More visitors making tracks for Lodwar

 Sister Yvonne Channells sends us an another update 

My dear Brian,

Much has happened since I last wrote to you. People make contact with us from from all over, often as a result of stumbling over our website. There is no hope of me doing justice to the majority of events that have taken place or the people who have visited. I will simply start from the most recent happenings and see what else comes to mind.

On Saturday we sent off a group of twelve people who had been visiting us from New York. They call themselves “Friends of Turkana’ and they have been fund raising for projects in Turkana for quite a number of years. For the majority it was their first visit but several had been here a number of times. Father Mark Lane, the priest who is the catalyst of the group worked as a volunteer for three months in Turkana many years ago. He is the Pastor of the Oratory Church of St Boniface in Brooklyn new York. And can you believe it... he is an  Australian and originally hailed from Sydney! What a small world. Anyhow, It was a good chance to brush up on my rusty Australian accent to make sure it hasn't become lost in the Turkana desert .

Fr Mark's group wanted to have the opportunity for some ‘hands on’ involvement whilst here in Lodwar. We asked them to work with the VCP carers in the preparation and planting of little individual garden plots. We tried to imitate a similar project I saw in Johannesburg on my way to Turkana a number of years ago. The garden plots were the size of a door and each person was responsible for their own particular plot. Ours are the size of sleeping mats since regular sized doors are in pretty short supply around here and we were badly in need of a role model.

Now there are thriving little garden plots all around our office here for the Napatet group of VCP families. The idea is to have some vegetables to supplement the maize and beans ration of food they already receive every two weeks. The amount of care each "gardener" takes of their designated plot will determine what is produced. We are longing for rain of course and keeping the goats away is always a huge challenge.

Recent Lodwar visitor - New York Deputy Mayor, Linda Gibbs

Linda Gibbs, one of the group members is also Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services in New York. She celebrated her 50th Birthday whilst they were here so we gave her a special party at Bethany House. Linda’s husband Tom had wanted to honour her with a big celebration in in some New York venue. Instead Tom agreed to her preferred choice of a trip to Turkana with him and their two children, Ryan and Leo. The names of the other remarkable people making up this group were Torkil Heggstad, Paul Kennedy, Gerri Hernandez, Elizabeth Bailey, Millie Tamm, Mike Hogan and daughter Anna. What a group!

As I write we have three doctors from the World Health Organisation staying at Bethany House. Two men are from Bangladesh and one woman comes from Zimbabwe.

There has been world wide concern about the outbreak of polio in our area and other doctors from around the world have visited previously. So far there have been 17 confirmed cases. There are 9 cases of children between one year and three years of age, 2 cases of children between three and five, 4 cases of children between five and fifteen and two seventeen year old women one of whom is pregnant. It is very worrying when this disease is preventable by the mere administration of some little pills.

There have already been a number of polio campaigns but they are now preparing for another major one. There is much insecurity in border areas where health workers are reluctant to go. There are also many people in very remote areas unable to be reached by vehicles. The Diocesan medical staff goes regularly by Terre des Homme plane to remote areas but there are still others not reached. Attention has to be finally given to this area by the Government.

Yesterday a young Italian woman studying anthropology in Norway arrived to do some research. Marianne has a German husband. She found us via your website Brian. You can understand what I mean when I say; the world is getting continually smaller.

Since this is already quite lengthy I will conclude for the day. Soon though I will try and send a small account of our wonderful Anzac Day Celebration in Nairobi. I have some good photos of our Lisa, the Australian High Commissioner... playing two-up would you believe!!! Well, it was Anzac Day afterall.

Loads of love, thanks and blessings Brian and Lynn including your family and our many mutual friends. Keep well and peaceful.

Lodwar Diocese
Turkana Province




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