Two years ago I went with a group to volunteer at a school in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya. There I met a man who has started and runs a school for 83 orphans in rural western Kenya. The school consisted of three mud classrooms and a small kitchen. Children sat on the floor for their lessons and had no water source. Martin farms in order to support the school but can only make enough to support it for three months of the year. Last spring I began sending him some money each month and in the fall our church and some friends contributed additional funds. He has been able to buy desks, build a brick latrine, have a well dug, and begin construction on two new brick classrooms as well as buy food for the children. Much still needs to be done but right now the most critical need is for food. Because of the election violence last year and bad weather the price of foodstuffs has doubled. Excerpts from Martin's letters follow. Gerda Fink
June 16, 2008
I greet you in the name of our lord, pass the same to your beloved husband. I am scanning the photos to show you how we used your sincere donation. We bought the desks which you can see the children sitting on comfortably. Even though they were not enough as the others are still sitting on the floor but the difference can be felt.
May God uplift you and the family at large as you continue helping these orphaned children.
July 9, 2008
...The school is about 450km from Nairobi. The school is situated is western province, western part of the country, on the slopes of Mt, Elgon, Bungoma district. The nearest town is Kitale which is about 30 Km away. The school has got 3 classrooms and a small kitchen all made of mud.83 children, 4 teachers, I night watchman. The large number of children are orphans whereby their parents died because of Aids, natural death, while few are from very poor family...
August 1, 2008
…The Kisima children are doing well, they are very happy, proud of you and seriously praying that God shields you and the family. They told me insisting that you have actually saved them from health problems, the situations was horrible but God touched you and did a wonderful thing.
These are some factors which made me to start a school in the rural place:-
It’s very safe security wise
Some food stuffs are cheaper price compared to those in the city.
There’s enough space for expansion
Above all to reduce the number of children who move from rural to town to get the necessary services like education...
Work progressing on the new latrine
September 23, 2008
…We are in terrible situation now, the children do not have food, yet prices have gone up and the situation will continue up to November when the maize will be ready, but so please still we are not expecting much because of bad weather. Sister I beg for your assistance, surely the children are suffering but we are looking forward to see what God will do for them. The burden of food, teacher’s salaries, watchman and the cook is really becoming unbearable due to the problems that were caused by the post-election violence…
September 29, 2008
What I think can help this school is as follows;
1. we buy one acre of land costing ksh 320,000/=
2. we buy three dairy cows (exotic) each costing ksh 30,000/= total ksh 90,000/=
3. we buy nappier grass cutter machine costing ksh 35,000/=
- the land will be used for planting nappier grass and keeping the cows
- each cow can give almost 15 litres of milk per day
- we can use some for children’s consumption at school and we sell the remaining for example if we sell 10 liters at ksh 25/= per litre we will get 250 per day and ksh 7,500/= per month., Subtract ksh 2500/= for feeds we remain with ksh 5,000 times three cows = ksh 15,000/= it will be a big boost…
October 30, 2008
... The kisima children are very happy and much thankfull to what you have done to them. We only lacked a photographer, you could have seen how joy they were during lunch hour. It was anew begin in their life after going through tough moment i.e short of food...
November 21, 2008
...Sincerely speaking your great and wonderful work is now being manifested in Kisima. I am very happy and grateful for your noble and never felt support though the happiest group is the Kisima children. Steadily they are noting great changes in their lives. They have now started feeling like other children in well up families. This is because of receiving your funds. I bought them two balls and ropes for skipping so they are no longer idle but very active during physical education lessons, break time, lunch and games. This is going to keep them physically fit.
Apart from that, I also found it necessary to dig a borehole because we have been fetching water for school use from far, so very soon, we are going to have humble time no water problems because I am planning to cement/plaster the borehole right from the bottom to avoid muddy water.
Just as I had informed you that we need at least two classes by January, I decided to start building two classes using bricks, sand, ballast and cement .So the borehole water is also going to help us a great deal by providing water for construction purposes. The children also are very happy on seeing that they are going to learn from permanents classes just like the pit latrine though I know that the cost is higher than what I have at the moment but I know that God is in control and with him, all things are possible...
The new well
Progress on the new classrooms
December 19, 2008
…since we are are looking forward for std four next year, we are also having the burden of desks, text books and another teacher. But I am not all that worried because the God who has brought us that far, is still in control.
Another important thing you requested to know was the issue of children’s sleeping place. In deed this has remained crucial issue on side because of shortage of facilities. So at the moment, I considered several cases i.e. those children who had nowhere to stay completely due to clashes or orphanage and rented a nearby house from an old man who lives alone. In fact that house sometimes appears in the school photos because it’s next to the school compound there are still others who admire and need to be absorbed but there is little I can do. In fact I was thinking that may be I will be forced to let them be sleeping in the in the classroom come morning they take out their beddings and arrange the desks for learning so in other words, a dormitory is highly needed to make the children more comfortable.
Anyway, Kisima has a long way to go but all in all we know that God is faithful enough to take us through each and every problem ahead...
January 14, 2009
…requesting you and your friends to visit Kisima, The children will feel your presence and have hope. Imagine a friend traveling as far as America to a rural place Kisima school, the children will be happy and proud about their future. We need to have a better world, but we can’t achieve if we don’t mind the orphans and the poor children. We sideline them, they destroy the world in future.
My dear sister we are facing a serious food shortage at school. famine is at escalating rate in the whole country due to bad weather, post election violence, and a high cost of fertilizer which result the majority failing to plant maize .We need 20kgs of maize per day = 600kgs per month, at the moment 1KG is costing Ksh 40, how I pray that let our almighty God touch the hearts of our friends to help and save the situation...