Archive for August, 2013

Hannah’s Year!

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

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

Rock Your Socks Off!

Monday, August 19th, 2013

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

Club, Calculators & Cows…

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

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