A letter to colleagues - January 2002

Dear Cecilia, Angela, Claver, Marcia, Mary, Josephine,
Eymard, Patricia, Michael, Philip, Maureen & Clare,

Many and loving greetings to each of you. This is a now long overdue letter of thanks and explanation about how your generous contribution is being used here in Africa. I know you will approve for it is being used in a way dear to the heart of Mercy women.

It was really unfortunate for me that poor Kennedy was unable to pursue his hope of becoming a teacher. If he has enough tenacity he might still find a way but unfortunately it will have to be without our help. I spoke to the Bishop about the situation and the contribution sent by you. He led me to see more clearly the most vulnerable group was the young Primary School girls. Young Kennedy already had the benefit of a Primary and Secondary School education.

It breaks my heart to see many of the young girls roaming around here in rags.

Your contribution will help educate about twenty Primary School girls for one year providing them with uniform, pens, pencils, copy books and covering various levies. The Bishop will get the names of these children and you might pray for them as well. The aim is to 'specially target any young girls who may have the least inclination to the Religious Life. It doesn't matter if they choose not to pursue the Religious Life in the long term at least it gives them a sporting chance and they may be saved from a pregnancy at twelve or thirteen years of age.

Bishop Harrington gave me the following brief description of the Turkana area to help paint a clearer picture for you of the life over here:

Turkana is a semi-arid land of 35,000 square miles located in northern Kenya, bordering Sudan, and Ethiopia, in the north, Uganda in the West, the West Pokot mountains in the South and lake Turkana in the East. The average rainfall in Turkana is 7 inches per per year, which makes it one of the truly dry regions of the world.

The region is populated by the Turkana tribe, of Nilotic origin, some 45,000 in number. The majority lead a nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyle, and live off their herds of cattle, donkeys, camels and goats. A proportion of them has settled down in towns and villages; some are fishing, others cultivating the land, and finally others work in the service sector.

Due to its geographic, climatic and social situation, Turkana faces a number of challenges:

Recurrent droughts that decimate the cattle and people. ? Frequent cattle raids along its borders with its neighbours (insecurity)

Endemic malnutrition and anemia, especially amongst children and pregnant women.

Lack of communication with the outside world (roads, telephones, post)

Lack of educational and professional opportunities compared to other parts of Kenya.

Scarcity of water resources to undertake agricultural projects.

This Diocese has constructed over 130 Primary Schools throughout the District of Turkana. The policy is to encourage as many children as possible (particularly girls) to attend school.

So you see, my dear Sisters, every little contribution means such a lot here. A million thanks once again for what you are doing. I'll try and get a newsletter written about the progress of the Diocesan Guest House and Multi Purpose Education Centre, now in the process of being built. I wish I had a video so I could really give you a better idea.

Keep well and happy and continue to enjoy the many blessings of each new day. Much and special love to each. My love to those at the Villa as well. I hope you are in reasonably good health.

Diocese of Lodwar
PO Box 101 Lodwar
Northern Kenya
Ph: 039321055

PS. I know it greatly adds to the expense but it is sadly necessary to send letters or parcels by Registered Mail to ensure that they reach my hands.




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