Today was a partial break from Doxa work in that it involved a visit to the Emily Martin Rescue Centre, about 5 miles out of town and hidden up some very rural bumpy roads.
As mentioned in a previous days blog, this is run by our old friend Esther who we met on one of our very first visits and the last time we had been able to visit it was 2.5 years ago when it was nearly ready to open. Today we returned to see it full of abused women and children and an extension dormitory well under construction.
Kim took Ray on the motorbike so that they could leave a bit earlier whilst Sarah travelled by tuctuc with a driver we had previously used but whom spoke no English. Kim had given him instructions as to where to go but he didn’t understand them and turned to Sarah for guidance!! That lead to some interesting trips up and down dead ends until a phone call to Esther at least put us in the right direction before she sent her driver to meet us. The landmark that should have been noticed – as it has in previous years – was the “Titty Twister café”! How could that one have been forgotten. Anyway, by the time the driver arrived, Ray and Kim had also turned up on the motorbike and we all travelled safely on.
The centre is an amazing sanctuary for these women and young girls. There are currently 10 in there with 6 babies under 1 year. Just last week another baby of a teenage Mum died at birth in the local hospital and the story of that is just too sad to relate here. The Mums and their young children live in dorms, and have cooking facilities so that they can be independent, but all serving each other. There is also a classroom with 5 sewing machines where they are being taught to sew, so that they have a means of supporting themselves when they move on. They are currently learning to make white school shirts, no mean feat for beginners but something that will always sell over here.
They have a lovely little round wooden gazebo with a thatched roof, and with a vine growing round it which makes a nice place for the mums to sit with their babies. A further plot has been purchased that will provide a play area and some garden for the children once everything else has been finished.
The links with Doxa and the EMRC are great because they are very different in their aims, but we both cover the same geographic location. The girl who lost her baby last week came out of Kwa Murugi which is the slum in which our office is based. Esther would love to send some of the young Mums on other practical courses that Doxa hope to be able to provide in the future and so this mutual support is hugely beneficial, as is the pooling of brain power and knowledge.
A warm sweet cup of chai was served to us whilst we waited for the rain to stop. Ray and Kim would have had another very wet trip back if we had not been able to shelter, as it was, they sill got pretty wet. Sarah spent a bit more time with the ladies and their babies. They all wanted to hear English from a Muzungu and have their babies cuddled and then it was time to leave. The rain was still coming down so Esther and Chris dropped Sarah back before going into town to buy a gas cylinder, rather than entrusting her to a tuctuc driver who may not know the way back!
The rain has continued for most of the afternoon so we have been brainstorming questions for the lawyer, sorting photos to send back home for a presentation on Sunday and starting to prepare to give a talk at the ladies fellowship on Thursday afternoon.