Preparation for the week’s academic trip had been done successfully. It was going to be a long stay in Naivasha hence extensive logistic preparations were necessary to ensure that the students got the best treat. Students had waited for this day with much zeal, anxiety and some mixed reactions.
The Rift valley is a “must” destination where many citizens both local and foreign would want to visit due to the spectacular nature it offers. This trip was to create an opportune moment for our students to be the local tourists they have always longed to be.
All and sundry were ready for departure in time. After a prayer we kicked off our journey with our first destination being Meli Kubwa, where breakfast was served. Some of the learners had never stepped out of Mombasa. It was quite a unique experience for them, especially as we approached the vast Savannah grasslands at Taru, which is the second largest desert in the country.
Luck was on our side for as we were crossing the Tsavo Game Park we saw a group of the mighty elephants grazing from a distance. The beautiful zebras seemed to be friendlier as they sun-bathed just beside the road side. The Taita hills could be seen from a distance with the Nyika plateau on the Tsavo East extending all the way from Manyani to Mtito Andei.
Our second stop was Mtito Andei where Lunch was served. At Mbui Nzau there was some volcanic eruption that had taken place hundreds of years ago, we studied the rocks that had cooled from the erupted Magma. At Makindu we got a chance to take photos of one of the oldest and still biggest temples in the nation as we enjoyed viewing the snowcapped Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in the continent. We also happened to stop at Kiboko where the Kenya Agricultural and Research Institution are doing irrigation in a semi-arid area. It was getting dark and this meant more learning was to take place the following day. We arrived at Naivasha safe and sound and after supper, retired to bed.
The morning was chilly, cold and mist covered the environment. We were not used to these low temperatures and that meant we had to cover ourselves with heavy clothing.
After having a finger licking breakfast we headed to Kariandusi Diatomite Mines, which is around 20km from Naivasha town. We were given a warm welcome. They took us through the process of extraction or mining of the diatoms, which is a very delicate mineral. The history behind the discovery of the mineral dated way back to the early 1900. It was amazing to know how much the mineral could do ranging from being useful as a filter media, absorbent, and as lightweight filler for rubber, paint and plastics. We were also informed that it has extraordinary health benefits such as promoting skin health, supporting heart health, and also as a natural pesticide. The unforgettable experience here was when we were taken deep into the dark and cool underground tunnels where miners pass looking for diatomite rocks for processing. The engineers there encouraged and motivated our students to work smart in school for there are lots of job opportunities in such industries.
Our next destination was Kariandusi pre-historic site not very far from Kariandusi Diatomite mines. This is an international museum where displays of excavated fossils and stone tools are found (most of the remains there were discovered by Dr. Leakey). It was mesmerizing to see how the early man used stones to hunt, dig roots and light fires by rotating a stick on a wooden board.
We then headed for Nakuru town, an upcoming city where a chunky lunch was served. After gaining strength we headed on a challenge that was new to most of us, climbing Mount Menengai to view the super caldera. We thought it was an easy affair but trust me we almost went out of strength even before we reached halfway. It is the largest Caldera in Kenya and the second largest in Africa. What caught our eyes more is that there are people who live up the mountain and we happened to have a word with some of them, they said they were used to climbing up and going down the mountain, “This is our path every day even when going to the market.” One of them told us.
We had now started adjusting to our new home and environment. This was going to be yet another busy day at the field. After breakfast we proceeded to Hellsgate another game park that houses the Olkaria 2 Geothermal Power Plant. Our questions as to how electricity could be tapped from underground steam were going to get answers. We were welcomed by one Engineer, Owino who took us through the entire magical process, from the underground steam that is used to rotate massive turbine that are connected to a generator which converts direct current to alternating current, to the step up transformer and finally to the National Grid System, from where power is transmitted via large pylons to our homes, industries, schools and hospitals. Eng. Owino who works for the re-known KENGEN COMPANY asked our students to work extra hard in school, especially in English, Mathematics, Sciences and Geography to increase their chances of pursuing programs that can lead them to work in such companies, which according to him were well paying.
