Well, I had the great pleasure of (in my imagination) ‘sitting next’ to my dear friend Philemon, the Manager, this week, having a chat just like the old days! He was in his KC office informing me of the latest news – good and bad and even sad perhaps.
The sad/bad is that Covid has hit very hard in Kenya and right now in Western Kenya, and in Kisumu! Positive news is that Philemon has had his second vaccination, mainly as he is curate at the Cathedral in Kisumu. Not because he is dealing with children! Sadly, he told me people are “dropping like flies”. No vaccine now, lack of oxygen etc. We are so blessed here in UK, however much we complain.
My dear friend Joanne in Kisumu, who I used to work with, reiterated this week that she has returned to her house, where she feels safer. No vaccine for her sadly.
Many changes for ‘Homes’ in Kenya
The government recently empowered a long-standing law that ‘Homes’ were to be closed, ‘no longer needed’, without perhaps realising the consequences of sending children home to poverty, extended family etc. It just may not work! As Phil said, “this creates more children on the streets and Kisumu has many more already”. No doubt he has got to know them!
I have seen his giftings in the past, caring for these vulnerable children – they know each other by name and they love him! Thankfully, only a few ‘Homes’ to date have been closed and naturally a well-run ‘Home’ like KC, was not chosen – with the likelihood that those being sent home would still be cared for as community family. ‘Homes’ that are run as family based, with a Mama in charge of each small house, are not affected.
Unreachable children in their rural homes, are provided with food parcels and are checked on regularly. 29 of those living nearby, are continuing thankfully, at their Tiengre Primary School and are being fed a daily lunch at KC. At least the matrons can keep a check on them.
KC staff are being kept busy by feeding their KC children and others, who the Headmistress has advised might go hungry due to extreme poverty. Now there are 80-100 children being fed daily at the ‘Home’. No doubt there could be many more that need a daily meal.
One child, our dear Lillian, with the swollen eye due to Neurofibromatosis, lives near the KC Home with Mum and consequently is one of those being fed and cared for by Matron, Pamela. In recent times Pamela has escorted Lilian to Nairobi for medical care and operations. When Covid subsides, Lilian will return to Nairobi for further advice and care. She will clearly require further operations to improve this condition, in the near future.
The Kisumu team and UK trustees are together considering the way forward as they go into ‘a new season’ and progress through the best ways to utilise this well-built ’Home’. Consideration is being given into accommodation as a Christian guest house; IT training, plus other training and helping children who are in desperate need of protection, whether able or disabled. The Council was keen for KC to take in children at short notice who were in trouble or abused etc for short term support. The ‘Home’ would give excellent support doing this with the very caring matrons.
Meanwhile, self-sufficiency is on the agenda! There is now success in crop growing not only in the poly tunnel but also on the Kemri land not far away. So, there are ‘greens’ of various sorts to help feed the many children that come into the Home. A very healthy diet for all, certainly no fast food here!
Finally, if you would like to know more – the Annual Kisumu Review will be held live at St Luke’s on the 9th October, God willing and keeping Covid at bay. It will start with a Welcome at 2pm, with refreshments and then commence at 2.30pm. Please pray for real progress to be made meantime, for an exciting ‘new season’ to take place at Kisumu Children, including changing lives of even more vulnerable children in the community.