In Kenya, and especially in rural areas, I always enjoyed how most people would grow crops no matter how small or large their land was. One time Lox and I offered to plant maize for his mum who lived in Nairobi at the time. We travelled 7-8 hours to her patch of land and got to work. I was thoroughly enjoying having a good dig when I looked up and noticed about 30 or more people were thoroughly entertained by watching a white girl ploughing soil! It was quite an occurrence to see a white person in that area, never mind a white person getting her hands dirty and working up a sweat! With his usual ingenuity, Lox soon had 30+ amused people helping out and by lunch time the ground was ploughed and maize was planted!
This year I decided to give gardening a go for the first time! Back before the days of lockdown, Lox and I dug up the soil and planted all kinds of seeds in pots. We carefully nurtured them and watched them grow. Some had to come inside so that they'd be warm enough to start growing. Some didn't sprout. Others went straight into the soil and pretty much fended for themselves. It's been quite exciting to watch them grow and take over our garden!
This week has been especially exciting as I decided to harvest our potatoes. I wasn't 100% sure whether or not they were ready but it was starting to become an issue of me vs the slugs and seeing as I wasn't keen to put down poison I went for it and harvested them. All the while Josiea was helping out by harvesting worms and caterpillars-there's nothing like mud and wriggly worms to keep a little boy entertained for an afternoon!
While I was harvesting I noticed a number of weeds which had been thriving under the pleasant conditions: plenty of sunlight, regular watering and the occasional dose of plant food. What more could they want!? And it got me thinking. I had put a lot of effort into growing my veggies and making sure they had what they needed to grow and thrive; and some did thrive while others didn't even sprout. But I hadn't sown these weeds. I didn't bring them into my house so that they could germinate, I didn't deliberately water them or give them food and yet they grew with no problems!
It made me think of how true this is in life too. There's certain things I feel like I'm constantly trying to grow and cultivate like love and patience which I seem to have to intentionally work on and sometimes it's really hard work. And meanwhile there's things which I've not deliberately planted like anger and discontentment, which thrive if left unchecked. It's such a pain in the bum! And I know I'm far from the first to get frustrated with this struggle as I read Paul's words in Romans 7:15 (NLT):
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate
Sometimes I get so frustrated with it all that I wonder what is even the point of trying!? But then I remember that it's not all up to me anyway. I'm so thankful that God's grace meets me at the point of my failures and shortcoming. If my life were a garden, I think Jesus would be there helping out & watering all the good stuff helping me to become more like him. He doesn't leave me to struggle alone, He's here with me to help me grow. And so I can keep trying and giving it my best shot because I know with God on my side and I will be victorious! I feel like one of my life mottos sums it up pretty well:
Do your best & let God do the rest
One wise lady once said to me that beauty when your young is a matter of chance but the older you get you may or may not become more beautiful depending on what you nurture in your life. If you do keep intentionally nurturing patience and kindness and good things those will come through & make you so beautiful. Unfortunately if you decide to allow anger or resentment to grow they will also show through and no matter how beautiful you are physically, it will fade if you leave those things unchecked.
So let me remind you of what I so often have to remind myself: keep going, keep trying, keep being the best you that you can be. Don't be to tough on yourself or those around you, we all fail. Apologise, forgive, and move forward. Get back up, try again and choose to nurture those good things today so that at the end of your days your life will be like a beautiful harvest!
One thing I weirdly enjoyed when I lived in Kenya was when we had power cuts. Yes, it could be frustrating when I was in the middle of something (like baking a cake in my electric oven) but most of the time I loved the simplicity that came with it. We would take longer to cook and longer to enjoy the food. Lox would tell stories about how him and his brothers would sit around and tell jokes by the light of an oil lamp or catch fire flies and put them in a jar to get a bit of light... And then release them before going to bed... but that the occasional one would fly back into the hut and they would see it flying about the place over the next few nights. I loved how the stars would be so much clearer in a remote village which had limited electricity and how the sounds of nature sang all around. And most of all, I loved how these were the moments to just be with people. To listen and be heard. To laugh or cry and have a good old heart to heart. I loved life which wasn't dependent on technology and being able to hold a conversation without glancing at my phone.
