The start of the day was a more leisurely one without us attempting to make it to the office in time for the breakfast run. Kim was involved in taking a lady from the slum to hospital on the back of the motorbike before we could all really get into other business of the day. That is quite a regular occurrence as Doxa are often the first port of call when help is required.
Ray, Kim and David headed off to the town of Nakuru to attend a meeting at the church where Kim and David attend and to buy a few other bits and pieces. David needs to pick up his new glasses to replace the ones that had been smashed up when he was attacked on the way to the office. Fortunately he still had the prescription and they could be remade very quickly for him once ordered.
Joyce and Sarah, along with young Maverick, took a tuc tuc down to the Free Area to buy some additional necklaces for the HIV ladies. The Free Area is about .5 mile from Kwa Murugi so too far for the little man to walk or for us to carry him. The cost of that ride is 25ksh per person each way which is about 17p at today’s exchange rate. On their return, a package was made up for each HIV lady comprised of a new dress, a necklace and 3 pairs of knickers (which we hope will fit based on photos Joyce had previously supplied).
The rest of the afternoon was spent in sorting out the store and keeping Maverick amused. It is very interesting to learn about the lack of post natal care that is available to many mothers out here and the methods they use for some things in child care. There are no pushchairs or high chairs. A pushchair would cost about 25000 Ksh, more than most here could ever dream of affording.
As it was about time to return up the hill, there was a short shower of rain but clothes quickly dry here in the warmth and the rain didn’t amount to anything like the previous evenings torrential downpour and thunderstorm.
In the evening we had the pleasure of meeting up with some old friends who run another charity out here that operates a Women’s Refuge. We have seen that organisation develop from the very beginning when the founding member of it was herself a woman in need of refuge, to one that has built a secure haven for others. They take in women of all ages, including teenage girls (some from the Kwa Murugi slum) who need support and safety and help to rehome them in safety. It was great to catch up on their news and continue discussions about how our two charities may be able to support each other in the very separate works that we do.
I think it would be fair to say today has been a tiring but rewarding day for both of us. Alarms were set for 5.15am in order to ensure that we were down in the office in time for the breakfast run and we wanted to catch it in full swing. As it turned out, the sun didn’t come up until about 5.58 so we weren’t much earlier than the previous time, but we certainly did see many more children come through. They had obviously waited for the light too. They seemed to be coming from every direction and food had run out by the time the late arrivals straggled in, with some having to share their cups of chai to try and make things go as far as possible.
On the menu today were hard boiled eggs (to take away to school) and mandazi with chai. After helping to wash up, wash the floor etc we walked back up the hill to get our own breakfast before heading back down again for Ray to cycle into town with Kim.
They were off to visit another charity that operates in a similar nature to Doxa but is several years ahead of where we are, and the objective of the visit was to see how they operate and what we can learn from them. Ray found it a really useful visit and gained loads of info to mull over as well as contact numbers for future reference. David and Billy also went along for the ride into town and aftr the meeting, they all enjoyed sitting in the sunshine in the entrance to the park having a drink of soda and a cake before beginning the cycle ride home.
They hadn’t bargained for the heavens literally opening and they eventually arrived back at the office completely soaked through to the skin. When Ray took his shoes off, he poured the water into the bowl that Joyce and Sarah had placed under the leaking roof!
Meanwhile Sarah and Joyce had spent the morning with the majority of the HIV positive ladies handing them out their dresses and necklaces. They were delighted to receive these gifts with one lady declaring she would keep it until Christmas Day to wear it. This group of ladies really look out for each other now and rely quite heavily on Joyce and each other for support. One lady has been particularly unwell for several weeks now and initially a message came in that she was unable to walk as far as the office today, but others in the group went back to help her so that she too could come in and receive her dress in person and be photographed.
As Joyce told me, it is rare for a day in the office to be without someone turning up for help. One Mum had stopped her on the way home yesterday showing her her baby who had pneumonia and for whom she needed to pay for medicine but had no money. She had gone back to the hospital this morning and Joyce was waiting a phone call to see if she had any joy or if we need to provide funds to help with this.
Then another phone call came in from a mother of one of our star pupils telling her that the girl was ill at school. She had swallowed something a few days ago and it is stuck in her throat. Now she has a fever and is aching all over her body. Clearly something is wrong, so of course they come to Doxa for support in getting it fixed.
Whilst we were with the last of the HIV ladies, two very drunk ladies came in. They had clearly seen a white person in the office and thought they would try their luck. They usually come for flour on a Friday but couldn’t even remember which day of the week it was. One could speak enough English to make me understand that she thought I was very cruel to not feed her children.
Once the rain started everyone scuttled for home. It didn’t take long for the power to go off and the front half of our office has a corrugated tin roof. We couldn’t hear ourselves think in there and little Maverick was scared. We moved to the back which has a false ceiling and a window with a curtain that we could draw to let some light in, put the bowl under the dripping roof and waited for the lads to return, hoping that they might actually be under cover somewhere.
When they did arrive back, once the rain eased they all went their various ways to dry off and warm up and Sarah stayed on for the weekly fellowship meeting with the HIV ladies. This now consists of two meetings because of social distancing, with the HIV group first and then the rest. It involved some loud Kenyan singing and clapping and thanking God for Doxa. The second was cancelled today because of the rain.