

18-Feb-2014 06:25, Panasonic DMC-FZ150, 4.0, 54.7mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 100

God has been with us and made a way for us , so that we can now feed over 650 children each day and run a full education curriculum up to age 18, just because He loves us! Amazing!

This is what Helen had to say about this week:

Yesterday we had a very special celebration in school. We were celebrating Tumaini’s 10th Birthday, or ‘Tumaini @ 10’ as people called it! We had a time celebrating the fact that on the 18thFebruary 2004 Tumaini Nursery and Primary school officially opened.

10 years, when you think about it, really isn’t that long at all. I’ve been alive for 2 lots of 10 years already and it doesn’t seem that long! And yet in the last 10 years so many people’s lives have been transformed through Tumaini and in the last 10 years Tumaini has grown and grown and grown and it continues to grow and touch more and more lives with every day that goes by.

“And this was set up by 2 very ordinary people?” I hear you ask.

Well, no. No it wasn’t at all. There is no way that Glyn and Jane could achieve this, they’re amazing, yes but they’re not THAT amazing (sorry guys if you’re reading this!). Tumaini was opened and has reached 10 years because of a very faithful God. A God that loves the village of Timbwani, who loves every child and young person that attends this school, who loves each staff member and who loves them too much to see them live lives of both material and spiritual poverty. God loves these people so much that He sent Glyn and Jane, empowered them and, through their choice to be obedient every day, has blessed everything that they do abundantly.

18-Feb-2014 06:50, Panasonic DMC-FZ150, 4.5, 5.9mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100

If you look upon Glyn and Jane and see them as being heroic, perfect, wonderful and superhuman, it’s because you are seeing God through their lives and their actions.

And that gives a lot of hope to me and it should give a lot of hope to you too! Missions has nothing to do with what we humans can achieve. It has everything to do with what God can achieve if we will be radically obedient to Him. If God is calling you to mission, both inside and outside of your home country, don’t look at yourself, your own circumstances and your own abilities to answer the question ‘can I do this?’, look at God. Is God able? Yes! So if God is sending you then it means He wants to empower you. He wants to put His power in you which will allow you to do exactly what He is asking you to do. So do it! If you are radically completely obedient to God, you cannot fail because He never fails!

So anyways, preach over! We had a lovely morning celebrating Tumaini @ 10. Each section of the school brought something they had prepared especially, we had a great talk from Jane, we praised God and we planted a tree. It was great! Oh and, how could I forget?! We had ‘special lunch’ (Hassan and Dennis kept reminding us about special lunch! They were so excited!) – for those of you who don’t know; special lunch is one lunch a month in school where they serve rice, meat stew, cabbage and a banana – a HUGE and very tasty treat!

Thanks Helen!  And thank you all for being with us and sharing with us as Tumaini celebrates 10 years and looks ahead to many more…

18-Feb-2014 05:33, Panasonic DMC-FZ150, 4.0, 10.0mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100

18-Feb-2014 06:05, Panasonic DMC-FZ150, 5.0, 23.1mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100

18-Feb-2014 05:52, Panasonic DMC-FZ150, 5.6, 31.9mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100

18-Feb-2014 06:51, Panasonic DMC-FZ150, 4.0, 16.8mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 100

PostHeaderIcon Love Changes All

08-Dec-2013 14:31, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. SZ-11 , 3.0, 4.5mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 80

I feel privileged to have been a part of Victoria’s journey for the last 7 months. I have watched a mother and child move through utter loneliness and confusion to acceptance and having such a large supportive network of friends. When I first met Victoria no one had ever held her before except her mother (Penina) and when Ehud (a visitor that came from England to do some physiotherapy) randomly asked to hold Victoria she couldn’t believe it. I think this was the first moment of acceptance that they had felt. From then onwards they would come to church and ‘mama sema’ and really became part of the community here at Tumaini. It has been amazing to gradually see people getting to know them, love them and support them through what has been the most challenging 7 months.

Through prayer requests and my own personal blog you may have known Victoria was due for an operation in Nairobi at a hospital called Kijabe. She had returned home from Nairobi and was due to go back to Nairobi for the operation after 6 weeks. I was so shocked to see her as she was very weak and had lost over 2kg. Sadly the day after she arrived back home in Mombasa Victoria’s temperature rocketed so high and she was having trouble breathing – she had a huge infection. She was rushed to hospital and put on oxygen and treated, but Victoria’s body was tired of fighting and by the early morning Victoria had passed away.

