June 2007 letter from Sister Yvonne in Kenya

Dearest Brian and Lynn,

To start on a light note, our good friends, Mercy Endeavour in Australia, recently donated some electric hair clippers. Ronald, our night watchman, sets up a hair cutting salon on the verandah each Saturday morning. The children love getting their head rubbed with baby oil when the haircuts are finished. Their heads really shine.

Mercy Endeavour also donated an electric sewing machine. Penina, one of the cooks at Bethany House, is making school uniforms for the children in the Vulnerable Children’s Programme during her holiday break. It gives Penina a little extra money.

Photos of these two micro enterprises appear below.

  

Now to some very significant developments. You’ll be pleased to hear news of some of the ‘signs of hope’ here without my denying the extreme nature of the poverty and suffering that go hand in hand in this desert place.

Each month the Diocese produces a newsletter. This coming month they hope to write an article on our ‘Vulnerable Children’s Programme’. This is the Programme I have been involved with as you know and one that has received much generous financial support from friends. There will be accompanying photos included. Brian I shall get this article on a disk and send to you to use as you wish. I won’t elaborate on it now but wait and see how comprehensive the coverage is. If I feel it does not give sufficient information I will add any additional pieces of interest to our friends and donors.

What I would say now is that the children and families involved in the Programme have shown obvious signs of improvement in social interaction as well as health and hygiene. The families involved meet regularly and share their support. We have this month moved into two other adjoining shanty like towns. A survey is currently being carried out to identify those most in need. The Church has a small Nursery School in this area so we hope to be able to use that as a base. I am confident this will also go well. 

We hope to have our crèche project in operation starting next month. The crèche consists of two circular buildings in keeping with the traditional places here. They look marvellous with their thatched roofs and are remarkably cool. I will try and send some photos showing the progress of these buildings. The larger building will be for the children and their carers and the smaller for the necessary preparation of food and other requirements. We will start slowly and set good foundations.

The crèche will be used also as a place where parents and carers can attend workshops and training in health care, hygiene and other life skills. UNISEF has offered to provide funding for such training. 

In a previous letter I told you of Lyn Creber, a grandmother from Yamba who came last year and gave a year’s voluntary service. Lyn set up a weaving centre which proved very successful. In fact it proved so successful the Bishop acquired funding and has had built a grand place called Lydia for the work to continue. Another skilled Kenyan woman, Cecilia, has carried on with Lyn’s good work and it has gone from strength to strength. For those of us who didn’t know, Lydia was the lady in the bible who was a weaver of purple. As you would suspect the doors and windows have been painted purple. 

This building is beside the crèche. The young women who do the weaving are mostly unmarried with no one to care for the children while they work. Their children will be able to attend the crèche. Some of the younger women in the VCP will be rostered to assist with the running of the crèche. We will also engage a qualified nurse as manager and employ a Social Worker. It is hard to believe this dream is now almost a reality thanks again to our generous friends.

Another friend from Australia, Louise Bernard, Has visited twice and will return again early next year. Louise is a nurse and works part time as lecturer at the Australian Catholic University. Louise has done much to promote the idea of sponsoring children here. She and her family are already doing much in this regard. There are now a number of families who have taken on the responsibility of sponsoring students. I do thank you most sincerely, on behalf of the families, for the financial and moral support you provide. 

The main purpose of this letter then, dear Brian, is once again to thank you and Lynn and all those people who pray for us and those who generously make it possible for the carrying out of the Gospel work here in this very impoverished place. May you in turn be abundantly blessed.

All my love,



Turkana Province - Kenya

 

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