Then came the great lockdown of 2020. Like most people I have to admit that technology has been a life saver. To be honest, I hadn't even heard of Zoom before this lockdown but now I feel like I'm a zoom pro! Through technology I've been able to keep in touch with family and catch up with friends. I've been able to get food delivered and clothes for my kids... A job which I planned to do once I was on maternity leave... Which began on the first day of lockdown! And, like most other people with kids, I've been able to get some time to get something done or occasionally even steal a moment for myself by plonking my son in front of a cartoon while my baby naps.
But here's what I've discovered... The days when we've all been glued to our screens seem to be the least fulfilling days. Yes, they are often also the grey, boring, rainy days when I'm not expecting much to happen; but if I allow myself to be on Facebook and Pinterest and to watch cartoons the whole day then by the end of the day I just feel this kind of void within me and a bigger need for real human interaction or to do something productive and at the very end of the day I don't sleep well either... Does this happen to anyone else too!?
And so, even though technology has been a big help I can't help but wonder if it really is as helpful as it seems. As someone who works with young people I see first hand how people can get addicted to technology. At some point last year I played a game with the young people I work with called the minute game. It's simple: everyone closes their eyes except the person who's watching the time. That person says go and when the others think they've reached 1 minute they quietly put their hand up. The person who puts their hand up closest to the minute mark wins. Some young people couldn't keep their eyes closed because they needed to check their phone. They couldn't leave it for whole minute.
I may not be as bad as this but all too often I find my eyes glancing at my phone in the middle of a conversation and 2 minutes later I have no idea what was just said. Or I miss something my son says and just say yes even though i have no idea what he's just asked because I was looking at a funny post of Facebook. Or I go to bed nice and early and an hour later I'm still browsing on my phone.
Technology should be a help not a hindrance and I've made up my mind that I need to take charge of it instead of allowing it to be in charge of me. There's a few things I'm starting to do to help me:
So those are my top tips to taking charge of technology. What are yours? Comment below, I'd love to hear what works for you too 🙂
Written by Lox:
For the past couple of months the world has had a big pandemic surprise, COVID-19. Africa hasn't been spared and with poor medical facilities, few medical resources and those that are there being unaffordable to many, many communities in Africa have either suffered directly or indirectly.
Love Your Neighbour works in a remote area of Kilifi (Bungu area)) in coastal Kenya, one area where Covid-19 has hit the most. Kilifi, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kwale came under lock down after cases of Corona were reported in those areas.
Kilifi depends on most of its business from outside the county. With lock down it has been hard for most people to travel for medical needs, trade or to visit family and this has caused mental, physical and social health and wellbeing effects.
WHO has advised ways which people can combat Covid-19:
1. Washing hands using soap and water
2. Using masks
3. Social distancing
4. Anyone showing symptoms to quickly report them to medical authorities
Bungu community has historically had a major water problem. Most people have to walk a distance in search of water, except for those who have a family well or the few who are able to buy water. Therefore even the simple action of washing hands has been a major problem in fighting this pandemic.
As an organisation we partnered with Sadiki Foundation to provide hand washing stations with clean water and soap in different places in the village. We placed most of these in more populated areas which are likely to be congested. At first they were a bit of a novelty and were attracting small crowds of keen hand washers which defeated the point! But now they are being used correctly and not only preventing Corona but also other sicknesses which are related to poor hand hygiene.
The government of Kenya has made it compulsory to wear masks out in the public or else incur a penalty. Most people can't afford masks (and definitely can't afford the fine) so some of the local women who have been training in tailoring at Kivuli Kijijini ventured into making over 500 masks for the community! These were a big blessing to all who received them and because they are made of fabric they can be washed and re-used.
Most people with disabilities are finding it hard during this time due to the social distance rule. Many people with disabilities depend on their family or friends to move them from one place to another as they cant afford mobility equipment.
In May a shipping container full of mobility equipment arrived at the Centre. Although most of the equipment will not be distributed until after this pandemic, over the last month Love Your Neighbour has been able to give resources to some of the most needy in the surrounding community. One recipient had been trying to raise funds for a wheelchair for over 2 years but still didn't have enough money to buy one and so it was very emotional for them to receive the equipment they needed to be a little more independent.