Our next stop was Lake Naivasha, a fresh water lake with an area of approximately 53.67 miles square. The water from the lake is mostly used for irrigation in the flower farms near and at some distance from the lake.
The size of the lake was not strange to all of us who are used to the gigantic Indian Ocean. The Lake is home to a variety of types of wildlife, including different species of birds, which stay mostly on the shores of the lake, most of them eat fish.
We could not go without having a taste of the fresh water fish that was going to be our lunch accompanied with Ugali.
From here we spent the remaining part of the day having a study of Naivasha town as we also did some shopping at the market. We realized that it was a cosmopolitan town, dominated by the Kikuyu community; it is a town that developed mostly due to both local and international tourists.
The much awaited day was finally here. We were to go kilometres above the sea level, and this was none other than climbing Mt. Longonot, a mountain that has an interesting history of having last erupted in the 1860s to form a deep crater with a circumference of 7.2km. We were all geared up for this ultimate challenge of going round the crater, how long it would take us, we were still not sure. Early in the morning we arose, armed ourselves with heavy clothes, gloves and dust masks. As we approached the mountain, it looked minute from a far but as we got nearer the real gigantic size could be seen.
After payments we kicked off, everyone with a bottle of water in his or her bag with some carrying a snack to bite. It was roughly 9am. At this point we were already used to seeing Zebras and Giraffes, which were of good number at Longonot. Boys will always be boys; they were faster than the girls at climbing the mountain and after around 20 minutes divisions in groups started to emerge with some boys leading the group.
We could not prevent ourselves from panting, some began crawling with others wishing they could go back but we were now past halfway, the only option was to struggle and reach the peak. Our bottles ran out of water, no one was talking to the other; the challenge seemed to be more challenging but we were determined to cover the 2.7 km altitude. It took us 3 hours to reach the top of the mountain, it was a wonderful experience, and we felt great, extraordinary super heroes. Birds were flying below us, we happened to have a moment of silence and the only artificial sound we could hear was “nothing”, only the natural wind could be heard blowing, the trees below looked like small grasses, we were in a world of our own!!!
We took uncountable photos up there for it was probably going to be our first and last day to be in that place, hence memories had to be captured. After an hour’s rest, the next challenge ahead of us was going round the crater, 7.2km round. Madam Josephine together with a group of four girls were too exhausted to go round, they were to be left behind as the rest of the team embarked on this adventure.
It was a journey that seemed to have no end, at one point we were regretting why we embarked on this adventurous journey but one thing we knew is that it would go down the records of our calendar. We were not alone; we met many other people up there. Most of them were international tourists, we shared our experience with a group from Switzerland and the experience was all the same. We cannot count the number of times we stopped to get a rest; we kept ourselves busy by singing songs as we walked, viewing Buffaloes from afar also added flavour to our journey.
It took us 5 hours to go round the crater and another 1 hour to climb down the mountain. We were as clean as a new pin when going up but very dusty when we got back. The experience was unforgettable, tiresome but at the same time enjoyable.
This was going to be our last night in Naivasha and therefore we had to finish our trip in style, a camp fire was one way to do it. After supper we lit the campfire, sat round it, played indoor games and shared our experiences of Naivasha.
This morning, our day began as early as 4am when we woke up, prepared ourselves, took breakfast and left for Mombasa. As we approached Nairobi town we were able to see the Karura Forest, the Nairobi National Park and a good view of the country’s capital city, which looked ‘more organized’ than our city, Mombasa.
As we were passing the busy Jomo Kenyatta International Airport our eyes were glued to the traffic of planes in the sky as they landed at the airport and took off.
We passed through Machakos town where we did some shopping. We passed through Makueni County at Wote where we enjoyed our lunch and bought oranges. From there we travelled straight to the coastal town of Mombasa.
We arrived at Mazeras at 7:10pm where we were stuck in a long traffic jam that lasted for 6 hours before it started moving, finally arriving at Tumaini safe and sound at 1:40am.