It was a sad time for everyone at Tumaini, we had learnt so much about Victoria and each had played a role in her journey. We are comforted to know that Victoria is now at peace, she is pain free and this is the biggest comfort of all. We had her funeral on Saturday and it was so lovely to see the mamas from Tumaini preparing the food, our church elders leading the ceremony, and our ‘mama sema’ women stood by Penina’s side.

As a community, through knowing Victoria, many have learnt the purpose of love, the impact of love and how love can drastically change someone’s life. Though Victoria was only here for a short time, she brought us an important message that ‘love changes all’.

By Molly Fyfe

08-Dec-2013 14:31, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. SZ-11 , 3.0, 4.5mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 80

PostHeaderIcon Victoria’s Surprise!

20-Nov-2013 10:51

For those of you who have been following Victoria’s story, here is an update – If you haven’t then here is a chance to catch up before I tell you the good news!

Victoria is a two year old girl who had meningitis as a baby, because of this she has acquired brain damage and is now severely disabled. She has been wrongly diagnosed and medicated in the past and has been in and out of various hospitals more times than you could possibly count!

For parents all over the world, having a child with a disability is challenging. Hospital visits, medication, and simple tasks can be a daily struggle but to be living in a society where people with disabilities struggle to be accepted, it is demoralizing and so evident here. A disabled lady who lives in Mombasa told me she has made the conclusion that disability and poverty run parallel with each other; it is heart breaking to hear…

But I cannot describe in words to you how blessed Victoria is with such an amazing Mother. The bond between mother and child is always so naturally strong but the connection between Victoria and her Mother is nothing like I’ve seen before. Victoria’s mum is questioned daily by neighbours – “why do you bother?” some say, she told me she just laughs because they will never understand. She has tackled barriers society has put on Victoria and has so much energy and strength emotionally and physically – she is an inspiration to me and also many other parents in the area.

15-Nov-2013 15:52, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. SZ-11 , 3.0, 4.5mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 100

In my time here I have spent much time with Victoria and her mum and have really become attached with their story. In the last 4 months I have seen Education for Life supporting Victoria financially as well as providing opportunities for her to see doctors and physiotherapists that have visited from England. She has received help that otherwise she would never get.

The other evening I visited Victoria’s home and was so shocked at what I saw. It was something that any disabled child and parent in England would take for granted, but here it is something so amazing, that will change Victoria and her mum’s life, can you guess what it is?…

What I saw was a wheelchair! So why was I so surprised to see it? Most wheelchairs here are expensive, they aren’t adapted to the individual and are hard to find. But this chair was the correct size, brand new and had more or less fallen right into the hands of Victoria’s mum. How? The Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (better known here as APDK). They are an organisation that specialise in rehabilitation, employment, day care, medical advice, parental support and the making of aids for people with disabilities. They amazingly have given Victoria a wheelchair!

We just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to APDK for this gift that has changed Victoria and her mum’s life. APDK are tackling the whole perception of ‘disability is poverty’ and it is amazing to see the impact of their work. APDK are not only helping individuals like Victoria but are making an influence and changing perspectives here in Kenya – your work is so much appreciated, so once again, thank you. 

Written by Molly Fyfe

15-Nov-2013 15:47, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. SZ-11 , 3.0, 4.5mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 100

15-Nov-2013 16:14, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. SZ-11 , 3.0, 4.5mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 100
15-Nov-2013 15:47, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. SZ-11 , 3.0, 4.5mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 100

PostHeaderIcon Sports & Fun Day

11-Oct-2013 09:43, FUJIFILM FinePix Z700EXR, 8.0, 32.0mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 200

What an amazing day!

As we prepare for our National Exams, starting next week it was time to let off some steam and have some fun before the serious stuff starts! We were all split up into teams, Lion, Elephant, Buffalo and Leopard so the competiton was hot from the beginning!

So we did water racing, balloon passing, dressing up and a fantastic dance off! The dance off proved to be the best part of the day – well maybe except for staff v students basketball – thanks team for a slim but amazing victory!

Today showcased all that is good about Tumaini – thanks to everyone for a great day and well done Buffalos, the winning team on the day.

We wish all our candidates for KCSE and KCPE the best, you’ve all worked hard so we know you will do well.