We are so grateful for the things which we've been able to do during this time and yet we're aware that there's a lot more help needed and that the effect of this pandemic are going to be felt for some time to come in needy areas such as Kilifi. We would value your prayers and financial support during this time as we seek to love our neighbours around Kivuli Kijijini as best as we can. For more info on how you can help, please see our how to help page.
As for now, stay safe and be blessed
This story starts in 2018. We had spent a few weeks in Kenya building the community centre & it was now our last day before starting our journeys home. We wanted to celebrate what had happened so far with the team & the community & so we invited everyone for a party. People gathered & among them was a young man in a tatty old wheel chair which was worn to the rims, Christopher. Christopher had made an appearance every day since we'd started working on the community centre, he spoke good English & was very sociable. Everyone took a liking to him but there was one team member, Maria, who decided she couldn't leave knowing she could have made a difference & so she did. Amongst the excitement & celebrations she took centre stage & presented Christopher with a brand new wheel chair-it was such a tear-jerking moment for us as well as the community, a moment which will always be a warm memory when we remember that trip.
Fast forward to Summer 2019 & Lox was introduced to someone else who wanted to make a difference in Kenya, a man called Jim. Jim had been to Kenya in the past, knows about the struggles of people with disabilities & now runs a care farm. After meeting with Lox he bought a shipping container & filled it with mobility equipment. Before long Lox got a call to say the container was full & ready to go, he just needed to do some paper work... I wish i could say the paper work went as smoothly as the filling of the container but seeing as it was all new to us it was a gruelling amount of work. As soon as Lox had ticked one box it seemed like another 10 appeared. Nevertheless Lox kept at it day after day until finally everything was in place & the container was ready to be shipped.
The container was picked up in January & taken to Bristol to be shipped to Kenya & then all we could do was wait & pray that it would arrive safely (with no clue what 2020 had in store for us all!). It was due to arrive in February & Lox hoped to distribute the equipment on his trip in April... But instead in February Lox discovered it had been left in Oman! It was sent again to Kenya & as time passed we wandered where it could be & if Covid-19 would prevent it from arriving for the time being. It finally did arrive but instead of taking it to Kilifi (which is about an hour away from the port of Mombassa), it was taken to Nairobi. With some more following up it was sent back... But went straight past Kilifi! After another 180 degree turn it was finally on the right track but then got stuck in the mud for a day. It then made it's way to Kivuli Kijijini only to get stuck again at our enterance! The community around chipped in to help & now we can finally report that the container & equipment have safely arrived ready to bless those, like Christopher, who so desperately need them.
Part 1: written on the morning of Monday 20th April 2020:
We're all in a strange season right now as we watch Covid-19 sweep across the globe. For some, it has brought devastation & loss. For others, financial uncertainty & poverty. For some, life has become busier as they serve on the frontlines in keeping countries running while for others life has quietened right down & they are unsure of what to do with themselves.
Over these last 2 weeks, Lox and a team of volunteers were supposed to be in Kenya putting in a water harnessing system at our community centre, Kivuli Kijijini, distributing mobility equipment & serving the community. But all of those plans came to a sudden stand still when Kenya understandably shut it's borders to countries which had cases of the virus in order to protect it's people. So, Lox is home, working night shifts; Joseia is home all day every day full of curiosity and energy; and I'm home and quickly approaching my due date. I have to admit, it's a really strange time to be heavily pregnant. I don't have the usual options when it comes to birth choices and there's little I can do to distract myself from thinking 'will today be the day?'! Even as I look forward to our little girl's arrival, it's odd to think that cuddles with her will be exclusively for Lox, Joseia and I until the lock down is lifted and that she won't get to meet many of the people who are keenly awaiting her arrival until she's at least a few weeks old.
Each day I'm living in a weird tension of knowing that today could be the day that she arrives but that it might not be. Which is what drew me to write today as it highlights to me a different tension, an eternal one. Yesterday as I tuned into Church online I was reminded that every day I live is closer to my last. It's a scary thought. I'll never live this day again. And I have one less day to live on planet earth. Every day my baby girl has one less day in my womb.