What a week!!.
Maybe you’d think it would be quiet when 650 students and 30 teachers close school for the end of the year; and for a few days it was! But then people began beavering away, preparing for the coming year before we all took a well earned break over Christmas and the New Year.
There was tile grinding, painting, varnishing, door fixing, ceiling repairs, sewing, final accounting, building a huge wooden frame for a shade for Christmas Day…
We’d like to say a BIG thank you to Tumaini staff for working together to make this place shine and thanks to our wonderful supporters who have helped us with funding to do all this work.
We also had a special blessing ready for the New Year! We took delivery of a brand new Hyundai HD65 Truck for delivering water to the school.
Thanks again for all your support in 2015 and we look forward to an exciting year ahead.
Balloons, bunting and a bit of rain! That was the start to Saturday morning for the youth committee. The 6 of us are in charge of all youth activities: our big events, youth services and fundraisers! Recently our minds have been turning to Christmas – it’s our job to plan everything Christmassy for church this year!
We have a few ideas up our sleeves but knew that we would have to have a bit of money to make some of them work – namely the church Christmas meal! (pilau, a meal of rice, meat and spices just in case any of you were picturing a roasted Turkey with cranberry sauce!)
So before our Christmas activities can take place, we needed to raise some cash! In the last 2 weeks we’ve had 2 fundraising events which have been lots of fun!
The first was our Form 4 leavers bash. The Kenyan school year runs from January to December so our students have just finished their end of secondary exams and we provided a party to help them celebrate! Loud music, sodas, sweets and lots of dancing! It was great fun and kept the young people from the other bars which may not have been so safe for them.
But Saturday was by far the best! – We had a family fun day, about 80 kids attended and quite a few parents, we had face painting, nail painting, a dance competition, a tuck shop, other games and best of all, the trampoline! Most of the children attending had never been on a trampoline before so watching them was both hilarious and heart-warming!
A group of mums from Molly’s special needs support groups came along with their children which was lovely and really added to the day, the kids were able to have some time on the trampoline too and the mums joined in with the parent’s dance competition!
We had a great group of helpers who turned out to be a dab hand at dismantling and reassembling the trampoline as well as climbing rickety ladders to give our wedding bunting it’s second airing and much fun was had blowing up over a hundred balloons (and popping quite a few too!).
Overall, it was a wonderful day and we are very happy to say that we reached our goal for our contribution towards the meal! – Well done team and thank you for everyone who came and for those who prayed for the rain to clear!
Fresh air filled our lungs as we climbed the hills to Mgambonyi; the car windows open to equalize the air pressure. During the day it was hot and extremely dry, grass and water are scarce from a long dry season so keeping hungry cows fed and watered is giving farmers a huge challenge. Farmers have small stores of dry grass remaining and others buy bundles carried by motorbike from the lowlands.
On the first night, the stars shone brightly, the sky was clear, the air crisp. Sleep was sweet and well needed in preparation for a busy day ahead. We set off walking to one of the farms where we’d agreed to meet with all Zaidi’s partnering farmers. During the meeting we discussed the importance and benefits of full participation and ownership of the project by farmers. All farmers aired their ideas, views and concerns, which led to many constructive conversations of how to move forward to improve their supplies of food and water for cattle, improve their levels of support for each other, stretch the assistance to welcome more farmers and develop their farms, one by one.
The early hours of the next morning brought welcome rain. It felt chilly in the wind and rain on the tops of the hills. Setting off wearing four layers (including a raincoat) we walked to visit one of Zaidi’s new farmers. We set off through familiar areas but then branched off down a hillside we’d never been down before. The views were absolutely breathtaking, with low clouds passing through the valley so close; you could reach to take hold of them. We walked along a path that not even a small motorbike could pass, down and then up small, winding pathways, almost impassable; it seemed almost it’s own community.
