St Dorcas Orphanage – Update May 2016
We would like to update you on our recent visit to the Orphanage at Kipcheria, which is a small remote village in western Kenya; the nearest town Bungoma is an hours drive away.
It was raining when we arrived in Nairobi with our 14 suitcases which weighed around 270kg consisting of clothes, footballs, skipping ropes, tennis rackets, tennis balls (donated by children at Long Marston primary school), toothbrushes (donated by children at Tockwith primary school), colouring books, stationery, new school jumpers & sweets. Following an 8 hour flight to Nairobi, a 50 minute domestic flight to Eldoret and a 3 hour drive on some rough terrain we arrived at the Orphanage to be greeted by the children singing.
The orphanage is run by Matron Juliette/Beatrice and Alex. Two security/handymen live on site.
There are currently 34 children in the orphanage which includes 6 new children who have very recently been taken in, 5 were planned and a further one, Oliver, a boy aged 10 was brought to the gates by his aunty who could not look after him. Oliver’s father had died and his mother abandoned him when they were left with nothing, because Kenyan tradition meant all his father‘s belongings and house were left to the children of his first wife, the second wife (Oliver’s mother) & children got nothing, it’s difficult to comprehend when we live in such a rich society!
All the children go to school; school fees are paid by the ‘Bungoma Calling’ charity. School fees have to be paid even for State run primary schools, which can be anything from 5,000ks – Kenyan Shillings (approx £34) up to 10,000ks (£68) a term depending on the school. We therefore see a number of children working in the fields and collecting water as parents do not have money to send their children to school. It’s difficult to understand this culture as all children should have the opportunity to learn. The work ethic is amazing; the children rise at 6am weekdays for school, homework is completed every night after supper with the older children helping younger ones. Every Saturday is spent washing their own clothes, washing floors and generally tiding up.
Meals consist of porridge, a variety of beans, spinach, rice, mandazi (Swahili buns) & ugali (maize). The Orphanage now has 2 fields which most years will provide enough maize and beans for all the year. There are also currently 50 chickens; this is the second batch of chicks and they are laying enough for the children, and also to be sold locally. The money made is used to buy chicken feed which is very expensive. Additional solar panels were put in last year which has reduced the use of mains electricity. There are also 3 new water tanks.
As on our previous visits we were asked to lead the Sunday School Service and yet again there were approx 120 children from the surrounding villages (not the usual 30 we normally have on a Sunday in Tockwith Church). The programme was based on our Messy Church programme of Giving and Sharing.
120 Children made wooden spoon puppets
The most recent project was funding a cow to provide milk for the orphanage, the cow gave birth whilst we were there and it’s so cute.
The Bicycle bought over a year ago to sell eggs locally is still going strong; here is Isaac who is currently studying Journalism at Nairobi University.
To get a clearer picture of what has been going on over the last few years the pictures below show before and after, the old site and the new site:
The Orphanage building pre 2013:
And the new site 2016:
The old dormitories pre 2013:
And now 2016:
All the children in the Orphanage are happy, there is no rough and tumble fighting, very little upset and sharing comes naturally. They adore the time we spend together, playing and learning English songs and ways. Modelling balloons were a new activity this time.
It is such a pleasure & a privilege to be with these wonderful children.
www.Bungomacalling.co.uk: Visit by Revd Roy Shaw/Angela Jenkins/Karen & Neil Stobert