Thanks Xx glyn ‘n janey

11-Oct-2013 09:17, FUJIFILM FinePix Z700EXR, 8.0, 32.0mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 200
11-Oct-2013 13:57, FUJIFILM FinePix Z700EXR, 6.4, 6.4mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 200
11-Oct-2013 09:51, FUJIFILM FinePix Z700EXR, 6.4, 6.4mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 400

PostHeaderIcon T’s @ Tumaini

09-Sep-2013 14:23, FUJIFILM FinePix Z700EXR, 4.4, 9.8mm, 0.019 sec, ISO 800

Perhaps it is the heat, or maybe the emotion that comes with writing about the incredible place and people that make up Tumaini, but it has taken me quite a few attempts to write this blog. I have given up trying to tell you everything that we have done, who we have met, and how they have blessed us. As there are 8 of us, it would take up rather a lot of space in the blogosphere. It has been clear, from the moment we landed in Nairobi, whose work we are doing here, as we sat on a bus and ’10,000 Reasons’ was blasting out of the radio. God has been blessing us in so many ways and we have been able, with our variety of skills and personalities, to bless and be blessed by those around us.

Dr Alison (as she is now affectionately known) has been busy visiting, diagnosing and treating people of all ages, as well as talking about sexual health with the young people in the secondary school and the ladies at Mama Sema. God has been using Alison in the continuing developments of the cervical screening project. She has met with doctors at the local hospital here, to discuss the progress. Alison has been blessing the young people of the school, by answering all of their questions about STIs and getting rid of the many misconceptions held by people out here.

Ehud has been blessing the Mamas and the disabled children abundantly in his work out here. He was renamed Elwood on the first morning, by Mama Julie, and it has now stuck. If you visit Tumaini, you will know that the heart of the place is in the kitchen with Mama Julie, and this is where change of hearts and attitudes has to come from, if it is to be really embedded in life here. And so, Elwood told the ladies (who were too afraid to hold one of the little girls with Cerebral Palsy) that if God made us all in His image, then that includes those with disability. He has shown these ladies how to hold Victoria and others with CP, and already we are hearing tales of them welcoming her and her mother into their group after church on Sunday.

12-Sep-2013 09:10, FUJIFILM FinePix Z700EXR, 3.9, 6.4mm, 0.026 sec, ISO 800

Others have joined the Mamas in the kitchen, including Meriel. I was told, when visiting the kitchen on Monday, that they would miss Meriel because she was a blessing to them. Meriel is, as I type, sat on the apartment balcony with Evelyn making the re-usable sanitary pads for the young ladies and women who are unable to afford disposable pads. As Jane told us earlier in the week, some of the girls’ attendance drops when their periods start, due to being unable to afford pads. It is an art, the creation of these pads, and truly a blessing from God to the local women here.

Both Caroline and Sally have been working in the nursery, in different classes. Their support for the teachers has been welcomed, and the children have enjoyed having a bit of extra help. Caroline has been providing songs and games galore for the children at break time, and has many new friends (although they’re almost 20 years younger). Sally has taught the children, and teachers, new songs and led us all at the Sunday School during our first weekend. There were so many children, with such a variety of ages, I still don’t know how she managed to differentiate so many high quality activities at the same time for the children. The children learned about the creation story, and a new song which has become one of the favourites, regardless of age. The essence of this song is God loves you and I love you, and that’s just the way it should be.

12-Sep-2013 09:15, FUJIFILM FinePix Z700EXR, 6.4, 6.4mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 400

Dave has been getting physical, with the manual labour needs out here. When we return to Lancaster, I know who I can ask to do some painting! Working with Njagi, Dave has repainted the gates of Tumaini – something which I definitely couldn’t have done. He has worked incredibly hard, painting all day long in the baking heat out here. It is another reminder that God’s blessings come in so many different ways, and that it isn’t necessarily the most immediately obvious jobs that bless the people around you. I know those in the kitchen have been grateful for his helpful nature, as he turns up to relieve his wife and gets stuck in with the washing up. This is no mean feat, as they feed at least 600 each lunch time.

