• Chris Hirst

The effects of the virus worldwide

Dear friends and supporters of the Olive Branch foundation.

Regarding the school and orphanage we run in Kenya.

As you can imagine there doesn't seem to be anywhere on the planet that is not affected by the coronavirus. As far as I can make out by searching the Kenyan newspapers online they have had only 76 deaths from the virus. How accurate these figures are is hard to tell, but the government took the first death extremely seriously and put the lockdown on the whole country and closed all the schools. They also imposed a dawn till dusk curfew when nobody was allowed onto the street after dark. The penalty for breaking this curfew was not a fine or a telling off but a shooting. At the last count the police had shot dead 12 people who were breaking the curfew. Isn't our police force wonderful? We will never complain about them again.

Yesterday came an announcement from the government of Kenya that the schools will remain closed until 1 September. Even then some very stringent social distancing measures will be rigidly enforced with more rules and regulations to be announced shortly.

The region around our school has recently been devastated by the worst floods in living memory, many houses washed away, lives lost and livelihoods destroyed. The roads and bridges have been washed away, making moving around even on foot a hazardous activity. With no crops left in the fields, hardships abound. Personal tragedies seem to escalate daily. It will be a very long time before life returns to normal in our region of Kenya. Although our school is on a hill, we did not escape the destructive force of the storms that hit us hard. A lot of rebuilding needs to be done before the school can reopen, particularly in the area of sanitation and health care. Another of the government requirements for the re-opening of the school is that we contract bona fide security guards from a registered government company (how cheap is that going to be?). We still await any other government edicts which will be revealed to us in the next few weeks.

Can we get in shape by September? Only God knows. When I say that your prayers are needed I mean it most sincerely. Unlimited finances would help also, but a reality check often brings wisdom to the situation. At the moment, it feels like a make or break time, so let us continue to pray fervently that God’s will be done.

As soon as I have more news of the unfolding events I will let you all know.

Yours faithfully,

Chris Hirst

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