Lox and I were chatting about it over dinner last night, if she could think such thoughts (maybe she can, who knows!?), I wonder if she'd think about what life will be like on the other side? If there is life outside the womb? If there's a mum, dad and family who can't wait to meet her and shower her with love? I wonder if she'd be nervous or scared of exiting the familiar warm place where she is right now? Or if she'd feel ready and excited?
During this time especially, I believe a lot of people are thinking of eternity and whether there is life after death. Does it exist? What will it be like? How can I believe it when I can't see it? More people have googled 'prayer' over these last few weeks than in the last 5 years! Prayer resources provided by movements like 24-7 prayer and Thy Kingdom Come are being used more than ever before. People are praying & people are thinking about their eternal destiny.
At a time like this, I'm so thankful that I have faith in Jesus. Whether today is my last day or I live to be 120, I know that there is a loving Father waiting to welcome me into heaven. I'm also thankful that there is an open invitation to everyone to put their faith in Jesus and to be assured of eternal life. The Bible puts it this way:
So here I am in this tension. Wondering each & every day whether this will be the day I get to see my baby girl. It's also helping me to make the most of everything I do have right now. I'm going to bed at a sensible time and getting a healthy amount of sleep while I can. I'm enjoying hot cups of tea. I'm spending lots of time with Joseia and Lox. I'm taking time to pray, to read my Bible and to crochet. I know that before long my nights will be disturbed; I won't be able to give Joseia as much attention and a hot cup of tea or a quiet moment with God will be a lot more challenging so I'm making the most of it.
Which brings my thoughts back again to my numbered days on earth. Each day we have is an opportunity that we'll never have again. How can I make a difference today? Can I bring a smile to someone's face? Can I take some time to pray? Can I give of my time, energy or resources in a way that will bless someone? I can't do everything, but I can do something & I've been challenged lately to do more of those 'somethings' which sometimes seem small and insignificant but can actually bless others in ways we don't know. Joseia and I have painted cards and sent them to people. We've checked on neighbours and even found out the names of some that we didn't know well. I've called people to see how their doing. I'm writing this blog right now because some of these thoughts going around my head might resonate with you and give you the hope or inspiration you need today.
Part 2: written on Wed 29th April 2020
So, guess what happened on Monday the 20th April as i was about to get ready for bed? My little girl arrived! It all happened so quickly that I didn't even manage to do the few things I'd thought I would when labour pains started... In fact we didn't even make it to the hospital but that's a story for another day! All in all, I was glad that I was mostly prepared for little Roxy's arrival & even more glad that Roxy & I were safe & healthy.
I've been thinking about it all over this last week & it highlighted to me even more the importance of being ready for my eternal destiny which I believe I can only do by putting my faith in Jesus. I have no idea which day will be my last but i want to try my best to make every day count & to be ready to meet my maker when my time comes.
So, let me leave you with these questions to have a think about:
1. What do you think about life after death?
2. Have you spent time to think about your eternal destiny? If not when & how can you do this?
3. In what areas of your life do you need to be more purposeful about making a positive difference?
If you have any questions & would like to know more from a Christian perspective, feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
And without further ado, it would be unfair of me to say goodbye without some pics of the newest member of the Busisa family...
The last four weeks have been a whirlwind of Kenyan chaos & adventure!
When we left Wales 4 weeks ago we thought it was going to be manic knowing that we would be helping out with opening wells & setting up a goat bank on the West side of Kenya (see my last blog to read all about it); preparing everything for a UK Young Life team to come & help us build on the East side of Kenya near the coast & trying to catch up with friends in Nairobi in between-it definitely met our expectations!! But it was so worth it!
So, here's how things went...
Friends from around Kenya & a team from Uganda were awesome enough to come & help out with building as well as Maria & Lionece who came to Kenya with us a couple of weeks before we started. We all made our way to the school that was accommodating us & started to get to know one another. Meanwhile the UK team took 2 days to travel from Pembrokeshire all the way to our piece of land. After getting their arrival times confused they missed the (clean & efficient) train & had to take the (crazy) night bus to the coast. Knowing they'd be stinky, tired & hungry I arranged breakfast to be ready for them & let everyone know they could rest at the school for the morning & we'd all go to the plot in the afternoon. However after breakfast & a bucket 'shower' everyone just wanted to get to the land & start digging-what champs! And so the work began...here's a few pics of what we started with.
