• Chris Hirst

Newsletter 37 - Weathering political unrest and adverse weather - July 2016

Updated: Jul 23, 2018

Dear friends of the school and orphanage at Ringa (Ong’iya Disi Academy),

Life at the school and orphanage marches on, thankfully, and because of your support, always in a forward direction. The children continue to grow spiritually, mentally and physically.

Despite the turmoil and unrest in the Kenyan education system our school carries on regardless. Recently there has been an escalation in the unrest to the degree that 104 schools have been set on fire. Both staff and pupils have been responsible for this. The reason for this truly escapes me and seems almost unbelievable. Sadly there seems no end to this long-running dispute. By the grace of God though our children and staff seem to be blessed with a saner mind. I will be able to glean more information on my next visit.

My next visit will be in October, from the seventh to the 18th. I will be accompanied by Mr John Toms, a long-time supporter of the work who is making his second visit to the site. There are many opportunities for any of our supporters to visit the work and see where there funds are being used. It is always a comfort to know that your money is well spent, so don't be backward at coming forward. Perhaps you'd like to join me next year and sense the gratitude of these children.

I think I mentioned in my newsletter last time that we now have fields that we rent to grow crops to feed our children. Sadly, however, after a long wait for the drought to be over we planted our first crop of maize, only to find ourselves faced with several weeks of a deluge of torrential rains that caused much flooding across the whole country. Buildings collapsed and lives were lost; however this has also caused havoc to the seeds we planted and washed many of them away, so instead of having an expected abundance we will be faced with a national shortage and higher food prices. The Kenyans are resilient and are used to such tragedy. When I see those children being fed it strengthens my faith. I know that when push comes to shove you will remain faithful with your support and continue to give what you can. For this I applaud you.

It has been almost 10 years now since the first six children, a mud hut and a volunteer teacher. How God has moved us on.

This November sees the graduation of our first secondary school students. Such a land mark. Each year I am hoping to organise each group of students into some kind of fraternity. Each child will leave us with an email address. They will be encouraged to keep in touch with each other for mutual support. We will also encourage them to keep in touch with us. As they leave, our hearts and prayers go with them. As they make their way in life and find work or business opportunities, we will encourage them to support the children who are following behind them.

That is a long-term plan, however, but time is on our side. We are not going anywhere soon. The Olive Branch Foundation will be there as long as we’re needed; as long as there's a child in need of education, in need of food, or in need of surrogate parents we won't turn our back on them.

Thank you so much for staying with us; together we can save lives and change lives. We will never tire of doing good.

Yours with much gratitude,

Chris Hirst

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