Day 8 dawned with another wonderfully sunny day but as we walked down to the office it highlighted the smog hanging over the town of Nakuru more than we have seen in any previous occasion. It seems that this was a physical picture of how the day would turn out, with a bit of a cloud hanging over some of our families.
It was an early start as there was much to accomplish. One team went off to support our friends at The Haven in Githorio (womens refuge for victims of domestic abuse) who needed some labour to help build a new store before their next clients arrive next week. It was a successful day and the store was nearly completed when we left.
Others remaining in “our” slum were back out on home visits, exploring parts of the slum that we have never seen before. These visits discovered more sad situations such as we never see at home in the U.K. One family of 4 were living in one room, the dad was curled up on a mattress hidden under a blanket, in what seemed to be a state of despair. There was one bed with wooden slats but no mattress. Everything else they owned had been kept by their previous landlord and auctioned off to pay their rent arrears before they were chucked out on the street. Even our Kenyan friends were shocked.
Another visit revealed a family where the father has died, and the mother has gone to Nairobi to work. She left behind 5 children, the youngest of which is just 4. The 17 year old has been left in charge of the 4 remaining children living in the home. He and three other older children go to school and the 4 year old is left alone for the day. Can you imagine the outcry there would be in the U.K. if this situation arose?
Tomorrow we are planning to hold an activity morning for the children, and so we needed to go and check out a venue for this. It meant that another member of the team had to venture out on the back of the motorbike for a quick reccy. This involved riding pillion over the bumpy roads through the slum and having a good “African massage”.
Throughout the day, we have all been waiting for news of the arrival of baby Ramsey. The mother has been in labour since last night and there is still no significant progress and Mrs Ramsey is very tired. Paediatric facilities here are nothing like those at home and this situation is now becoming quite worrying for all involved. For those of you at home who pray, please pray that there will be a safe outcome for mother and baby.
Kim made a very interesting comment yesterday and it is a great encouragement to us as we go into the homes here and try to make just a little bit of difference. “When growing up in the slum, even a handshake from a white person meant good luck, can you imagine what a visit to their home means?.” We just want to help these people in any small way that we can and pray that we can be made a blessing to them.
Everyone in the team is weary. The hot sun, constant dust and the sheer magnitude of the number of children swarming all over us wanting to touch or stroke us seem overwhelming but having said all of that we have continued with the home visits in our teams.
One of these was to prepare for the makeover of the home lived in by a family with 3 children on Monday. The family have only recently been found by Doxa and the three children are now going to school, all sponsored by us. They were delighted to show us their school books, and thrilled to receive some little colouring books and a tub of bubbles. On Monday half term ends, and the children will go back to school, giving us the ideal time to get hard at work in the mudbuilt house whilst they are away. The father is a very gentle, single Dad who does his best to feed them but the home is one of the poorest that we have ever been into.
On another visit, we were amazed to open the compound gate to be greeted with a clean and tidy yard, a very unusual sight. In this case, not only was the Dad still involved with the family, he was sober and working, and the house was as pristine inside as the yard outside. This is a place where we rarely see extremes such as this, more often it is just poverty, and worse poverty.
Dewy has been on his bike again today; he had his hat blown off along the motorway, but this was retrieved by Victor his Kenyan friend. On arrival at the plot, he spent another day of hard labour. In addition to the gazebo built over the past few days, he has now reinforced the gate, made a duck pen, made a dog kennel and made a proper African cooking area for Victor. He has also manufactured a gutter for the house using some left over iron, which he cut with the kitchen scissors.
We were able to attend the weekly fellowship meeting which is held in the office. There was a good crowd in, and David preached to them. It was very warm in there, and when we finally opened the door, it was a relief to get back outside.
We have also found over the past few days, that we have a technical wizard in our midst. Emily has become our IT guru and has sorted out many issues for us, burning the candle late into the night to resolve some of these. It could be the fact that she is the youngest in our team and is used to these things, but we are all so very grateful to her and wonder where we would be without her. Not only this, but she is also our official photographer.
Apart from Dewy, who was otherwise engaged in his labours, the rest of the team met up with the pastor at Kim’s church and had lunch with him and his wife.