Often joining Dave in the washing up is Mick, who has been following the secondary school classes here. After spending a bit of time reading through the KCSE (Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education) exam papers, Mick was able to talk to a group of the students about exam technique, as they prepare for their exams in the next few weeks. Whilst our school year is just beginning, theirs is coming to an end, and with that comes all the exams. With Mick’s presence in the classroom, it has become clear that the school could really do with some new blackboards. Hopefully, we can help them sort that out. We were also blessed with a clear and short message during the service, delivered by Mick. God has a calling for each of us, and He will bless us with the gifts required for that calling. Once again, a reminder from God: ‘there are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.’ (1 Corinthians 12: 5-6)

10-Sep-2013 13:23, Panasonic DMC-TZ8, 3.4, 5.0mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 640

 I think the best way to sum up how I feel God has moved through me, is using a line from the song mentioned previously: “for all your goodness I will keep on singing 10,000 reasons for my heart to find.” Speaking to one of the teachers about their attitude and outlook, she told me that they had no reason to be sad or angry with God, for He provides for them and is good to them. This attitude is reflected in many of the children’s joy at the simplest things. It has truly been a humbling experience to teach the primary children here. Yesterday morning, I found myself in school at 7am (at the request of the oldest primary class) so that I could continue reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to them. Although there are, as there are in schools everywhere, the odd cheeky children, the children here are of a different design to many I have taught in England. They are eager to learn and see education as an opportunity to better themselves, and God has richly blessed me by allowing me to work with them. I know, for myself, that I must endeavour to see my life with the outlook of these children once I return to the UK.

Written by Olivia, St. Thomas Church, Lancaster

14-Sep-2013 12:29, FUJIFILM FinePix S200EXR, 6.4, 7.1mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100

14-Sep-2013 10:48, FUJIFILM FinePix S200EXR, 7.1, 12.8mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100

14-Sep-2013 11:31, FUJIFILM FinePix S200EXR, 6.4, 8.7mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100

10-Sep-2013 20:58, NIKON COOLPIX L27, 3.2, 4.6mm, 0.04 sec, ISO 200

14-Sep-2013 15:42, NIKON COOLPIX L27, 3.2, 4.6mm, 0.04 sec, ISO 200

PostHeaderIcon Hannah’s Year!

27-Aug-2013 12:51

The past three years that we have been here in Tumaini we have left our daughter Hannah at home in England with my parents. Hannah is 24 years old and has Downs Syndrome; she also has a heart condition and coeliac disease. We wondered how she would cope here with the heat, the creepy crawlies, as at home she will flip if a fly or spider is spotted in her bedroom, the food as we have to be sure she has a wheat free diet, and the walking around as much of the pathways through the village and round about is uneven and rocky. Each year we have tried to justify how she would manage with all these things as we were desperate for her to share the life here with us that we love so much. Last year on the flight home we began to plan this year’s visit, and I knew God was saying that it was Hannah’s year. We spent the next 12 months planning and here we are.

Hannah enjoyed the flight and slotted into life in Tumaini like she belonged here. The children have welcomed her and flock around her to chat, it’s been amazing to watch how she has become confident with her surroundings and now goes off to the playground or the library on her own to find her friends. She has learnt the Swahili greeting words and calls out to everyone she sees in Swahili. At an evening meal organised and cooked by the Home Science students she danced the night away, some of the Mamas showed her Kenyan style dancing she followed their moves and danced until the music stopped.

Hannah has helped in the feeding programme and in the Kindergarten, she has a fantastic repertoire of songs and nursery rhymes and has enjoyed sitting and chatting and singing in the playground with the younger children and I must say I had a lump in my throat when some High School girls called at the apartment for her to go and sit and be with them. She has just come in from joining the ever growing queue of children gathering for lunch, when I peeped to see where she was she was enjoying a hand clapping game and sat chatting with a group of children from the village.

15-Aug-2013 09:15, SAMSUNG SAMSUNG ES74,ES75,ES78 / VLUU ES75,ES78 , 3.5, 4.9mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 80

Hannah has taken life at Tumaini in her stride, she made us laugh as she found a way of dealing with the persistent flies, swotter in one hand, cup of coffee in the other, her mosquito net she says it’s like a princess tent and when Juma decorated her bed with flowers she was sure it was a princess bed. Outside school we have walked through the village, and out of nowhere children have appeared calling, ‘Hannah, Hannah, how are you’ she always stops to shake hands and have a chat, our journeys take twice as long but hey it has been amazing, we have visited families and joined the ladies at Mama Sema, which is a group of ladies who meet together in the village to share the word of God and enjoy just being together.  We have taken the ferry to town which is an experience, hundreds of people and vehicles pile onto the ferry which runs back and forth many times each day between Likoni and Mombasa. We have been squashed and pushed and starred at, some people have pointed and starred at Hannah, if she caught their eye she would smile and say, “Mambo” which means ‘how are you’, some people will answer her, some just look and say nothing then Hannah would give them the answer, ‘Poa’ which means ‘I’m good’ but do you know I hope they are thinking hey it’s OK to take a child with disabilities out and about, as we walked up the ramp from the ferry a man pressed six shillings into my hand and nodded towards Hannah, we were humbled, speechless.