By day 3 we had done lots of digging but the land still wasn't even. But we had bigger problems than that: the 2 shipping containers which were going to be a major part of the building weren't close enough to where they needed to be & they were the wrong way around: on their sides. The lorry that had delivered them a week earlier didn't have a crane so they'd tried a rope to a tree, attached it to the container & then driven until it came off! We couldn't get a crane either so to turn the containers around & move them we had to use a bulldozer-it was crazy to watch!
Now that we had the containers in the right places people got to work on different things & over the last week the containers have been de-rusted, primed & welded. Others got to work on the wall that is between the containers to make a hall. In the last couple of days we managed to get most of the rust off, build the walls up to window height & get the ground relatively level. On the last day we planted fruit trees which the community will benefit from & had a celebration with all the locals invited too.
Amidst the chaos we had opportunities to get to know some of the people who live in the surrounding area, especially the women and children. This was great seeing as their the ones we're going to be working with once everything's ready.
After all the fun & hard work it was time to say goodbye to the UK team and most of the Kenyans. Bill (the guy in charge of the building bit), the guys from Uganda and a couple of Kenyans decided to be amazing and stayed to finish off what they could & some of them are still there now putting on the roof. These are some of the latest pics of how far they've got.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
A massive massive THANK YOU to all of you who helped in one way or another to help us get this far! We're amazed at how much we've been able to do in such a short space of time and it's thanks to God's grace through you that's made it possible.
We'll keep on putting up updates of the progress so keep your eye out on our Facebook page (Love your Neighbour) or message me your e-mail address if you want to receive our newsletters. And if you want to get involved in our next trip don't hesitate to get in touch
It's been two years since I was last in this land of smiling faces, dusty red roads & delicious street foods.
It's so good to be here, to meet up with old friends, to eat my favourite Kenyan foods & to discover new places!
So far it's Lox, me & Joseia here along with 2 ladies who live in the U.K. & have come here to make a difference. We've had quite a few adventures travelling from one side of the country to the other & putting into action what God has put on the heart of one of these ladies, Maria.
To be honest, I've been inspired by Maria & the hard work & enthusiasm she's put in over the last year to do what she felt God wants her to do here. Firstly, she felt God putting on her heart to build 3 wells. She didn't have money to do this herself so she thought & prayed about how she could raise the money to do it. So, she collected empty water bottles & put a label on them asking her friends to put in 10p every time they drink water so that others can also have access to clean water. She gave the bottle out to her friends & anyone who was willing to take one & then followed up & collected the money every so often. Through doing this she raised enough money to dig 3 wells & to build a water conservation tank (to collect rain water)!
She then thought about what people here who are poor can eat each day? She was inspired by a book she'd been reading to start an animal bank. She's been asking people to buy a goat or chicken & over the last week she's been buying them & putting them in schools & with people in the community. The idea is that these animals will be loaned to poor families who will benefit from the eggs & milk. When their animal gives birth, they given the first one back to the 'bank' to pay their loan & keep the rest & so the bank continues to help other poor families.
It's been brilliant to see the wells being officially opened & people's excitement as they've been loaned an animal!
I've also been inspired by Maria's commitment to making these things happen. She didn't have much money of her own but she asked God for creative ideas so that she could raise the money needed. Through her obedience she's really made a difference in the lives of those people who now have clean water & milk or eggs to add to their limited diet.
It's challenging me & I hope it can challenge you too to think about what you can do? What difference can you make in someone's life today?
As Mother Teresa said, there's no big things, only small things done with big love. I believe it's these things which really make a lasting difference in the lives of others.
‘Your availability for God to use you will take you where He wants you to go to say what He wants you to say where He wants you to say it and how He wants you to say it’
After 12 long hours of travelling by bus along the bumpy Kenyan and Ugandan roads, we were woken up by the conductor and told that we had reached our destination; it was 5:30 in the morning and dawn had not yet broken. We were given our bags and left at a closed petrol station as we watched our bus disappear into the darkness. A tingle of fear mixed in with the excitement of being somewhere new and different after having spent too many days caught up in the hustle and bustle of Nairobi life. I prayed a silent prayer to God to keep us safe and help us reach our destination safely as I looked over to Amy and saw confusion written over her face.