Stella, the new farmer has two children and she cares for her aged and sick mum who, when we arrived at their house, was completely wrapped in blankets on a mattress in the sitting room. The previous day, Stella had come to our meeting, it was the first time she had really been out for three years. It was great to see the benefit that Stacey (Stella’s new cow) would bring to that whole family. We were welcomed to Stella’s brother’s home (her nearest neighbour) for a cup of tea. Leaving their home, we visited families on the way back up the hill; it made us smile. We began, just Glyn, Pastor Ronald and I but as we continued our journey we kept adding people. At one point there was a line of ten people hiking up the hill together chatting stories and shouting greetings to others digging on the hillside in their farms! It’s a privilege to receive visitors and one way of appreciating their visit is to escort them on their way. We met many new and lovely people that day!
Kiriwa at Bob’s Place is a community nursery school whose teachers, Catherine and Margaret are doing a wonderful job teaching many young children from the area. Now they have their own building they are able to operate until 3pm, giving children lunch, as well as a mid morning break for porridge. Forty-three children attend the school, with three year groups being taught together. One group of children is preparing to join Mgambonyi Primary School in January, but more are waiting to come to join this fast growing school. Parents, teachers and locals are pulling together to build two extra classrooms and parents are being encouraged to make sunbaked mud bricks for the building. It’s a great community initiative! The children’s smiles are infectious, especially wrapped in their little, bright red balaclavas. Everyone enjoys play-time, “Make a circle, a big, big circle…” the children shout and then they breathe deeply in and out, taking in lots of refreshing air and continue with lots of songs, dances and games.
Zaidi (a Swahili word meaning, ‘more’) is an Education for Life project providing farmers with dairy cows, repaid by the farmers from the sale of their milk, generating income to provide a cow for another farmer. As the project develops, we’re also able to assist farmers to buy water tanks, which enables them to keep a constant supply of water for thirsty cows. This project is in it’s third year and it’s growing, our first calves are now pregnant, placed with new farmers and expecting young ones themselves! There are twelve cows within Zaidi at the moment, but watch this space, we’re growing ;0) With a high demand for milk in Kenya, the dairy will buy as much as the farmers can produce.
Thank you for your support and prayers, Zaidi is growing; there’s even ‘more’ to come!
It’s exciting to see people passing on skills and developing responsibility!
Earlier in the year we were able to give kits containing washable sanitary pads, donated to us by ‘Days for Girls’ www.daysforgirls.org to a few of our primary school girls, but yesterday we were able to give even more, totaling 69 distributed kits. There are still more to come when we can get them here from England and even more excited young ladies eagerly waiting to receive their very own kit.
Maybe you’re wondering ‘OK, why the link with relay races?’
The first time we got the girls together to talk about ‘periods’ and adolescence, the session was led by three of us and we discussed many things, prompted by so many questions. Then, after receiving some kits from Days for Girls we got a group of fifteen girls from upper primary together, who we knew would greatly benefit from receiving the kits. There were a lot of happy smiles and words of thanks to the wonderful people who had made these kits for them. It was great!
But yesterday was really amazing! Our Deputy, Madam Florence began the session to a classroom of more than 100 primary school girls and then she handed over to four young ladies who received their kits last time. Two girls took one kit and demonstrated the uses of everything in the kit, another young girl talked about hygiene, how to keep the pads, how to soak and how to wash them and yet another girl was able to explain to her peers the importance of personal hygiene; how you can take care of yourself and the dangers you could face if you fail to look after yourself properly. It was amazing to see these young ladies sharing with their peers and each was celebrated with cheers and an enthusiastic round of applause. I was so proud of them!
Thank you ‘Days for Girls’, to all who give, to all who sew and pay for postage and to Madam Florence and our amazing team of teachers; your dedication is changing the future for so many young ladies. We know so many women who struggle with infection due to lack of proper care; as well as keeping girls in school, you’re raising a generation of healthy, happy, educated young women, ready to face their world!
God bless you and thank you!
Sunday was quite a day! If you want to know how busy it was, you can ask all my muscles! But if you want to know how great it was, you can ask a lot of smiling faces!