I am a true believer in ‘God’s timing’ and this five weeks has been God’s time for Hannah to be here. In her own way Hannah has been a little ambassador for God, I know she has blessed many and maybe changed peoples thinking towards people with disabilities. I hope that people have seen through the disability and will always remember her for just being Hannah, she certainly has made a lot of people smile these last few weeks, and whilst Glenn and I have been bitten to bits by ants and mosquitoes, Hannah has remained bite free the whole time, How great is our God.

Xx Glenn, Julie & Hannah 

07-Aug-2013 08:07, SAMSUNG SAMSUNG ES74,ES75,ES78 / VLUU ES75,ES78 , 3.5, 4.9mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 80

PostHeaderIcon Rock Your Socks Off!

19-Jul-2013 20:18, PENTAX PENTAX K-30 , 4.5, 17.0mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 6400

When Liz and Robert visited Education for Life last year with their two teenage sons Zach and Rupert, they were so impressed by the work that the charity was carrying out that they spoke to Beth and Peter who, with their two children, had visited a few years previously, and came up with a “Rock Your Socks Off” Music event.   Not only was this a chance to raise money for charity but it had the added benefit of being able to promote the various bands of talented (mainly!) youngsters and provide a really fun evening for many of our friends.

Fortunately Zach and Rupert (who is a music student and has lots of music student friends!)  had 3 bands between them, and Peter had another one. They invited 2 other teenage acoustic sets and the date was set. The event was held in our friends Max and Chris’ barn on a hot summer’s night. There was a bar, BBQ, fantastic music and 200 guests of all ages. There is nothing better than hot weather, live music, Pimms and a keg of beer. It was a fantastic night and to top it all, they raised over £1,000 for Education for Life, as well as raising the charity’s profile. Beth said “It took quite a bit of planning because none of us had done anything like this before, but it was a really fun evening and all worthwhile when we realised the money we had raised. When we visited Glyn and Jane, we wanted to do something to help and we do sponsor a child, but as often happens nothing came of our good intentions – until our friends came up with the idea of a charity gig. We are so pleased we did something and that our kids were so motivated to help at every stage. Friends of all ages were also really supportive.”

 Beth x

19-Jul-2013 18:49, PENTAX PENTAX K-30 , 5.6, 18.0mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 6400

19-Jul-2013 18:33, PENTAX PENTAX K-30 , 7.1, 12.0mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 6400

19-Jul-2013 21:47, PENTAX PENTAX K-30 , 4.5, 17.0mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 12800

19-Jul-2013 20:09, PENTAX PENTAX K-30 , 4.5, 17.0mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 3200

PostHeaderIcon Club, Calculators & Cows…

A couple of months ago, Julie (our head cook) asked me, “Where are our visitors this year? Nobody is coming?” I smiled and replied, “Oh yes, they are coming, just wait and see.”

22-Jul-2013 11:46, Canon Canon EOS 1100D, 10.0, 30.0mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100

On 9th July a team of 14 people arrived at Tumaini from Knowle Parish Church and what an amazing blessing they were! Thank you to all of you for coming, you really got stuck in straight away! Sarah Sharpe, you did a wonderful job organising the trip. A huge thank you also to Geoff, Arden School and to everyone who gave towards the fundraising for the trip, donating clothes, shoes, stationery, sports kits and of course the scientific calculators.

The team split into different areas, some to the kitchen preparing food for the lunch programme at Tumaini; some into various classes, working with students and assisting the teachers by giving one to one support and still others painting classrooms. Lower primary school children are really smiling now; their classes are clean, bright and looking great! I know it’s not easy scraping walls and painting in this heat, but thank you – it was so worth it! (At least it’s winter here!)