Within moments, we were surrounded by 8 men on motorbikes, all harmlessly trying to find out where we wanted to go, each hoping to get some business in reward for being out of bed and available to taxi someone where they needed to be at that early hour. We repeatedly told them ‘Nile river camp’ as they discussed between themselves in the local language, Luganda, where exactly that could be. After some debating, one man, who appeared to be older than the others, said he knew the place and assured us that he’d take us there. He told me to jump on and instructed a friend to carry Amy.
We motor biked along, cutting through the cool fresh morning air and going deeper into the wild as the tarmac ran out and town turned into rural village. It felt like freedom to be away from everything modern and familiar and to enjoy simplicity; it felt like this is the real Africa, the Africa I had fallen in love with years ago. As we turned into the campsite, we found the place hushed and dark. The only noises that could be heard were those of morning birds and insects performing their best numbers to a sleeping world. From nowhere, a man appeared with a torch, as startled as we were to see someone walking around the campsite this early in the morning. It was now about 6am and the first signs of dawn were beginning to light the earth. The man turned out to be the watchman and asked us to wait as he fetched some keys. He came back quickly and pointed to a nearby room where he said we could rest a bit. We got into the dormitory where I was relieved at the idea of lying down on a comfortable bed after what had felt like hours of sleeping and waking up uncomfortably before re-adjusting myself to try and sleep some more on the uncomfortable bus seats. A bed seemed like heaven. As we turned on the lights, a couple of geckos were taken by surprise by our entry into their room and scuttled around; Amy in turn was surprised by them and mixed with exhaustion her emotions caught her off guard. Filled with terror at the sight of the creatures she froze in the middle of the room, unprepared to sleep under their watchful eyes. On the other hand, feeling at peace now that we’d safely arrived, I was overcome with tiredness and couldn’t wait to snuggle up on the comfortable bed and get some much anticipated sleep.
It felt like only minutes had gone by when I woke up feeling refreshed from the deep sleep I had found myself in but when I looked at my phone 4 hours had slipped by. I could hear Amy in the bunk bed below me begin to stir and awake from her sleep and noises of people chatting outside gave me the impression that the campsite was now alive. My mind was now awake and there was one thought on it; I have to explore! I stepped down from my bed and after a cold but refreshing shower we were ready for the day. We made our way down to the main reception which was also the restaurant, bar and anything else it needed to be, both of us were filled with excitement at every new thing we saw on our way. As we looked out across the river Nile, I felt in awe at the creation of God, so vast yet not a detail out of place. I took in a deep breath of the fresh country air and was filled with contentment; it was good to be here.
For three days we enjoyed out getaway. We basked under the warm Ugandan sun; we swam around and made up silly games in the pool; we kayaked on the biggest river in the world and we appreciated God for the life He’d given us. Every day, we enjoyed the delicious home-made food served at the restaurant knowing that the western style menu was something not to take for granted compared to our usual African diet. We shared stories, we laughed at each other and we made memories that we’ll never forget.
Time flew, and before we knew it, it was time to pack up and head onto part 2 of our adventure: Kampala. We got a motor bike back to the nearest town, Jinja, and Joseph our motor bike driver chatted and cracked jokes with us all the way; the friendliness of the people here never ceases to amaze me. We got on a minibus, locally known as a taxi and headed to Kampala to meet up with Lox and a bunch of friends from our Church. All along the way, our conductor played sardines with us and tried to squeeze as many passengers as possible onto the taxi. On arrival, we decided to stretch the ‘holiday mode’ for a little while longer and enjoyed a cup of coffee at a mall before joining the others who had travelled from Kenya.
The conference comprised of 3 influential African speakers who were successful not only in the world of Christianity but had also in their careers. For four days, we were encouraged by them to be a change in the world around us and to make a difference instead of accepting the status quo. They gave inspirational stories of standing up against corruption and of using their God given gifts to excel in their workplaces and in the business world. It was a very inspirational conference. The quote that stuck with me was ‘Your availability for God to use you will take you where He wants you to go to say what He wants you to say where He wants you to say it and how He wants you to say it’.
