So, we’ve been back in sunny Nairobi for just over 2 weeks now, and it feels like it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster! So much has happened in so short a space of time.
This blog will now be our main communication, as we really weren’t the best at writing newsletters :O) We can hopefully update this far more often with smaller extracts and photos (as soon as I’ve worked out how to add them!?).
Thankfully we are now in our own place, and it is so nice to have a base after 5 months of living out of a suitcase. It is a perfect home for us – safe, secure, cheap and beautiful! We couldn’t ask for more! We even get the benefits of pet dogs without having to pay for them (as others who live on the compound have them and they roam around), plus a pet monkey – well not quite a pet, but a regular visitor!
For those of you who don’t know, Mark now has his work permit/visa and I am still waiting for my dependancy one to come through. Hopefully this will be anytime now, but who knows! I renewed my tourist one when we got back from UK over christmas, so I have until March 13th until this one runs out.
Since being back our biggest challenge has been witnessing various cultural differences that to us just seem so disturbing… for us it has been a bit of an awakening that we are living in a completely different country and culture, and that we need to not get complacent about this. For example, dealing with police over an accident that wasn’t our fault but being threatened with charges of reckless driving, as the person who reports the accident/crime is usually the guilty one; being pulled over in the car by police for making an illegal manoeuvre, which was going through a GREEN light; seeing the body of a man who had been beaten and then burnt to death by the local mob for being a ‘thief’, and then hearing that this is normal and that no-one even batted an eye lid; that just down the road from us police had pulled over a car of 3 ‘suspects’ during rush hour, got them face down on the floor in the road and then shot them all in the head in front of hundreds of witnesses (you may have seen this one on BBC news)… and the list goes on! The combination of these experiences have made us less settled than we would have liked to have been, and have also made me, in particular, a little paranoid as I travel around – please pray for real peace for us as we continue (I’m sure) to be shocked by all these cultural diff. but not let it get to be the focus!
What’s new at Heshima?
Okay, so whilst we were home for Christmas Heshima celebrated the opening ceremony of the new land that has recently been purchased. The plans for the new school that will go on this land are soooo exciting. The new school will be able to serve up to 70 children with special educational needs, as well as giving a job to each of the mums. At present we are only able to take 14 children and the need is huge – so you can see the benefit of this project. The site will finally have a two storey building with classrooms, multi sensory rooms, therapy rooms etc, including indoor bathrooms!! Building on the site will start very shortly! We have recently lost two of our children due to them moving areas with their families, but it didn’t take long for their places to be filled. We now have a new boy called ‘Annlove’, and a little girl called ‘Milka’. Both are settling into life at Heshima well. ‘Dignity Designs’ (the jewellery micro finance that gives the mum’s a job) is undergoing some exciting changes. Due to popular and growing demand, we have spent the past week doing a stock check, then photographing all the types of jewellery designs we have in order to have a fully up to date online catalogue that people can browse and order from. The website is also being given a revamp at the moment if you want to check it out.. www.heshima.org I will let you know when the online catalogue is ready for launch.
What’s happening at Turning Point (Kibera)?
Turning Point runs projects for street children in two villages within Kibera: Mashimoni and Kianda. They also have a Microfinance programme for parents and a farm project upcountry, if you want more information on the project check it out on www.tptrust.org Jon and Jo Parsons, the directors of the project, are now back from a well earned break and it has been great to chat a little bit with them about the project. They have been particularly concerned about one of their boys, Edwin, who is approx 15 yrs old and who has made very little progress in the primary education he has received so far. Over the next few weeks on a Monday morning I will work with Edwin, and carry out some assessments to see if we can help support him better in his education. We have also been discussing the possibility of opening up the ‘Creative room’ twice a week instead of once, so the pre school children within the project can experience learning through creative means rather than just rote.
News on Mahali Pa Watoto
Whilst at home I was explaining that this was a project for ‘the future…’ well the future seems to be arriving faster than expected :o) A week ago, a team from the UK was here including one of the directors of Mahali, and a headteacher from a primary school in England. She (the headteacher) did a great job of working with the staff, praising the work they are already doing, showing some demonstration lessons and giving a few pointers for further improvements. Just before she left we had a meeting and she is very keen for me to begin going in regulary to give further assistance and ensure that the ideas/resources she has left them with are being used. I had been praying that God would guide clearly on when the right time to get involved in this project would be – I’d say that’s pretty clear!! ;o)
Women’s Prison Ministry?
At the moment, due to time restrictions as I’m sure you can imagine, I have decided that I am not going to be able to join the weekly visits to Langata Women’s Prison. The place and ministry is still very much on my heart, and is extremely worthwhile, but for the time being, I will just let the team continue without me. The pastor of the vineyard church we go to here recently said ‘Why invest your time in doing jobs that anyone else can do, whilst no one is doing the jobs that only you can do??’ Something that stayed with me, and as the need for teaching and special needs teaching increases I guess something has to go!
What’s new at Vineyard church?
A week ago we had a great meeting with Doug (the pastor), and worked out an action plan, as such, in regards to outreach to the ex-pat/white settlers community. We will be organising a number of community events in not too distant future, including a Salsa night and cheese & wine tasting, with an Alpha course commencing in early May. We also have a number of other committments within the church, e.g. co-ordinating sunday serving teams, and I am also getting involved in the Youth ministry. We are also already beginning to think about a team that will be coming out to us from Cardiff Vineyard Church around May time, and will be planning this time over the next few weeks/months. In order to get all this done, we have committed to both working every Friday.
Mark will blog shortly with more info on the stuff he’s been getting stuck into, and in future there will be much shorter, prettier (including pics) and hopefully regular blogs.
Thank you all for your continued prayers, we really do appreciate it.
Galatians 6: 9&10 ‘ Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…’