17-Jul-2013 15:37, FUJIFILM FinePix Z700EXR, 6.4, 6.4mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 400

During the second week, the team ran an after school club for primary school students. I think they were slightly overwhelmed by the numbers of children but everyone really enjoyed it. From all around Tumaini you could hear singing, laughter and shrieks of joy from children enjoying the activities and games. The children had lots of fun and on Friday, when the team were not around at Tumaini children could still be heard singing the songs they’d been taught.

The scientific calculators are a huge blessing to many students and they will be for many years to come. We’d had many requests from students who couldn’t afford to buy them but because we knew visitors were coming we said we’d wait to see what was brought. When the team arrived, we could not believe our eyes! We now have enough calculators for students in Tumaini to use during lessons and we were also able to give half of them away to two schools around Mgambonyi, in Taita Hills. One of the schools doesn’t yet have its own classrooms, they’re learning in borrowed rooms and the students were so happy to see what they’d been given. The Head Boy at the second school stood for a vote of thanks and said, “In fact I have never seen a calculator like this before!” Thank you! The fingers that will operate those calculators are too numerous to count.

24-Jul-2013 10:34, FUJIFILM FinePix Z700EXR, 6.4, 6.4mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 400

After the Knowle team had left, a group of 9 of us travelled for 4 days to the hills. We all stayed at Ronald and Agnellah’s house and enjoyed the fresh air (very fresh – especially early in the mornings) and stunning scenery of Taita Hills. The first evening we did an introductory warm up walk and then the next day set off with calculators and bottles of water packed in our rucksacks walking up hill and down dale to deliver the calculators. On the way we visited farmers partnering with Zaidi to check on the progress of their cows and renew contact. The Mwangoji family were not in the slightest bit fazed by inviting 10 visitors in for lunch and of course, being Taita – a cup of tea!

24-Jul-2013 10:46, JVC GZ_HD3 , 4.0, 4.0mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 100

Later in the evening, a group of local footballers came on a motorcycle to collect some kits, footballs and training equipment that had been left at Tumaini by Doncaster Rovers. It was very funny seeing 3 guys on 1 motorbike carrying huge sacks in the dark – they were so excited when they saw the quality of the football jerseys and shorts!

Simeon was very happy to meet the cows named after his grandmothers and Andrew chuckled as we demonstrated to one of the teachers of Kiriwa Nursery School how to use finger puppets knitted by his aunty.

Children, parents and teachers from Kiriwa Nursery are very excited to hear about the plan to relocate the school to a new building, named “Bob’s Place,” planned to get underway in the next couple of weeks. Bricks will be made and materials bought in preparation for the construction (initially one hall) and we hope to be ready for the children to relocate as early as September. It seems like a very short amount of time as it’s currently a maize field but we’ll get there!

Again, the next day we visited more farmers and the local market, en route to buy Penny the cow. Children of Southborough Primary School have been saving their pennies for the last year so that they too could become partners with Zaidi by providing a cow for a farmer. Kelvin is very happy, together we organised the purchase and then later the same day he went back to the farm to collect his cow. When we asked him why, he said, “I want to take her when she’s full or it will take hours to walk home as she’d stop to munch grass on the way!”

31-Jul-2013 15:38, FUJIFILM FinePix Z700EXR, 7.1, 11.0mm, 0.013 sec, ISO 200

We’re awaiting news from Ferdinand about the birth of a calf from Nafasi, his first cow due any day now and are awaiting news from Saul about the purchase of a second cow, to be called Ada.

Zaidi is a very exciting project and the community around Mgambonyi are very happy to partner with us. We have great support from the Chief and area administration team and together we’re looking forward to all that lies ahead.

Visiting Mgambonyi leaves you invigorated, enthused, excited and exhausted – look out for more!

Today Ali has harvested our first bunches of Mchicha (a spinach like vegetable) from the greenhouse. It looks very healthy and has been replenishing nutrients to the soil used for growing the tomatoes. The mchicha will be finished in a few weeks time and then Ali will prepare the ground again ready to plant tomatoes in September.

Thank you so much for all your support and thanks for checking in on us today!

SONY DSC17-Jul-2013 04:44, SONY DSLR-A100, 10.0, 20.0mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100

25-Jul-2013 15:22, JVC GZ_HD3 , 4.0, 4.0mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100

25-Jul-2013 10:36, JVC GZ_HD3 , 7.1, 9.0mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 100

23-Jul-2013 13:32, SAMSUNG SAMSUNG WB100/ SAMSUNG WB101, 3.1, 4.0mm, 0.011 sec, ISO 80