One day, when I was in Wales last year, my mum and I decided to enjoy a walk on the Pembrokeshire cost path. As we were on our way, she shared about the kids from some of the local schools she teaches in and said that some of the children, despite only living 5 miles away from the coast, have never been to the seaside. I was surprised and I thought that it’s a strange irony in life that wherever in the world we live we often don’t experience and enjoy the natural attractions which are near to us. Sometimes, we don’t think about it and other times we simply don’t get an opportunity.
Every year in Kenya, millions of tourists come from all corners of the world to enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife which God has blessed this country with. However, just as in Wales, the local people usually don’t get the same opportunity to enjoy these things for themselves. Therefore, we decided that we would give the children in our pre-school and the ones who have gone onto primary school this opportunity by taking them to an animal orphanage situated on the outskirts of Nairobi city.
We picked the kids up in a bus, and from the moment the driver started the engine, until we arrived, the children sang song after song at the top of their voices! The older children had been learning about animals in school and were so excited to see the animals for themselves as one of the workers showed us around and told us about the animals which were there, most of which had been rescued. The highlight came when a monkey came and sat about 3 meters away from the kids. They were happy to see the monkey until it suddenly ran up and stole a plastic bag one of the kids was carrying, thinking it was food! The monkey ran away and climbed up the nearest tree, hoping to get a packed lunch all for himself. Much to his dismay, the plastic bag was only holding the boy’s sweater; so after a thorough investigation, he dropped the bag into the crocodile pen. Seeing as the crocodile was in the water, our guide didn’t mind reaching over the fence with a stick and retrieving the bag as the kids gave a clap of appreciation!
We finished the trip with lunch and then got back onto the bus to sing some more songs as we made our way back home.
Every morning the children from Little Angel's Pre School come early to class, eager to get a cup of porridge. By lunch time, their hungry again, and we provide them will a healthy lunch knowing that this could be the only decent meal they receive each day. But this is not always enough, because they might not be getting all the nutrition they need from the food. Why? Because of a common parasite in Kenya, worms!
Research has shown that deworming has both physical and educational benefits for children: it increases children's attendance rates and, in the long run, increases their chances of going onto higher education and getting a well payed job later on in life. Therefore, we decided that from this year we'll be regularly deworming the children in our Pre School, and those who are being sponsored in Primary School.
"Findings of a long-term impact study in Kenya showed participants who were dewormed as children had higher wages, fewer sick days, more work hours, and higher-level occupations."
We bought the medicine we needed, which to our pleasant surprise only cost around 4 pounds for a big bottle of 100 servings. The children had 1-2 teaspoons each (depending on the age), followed by a yummy Quality street chocolate given by a friend in Wales, there were smiles all around! Then we had some laughs as I showed them 2 new puppets which were also given for the children from a friend while I was in Wales. The teachers were happy and said they'll be using the puppets with the kids during assembly and story time, and the children thought the puppets were hilarious!
It was good to be reminded that a little personal sacrifice can actually make a big difference and put joy in someone's heart on the other side of the world.
For more information on the benefits of deworming, please see: http://blogs.worldbank.org/education/rethinking-deworming
Welcome to my blog! In case you didn't already know, I'm Ruth. In 2010 I graduated from University and before I even had time to settle down and get a job I felt a tug on my heart to go to Kenya for a few years to help in any way I could. When I arrived it was love at first sight; I loved the more relaxed way of life, the way Kenyans would laugh at EVERYTHING and the way people would put people first. On my first day there I also met Lox, a tall, dark & handsome African man who had the same passions in life as me and the more we worked & laughed together the more we fell in love & after a couple of years of dating we tied the knot & got married. Now I live, work, eat & sleep Kenya. It's great to be able to help those who are in some ways less fortunate than me but amazingly I always feel that I'm the one who gets blessed and learns so much from the people I try to help and from everything I do. Enjoy my blogs which give you a taste of this crazy yet wonderful life I lead.