• Chris Hirst

55 - New Year 2021 - News Update

Dear friends and supporters of our school and orphanage in Kenya.

I have two pleasant tasks ahead of me. The first is to wish you, our well-wishers and supporters, a happy and blessed New Year. The second is to report that our school has now re-opened and all ages and classes are being educated as we speak; this to the delight of all the children, the majority of whom have not received any education for the last nine months.

Needless to say, many restrictions are still in place for the safety of our youngsters. Thankfully, among our students and teachers there have been no reported coronavirus infections or deaths. This leads me to an interesting observation. Kenya has a population of 53.7 million, the vast majority of whom live in extreme close proximity to one another in many one-room slum houses. A vast proportion of the country does not have running water and compared with the NHS their health service seems non-existent. At the start of this pandemic in March last year many predicted that the African Nations will be the hardest hit and millions lost; however, it seems the opposite is the case. The number of coronavirus deaths throughout Kenya since March last year is 1,705. Compare that with our statistics in the UK (90,000) with arguably the best health service on the planet, a very high level of personal hygiene awareness, access to good dietary advice and the general willingness to obey government guidelines on social distancing. I can only conclude that Kenya, by the providence of God, has been spared and shown mercy; however, the medical profession will no doubt have a more rational explanation. I wait to hear it.

There is good news concerning the harvest. In one of their initiatives to become a more self-sufficient school and less dependent on outside help and resources the school has been renting fields to grow crops. This has been driven by the vision of Risper Saituni, our Director of the project. She has worked tirelessly in a physical sense to cultivate, plant, maintain and harvest crops of maize, beans, and vegetables. This she has developed over the last few years and is now coming to fruition with a good harvest of maize this season. (There are two harvests every year).

Before the school was allowed to re-open there were many inspections by government agencies, all with a positive result. There were other schools in our region that could not measure up and will not re-open. It shows we have a good team of enthusiastic teachers who were all hands-on in bringing the school to the required government standards. Of the exam classes that came back early last year, we are expecting good results with at least four young ladies set for a University entrance. I am sure you will agree that that one fact alone makes our fundraising and sponsoring efforts here in the UK seem all the more worthwhile and gives us encouragement to continue. I pray you are of the same mind.

Recently, through one of our government initiatives, they have tried to make a more level playing field within the banking industry. The result was that our bank, NatWest offered us an incentive of £1,500 to change to another bank. For the life of me I cannot understand the logic or the business sense in this. As we are always in need of funds and having had no possibility of publicly engaging in fund raising events this last nine months, we felt that it would be beneficial to accept the offer. This we did, and we now have our charity bank account with the Co-Operative bank, and we await our £1,500 from NatWest. They have promised it will be with us as soon as April this year.

Our supporters who pay by standing order need to change their instructions to make sure that it goes into our new bank account. Philip Head, our Treasurer, has recently emailed you with the forms and for those who cannot receive them by email we will send them by post. I know this is a bit of a hassle, but I implore you to be diligent and fill in the forms when you have a moment. (A further standing order form is being attached to this email). If you need help, you may ring Philip on 07817 990230.

Thank you once more for continuing with us. Those children and orphans have a brighter future because of you.

Accept my highest regards to you all,

Chris Hirst

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