The day started with Sunday school, using an egg to teach about the trinity, which then led to a tasty treat for some of the kids! We also taught them a song to present in church later, they very much enjoyed making the sound effects that go along with “who’s the king of the jungle?” and we had lots of fun playing games and doing colouring too!
Sunday school over and the day had still only just started! It was time for the youth to take over the running of the church service! We have a big group of youths in our church, each with different talents and we have the opportunity to develop and use those talents each month in our youth service.
This month we decided to do something different, incorporating dramas and object lessons to bring across the message that the most important thing is to have Jesus in our hearts. We gave our leaders cakes, one of which was an iced kitchen sponge showing that it doesn’t matter what we look like on the outside, it is the inside that counts! Our drama went down a treat with lots of laughs and the children sang very well!
We were so proud of some of our younger youths, taking the roles of leader and translator for the first time! They did excellently! – Well done Mary and Ruth! And to all the other young people involved, thank you!
After the service ended it was all hands on deck to get ready for our second ‘Big Event’. As a youth group we have started doing monthly outreach events open to all youth. We had a time of dancing, tea and LOTS of mahambri (fried dough with sweet spices) followed by 4 teams competing against each other in an array of games, challenges, quizzes and team building activities mixed in with some teaching on having peace, joy and hope in our lives. We had lots of fun and definitely burned off the mahambri!
Well done Team Mwamburi, the overall winners. Together they built the strongest chair, waddled their way through the relay race, tried their hand at canoeing on the Wii, got very wet in our water game, directed their blindfolded leader around our playground and much more!
We had a wonderful day, we hope you enjoy the pictures!
Written by Helen Salim
Girls and ladies across the world have at least one thing in common; we all have to face ‘periods’. Some of us have physical challenges, others emotional changes and some suffer regularly with both.
But, have you ever considered that for some girls and ladies around the globe, this monthly ‘visit’ is more than just physical and emotional discomfort?
For many in developing countries, where household budgets just stretch to food (and very little else), buying sanitary protection every month, for every female in the house is a stretch too far. This leaves many girls housebound for up to a week, every month or almost a whole term out of a year.
Girls are working hard to reach their dreams and many are achieving great things; just imagine what they can do, given that extra time to study and continue with life…
This is why ‘Days for Girls’ are working across the world sewing and putting together their amazing kits to give girls back their days! Recently we were sent 100 kits each comprising 2 pairs of panties, a face towel, a bar of soap, 2 zip lock plastic bags and 2 washable base sanitary pads with 8 changeable inserts, all brightly coloured with beautifully soft brushed cotton. The inserts are an inspired idea, they are square, they fold into a rectangular shape to insert into the pad and for heavier days you can easily add another 1 or 2, as needed. And, the great thing is you can dry them discreetly in the sun because they just look like a beautiful handkerchief! Amazing!
Fifteen girls in primary school were chosen to be the first to sample these wonderful kits and they received them with massive smiles! We told the girls to tell their friends how great they are; they’ll be receiving theirs in a few months time, as we are able to get the rest of the kits out to Tumaini.
Thank you so much ‘Days for Girls’ you are wonderful! What you are giving, no one can repay, but your investment in time and talent gives girls all over the world the time they need to reach for their dreams!
Check out Days for Girls website www.daysforgirls.org
At the end of last year we received a grant to help us purchase equipment for our children with special needs. Dennis and Molly had a lot of fun going out to buy some items here; some in Nairobi and others were brought from England.
We were very excited to be able to buy 2 iPads, a play tent, a toy kitchen with plastic fruit and other foods, a ball pool and a trampoline (and we’re still shopping)
Children were so excited as they got into the ball pool, Ambrose a young boy with cerebral palsy smiled as he experienced the sensation of the squidgy balls around his body and Harmony and Julius had a blast ;0) Julius has progressed through nursery and primary school with the same class mates and socially he is now a very different young boy. He has become independent, confident within familiar surroundings and able to converse a little in English too. He has now reached the final class of primary school and we are looking for ways to engage him around the school in the future, although we’re sure we’ll have a battle on our hands as his classmates move up to high school at the beginning of next year!
