Heartbreaking lack of water and education.

Hi everyone……. it has taken me since last October to get my act together to write another blog. Why is that I ask myself….. The excuse I use is that life is too busy. Maybe that’s true, but even if it is how come I allow the things most important to me, to be the things that get squeezed out!

So here goes a long overdue update on the important and precious people in the villages surrounding Nakuru and wider area.

Imagine a 90kg sack of maize, that’s a lot of maize to grow……. to feed your family each year you need 90kg x 2 sacks for an adult, and 90kg x 1 per child. Most people, not all, in the village of Olrongai have a Shamba (some land), and on it they historically grow maize. Sometimes the harvest is good, and often times the drought means the harvest is poor or non existent. When the harvest is very good, for most families this still doesn’t produce as much maize as they need to survive. No harvest equals hungry bellies, malnutrition for the children, sickness for the elderly.

If education was available people could learn about other crops to plant, about better farming methods, about water harvesting……… this is the gap that PottersHeart is teaching into.

If the crops fail there is no food and no money to buy any.

If education was available people could learn about Business Development, about finding their own solutions to take them out of poverty. About family planning so that there are not so many mouths to feed…….. this is the gap that PottersHeart is teaching into.

In Olrongai the teaching over the last three trips is transforming lives, there are people who have set up small businesses, with goats and poultry. The young men that we have taught woodworking have set up a business making stools, tables and beds. The students are now teaching others in the wider village, one lady Rachel is holding a gathering with Mums and children. This is a huge breakthrough in the Kenyan culture, as she is teaching them how to play and interact with the children. Progress is being made, but the reality in their lives is they still have to walk 6 km for clean water, gather firewood for cooking, work on the fields, and pray a meal in most days. If they had a plentiful supply of water, life would be very different, and at least the crops would grow and there would be some food on a plate each day.

Why is it that so many people have to live without access to running water and education……… it’s heartbreaking.

I’ll write some more tomorrow.

Love Linden x

 

So thankful for teaching and a hot meal!

Yesterdays lunch for lunch for the students, all freshly cooked with produce from the village. We make sure that every student has a good hot meal. The outdoor kitchens are a real challenge to us because the smoke from the fire is thick, no wonder respiratory diseases are so common. Brian has drawn up a design to fit a chimney to take the smoke out, next time Brian!!

Look at the way the cabbage is shredded, using a machete, I would cut my hand off!!

Everyone was starving by 1.00 pm, including the young men who had been doing the ‘Introduction to Carpentry’ class. The guy in the photo is Danson, he is thirty years old, has a partner and one child……. Danson has never been able to get work, the only money he gets is occasional casual labour on a farm. This pays 200 Kenyan shillings per day and it’s not available every day by any means. Danson really took to the woodwork and with four of the others is determined to have a go at starting a business. Fortunately thanks to the generosity of a Milton Keynes refurbished tools charity and Brian ( PottersHeart team member) the students were left with the tools needed to start the work.

Now enjoying our one day off whilst we are here. John and Brian have gone to the Nakuru Game Park, setting off at 7.00 am this morning, you have to be early to see the animals getting out of bed! I’m really hoping they see Simba and maybe a Leopard, especially as it’s Brian’s first trip. Us girls are heading off to one of the local lodges beside the lake, a spot of lunch there I think…… maybe even a G&T!

Tomorrow we will be in the village all day at church….. church services in Africa are not for the faint hearted! It will be wonderful. Then the brothers Paul & Jonah and their families, our partners in Kenya, will cook us lunch village style. We’ve put an order in for cabbage, lentils, chapatis, and avocado.

Love Linden x

 

 

 

Wanted urgently: Water supply and paid work for villagers.

This week is passing far to quickly, tomorrow is our last day in Olrongai. The weather has been so hot, kuna joto sana! Sweltering under the wriggly tin walls and roof of the teaching room. John and Brian got the best deal, teaching a group of young men how to make a wooden stool, working under a beautiful shade tree. It is always a treat to look at Africa afresh through the eyes of a first timer, and Brian has been bowled over…. let’s say he won’t be short of photos! The wooden stools are so good, the guys had never used any tools before, and they are very proud to be taking a prize stool home with them. We have got enough tools to give a set to each of them, and as they have also been having some Business Development Training, we pray that’s a few more businesses blooming. John and Brian feel the whole group have got an attitude for carpentry. They are all between 17 and 30, and none of them have ever had a proper job….. they are not lazy there are no jobs to be had!

Marion, Janet and I have been teaching Business Development and Healthcare. They are such a lovely bunch of students, and we have had a lot of laughs, in amongst serious, raw discussion. Today I got really upset again with their situation regarding water, or rather lack of it. There doesn’t seem to be any prospect of a borehole in Olrongai, surveys have been done and the water is at least 330 metres down. The nearest borehole is about six miles away, the track is rough, it’s bad enough for us in a vehicle, how they walk it with water I don’t know. Even when the get there the water is not great,it is clean but slightly salty! When you consider that the only asset that this folk have is their land and obviously they can’t use it to full potential because of the drought periods……. So frustrating. The only way we can help is teaching about water harvesting, and trying to raise money for water tanks, so that when the precious water will not be wasted. Unless of course anyone knows of a drilling company that would drill for the love of the people. The big water tanks and guttering are about £300.00 per household, when you consider they live on less than £1.00 per day, they are not going to be able to save for a tank any time soon!

Just sitting now having a cup of tea, chewing over the events of the day, and watching the yellow flashes of the weaver birds in a nearby tree. Bed early for us all tonight, we have promised to be early in the village tomorrow so that we can get as much teaching in as possible.

Love Linden x

Teaching changes lives

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Dorcas & Samuel 

These two are an amazing couple, life in the village of Miti Mingi has not been easy. Dorcas & Samuel have four children, and have always been determined that life would be better for the children, and that somehow they would manage to send them to school.

There are almost no jobs in the village, and these two grabbed every chance to attend any training offered. They have been faithful in Community Health Care Training, Business Development and training on parenting and marriage. Still no jobs came along and eventually Samuel had to go far away from home to find some casual labour. This left Dorcas at home to walk miles to collect water, find food, and look after the four children. Times were tough.

Then during a Business Development session, Dorcas started to think outside the box, she began kicking out the poverty spirit, and a new level of determination and hope rose up in her. Joining with a few others in the group, Dorcas began to save, little by little, a few Kenyan shillings at a time…… it was hard.

Now they have a small shop in the village, it is doing well, they are able to send their children to school, and Samuel no longer has to go away from home to work.

Samuel says “Thank you PottersHeart for bringing this noble teachings to us. They have changed our lives.”