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.
Do you remember back in June we planted carrots? Well to be more accurate Said planted them as part of his special needs education, well it’s time to harvest and the carrots are excellent – yes I had some in my supper, sooo tasty! To help Said and as part of hands on education he has been selling the carrots around school for 1/- each. He’s turning out to be quite the farmer and businessman. Great work team… Thanks Glyn
It’s back to school time again for our third and final term of this academic year, so what have we been up to for the last three weeks that school has been closed?
Well, there’s been a holiday club, special needs day, a wedding, home visits, a women’s conference, maintenance work and a visit to the hills. How do you do all that? I hear you ask – with a lot of help!
Holiday Club was run by Compassion International; it was great to see children from a little further afield being able to benefit from our amazing facilities. When we asked why they wanted to come to Tumaini, they said, “so our kids can play on the playground” – thanks Emmanuel Foundation.
Wedding – check out our facebook page for photos of Dennis and Molly. It was great to see one of our home grown young men live out his faith, wait and commit to a life long marriage – we’re proud of you Dennis. Molly thank you for giving your life and your love to missions.
I was honoured to be able to visit Jimmy in his new one roomed house that people in the church have helped him to rent as he makes a commitment to walk in faith and put his past behind him. Jimmy reminds me of why we’re here!
What a week this week! Twenty five ladies gathered together to receive teaching from three amazing ladies from Taita Hills. The days started with “Sweating in the Spirit” great music and stretching – I’m not sure if some ladies were trying to avoid the first session or were just on “African Time”. After sweating in the spirit the teaching started and wow! When these ladies start, they give it some welly. My office is 3 classrooms away and it’s like I was part of the class. What a great week of praise and teaching, thank you Agnellah, Fenny and Mercy.
Thanks to help from Footsteps International we have been able to do loads of much needed work around the school. We’ve had a new water tower built and walls plastered and painted. Thanks to many people around Sleaford and a church in Ilkley, we have been able to decorate and furnish the Special Needs Resource room, move our Primary Teachers around, renovate their staff room and build an amazing new table – the kids loved helping with that too.
We also managed to squeeze in a trip to Taita Hills and buy a new cow, Daisie Lee. More to follow on her next week…
Thank you for your help and prayers.
Xx Glyn & Jane