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.”
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!)
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.
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!
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!”
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!