There are so many children with physical disabilities who are already starting to benefit from the unit here but we are looking forward to being of greater help to the community in the future. At the moment, wherever we have a space we’re setting up our equipment as we wait for our ‘Special Place’ to be released to us.
One of the young lads Helen works with has complex issues; it’s a challenge to establish the root cause of his difficulties in learning. One day Helen took him to the trampoline and having never seen one before he was a little reluctant, but followed Helen in climbing through the safety net. When I walked into the room I saw them jumping and the smile on his face was infectious as he bounced even trying seat drops. A light was lit and a hurdle jumped as Helen saw this young boy relax and after a few minutes, even show her things to try.
Whilst visiting Tumaini, Stuart and Melanie Knight gave us a game called Jogball. After explaining the game to Jane Fridah (our new SNE teacher) we taught Purity, Elvis and Ezekiel how to play. Anyone in the room had to be very careful with their head as the little wooden bats were waving everywhere!
We’re in very early stages of this work, but already we’re beginning to see the impact this equipment is going to have in awakening the senses that were lying dormant in some children who were floundering in the classroom.
Thank you #happykids
Parent’s Day is a great event! We enjoyed expressive poetry from Kasabi in Class 4, songs and dances from students and of course nursery graduation, which is always cute!
When we woke in the morning and saw the clouds, we wondered if it would be possible to hold the event outside but later it ‘seemed’ to clear, so we thought we were safe. We began by raising the flag and singing the national anthem, which led to a time of presentations from nursery students who sang wonderfully and recited poems so clearly in English.
Next came primary students with songs, class 4 sang with enthusiasm, assisted by their microphone bearers and class 7 gave us a real treat with an energetic dance routine. I wish I’d known it was coming, Chege did some amazing summersaults as part of the routine and Peter, some really cool dancing ;0) unfortunately I missed those moments on camera, but believe me, it was great!
The graduation followed and then prizes for achievements from nursery all the way through to high school. When the time came to give announcements to parents the clouds darkened and people looked worried and then the heavens opened. The Head Teacher of primary and Principal of high school did really well to hold it together, we were all huddled together under umbrellas, trees and covered walkways around the parade ground – it was quite cosy and a good chance to chat to a few parents who we’d not seen for ages as we huddled under umbrellas together.
I would like to say a huge thank you to all staff, teachers you’ve worked very hard and support staff you’re doing a wonderful job, together we are raising some great children. Parents, thank you for the support you give to your children and to the school and to ALL sponsors, THANK YOU! Without your continued help and support so many families would struggle to educate their children. Our children are generally healthy because of the meals they eat here and their minds are open and eager to learn.
Do you recognise this nurse?
Many people who have visited Tumaini over the last 10 years will have met Emily Nyongesa. She was raised for several years by Charles and Mary (the house parents in the children’s home) and was sponsored through Tumaini Primary and High School.
You would always find Emily caring for and carrying young children around. She was interested, from quite a young age, in healthcare and childcare and it was obvious to many that Emily’s niche was to be in a caring profession.
Our shy, unassuming young girl has become a knowledgeable, confident young lady. Emily worked hard at school and passed her national exams well, but now she has even more dedication to study; she’s got her eye on her goals and you can see she absolutely loves what she’s doing. A great nurse in the making who will touch and change many people’s lives in the future!
Emily is training at the Presbyterian University of East Africa, she’s about to complete her second year and will qualify at the end of 2015/early 2016.
When she came home this week, Emily was able to identify a problem with one of her ‘brothers’ and being confident in her training, was able to ensure that he received the right treatment.
Thank you Charles and Mary for your dedication to the children in your care – their success is your success! And thank you to everyone who gave and is giving Emily the support she needs to reach for her dreams; you too are life-changers!
Well done Emily – we’re so proud of you! With your heart of compassion, your enthusiasm and determination to succeed you will change the lives of many people.