By Rev. Wasike
We always rejoice to learn that we are not alone with our struggles and worries. It is very moving to know that others think about us. Such a moment of joy came this week when Kathleen H. decided to send us some money to buy Stella medicine she badly needs.
Stella is currently on and off in her attendance in school because of health problems. Now, Kathleen’s kindness and assistance will add value to her life. Doctors tell us that well use of antiviral medication and good observation of her diet will soon normalise her life.
On Stella’s behalf, may God remember Kathleen too for remembering others.
In Jesus’ name. Amen
By Rev. Wasike
Immediately after Jennifer donated the money, I called the families through the one of board members and communicated about the donations and their intended purpose. When Kundu’s father received information about the donated seeds, it was God's timings that the father and Kundu plus others in the family seriously became engaged preparing their land for planting.
This gift really enabled this particular family to approach the year in a different style. Kundu and his siblings plus the father are without mother, and though they have land they have been compelled to hire out the same land at a small fee for many years since they never had means to farm the land themselves.
Now they could finally grow their own food. Since the family could not afford a tractor or oxen to come by to plough the land, they had to do it by hand (hoe). Even though this is a slow way of preparations, they had completed a big portion of their land by the time we went to buy the seeds.
Kundu, his father, and Rev. Wasike
Originally, I had wished to buy the seeds in Nairobi, but communication with the family forced me to go and make them select what type crop seeds they thought they could manage without more inputs from outsiders. They had very set ideas about what they wanted to grow. So when I was in Kimilili last week, right away Kundu plus his father and I went into town to buy the seeds in the Agrovet shop.
At this stage, I was a bit surprised with Kundu’s reaction. He did not indicate much happiness, but acted as if it as normal for him to receive the seeds. Then, I looked at Kundu’s father and was challenged when I saw tears flowing, upon receiving the seeds. In fact, he said that did not believe it would happen. He had done all the preparation not quite believing it would actually happen. When handed him his seeds, he wanted to leave immediately. He didn’t even want to stop to take a photo.
It was a cloudy day and showing signs of rain. He just excused himself, saying that he wanted the day's rain to find his seeds in the soil. Two or three hours later, I went to his home because I wanted to discuss with him a difficult situation that persisted for the last few months. And that was, he refused to let Kundu go to school and instead got Kundu casual work looking after cattle for the neighbourhood.
Upon reaching the home of Kundu, I was shocked to see everyone out on the plot of land planting the seeds. It was almost impossible for me to get Kundu’s father to sit down with me to discuss this matter close to my heart, even though I sacrificed time needed with other community members to go there.
As far as one could see, there was a beehive of activity on the plot of the land of Kundu’ family planting the seeds. The father and elder children plus Kundu himself were at peace; joyful and energetic to go the extra mile as long as it meant planting their own food.
I had a short chat with the father and he promised to send Kundu back to school when the school terms start again. Not, only do the seeds provide the family with food, they also enable Kundu to go to school. Among all those who received gifts from Jennifer, my personal rating noted that Kundu’s family saw God through the seeds.
By Rev. Wasike
Our garden project started as many project here start, by taking small steps with big hearts and strong wills. Since the plot of land that our temporary school stands on is too small, the planting was done in various places in the area; depending on the free portion of land donated for this season by the Kimilili community.
We managed to plant cassava plant, maize, cow peace, and kale (sukuma wiki). We are hoping to raise some funds so that we can purchase some land adjoining the school, as well as a plot of land 15 minutes walk away that is bordering on the river.
By Rev. Wasike
There was much happiness in Fatuma’s family of when they received the white goat Jennifer sent them.
Fatuma, her grandmother, siblings, and Rev. Wasike
The colour of the goat was chosen according to the customs/culture value that believes in white colours meaning bigness of blessings. Fatuma lives with her grandmother; hence she received the goat together with her grandmother.
I spent some time over the last day making this presentation to explain my motivation and experiences working with the CBSM community. I hope you enjoy it.
By Rev. Wasike
Here are a few isolated photos of the children wearing their new uniforms. These uniforms are being made for free from one of our sponsors, Palm Security Company. They promise to do uniforms for all the available children in the next weeks. If all goes well, the children will all have their uniforms when the new school term starts in May
Many thanks to the people of Palm Security.
Written by Muna
For the average child born in a developed country, Christmas, Easter and their birthday bring many opportunities to garner myriad of toys from friends, family and acquaintances alike. Most of these toys do not hold the child's attention for long, or maybe they are abandoned for another favorite" toy, or eventually they are passed on as donations to the thrift store or the less fortunate when a new "fancier" toy is acquired. However, this little fact does not take away from the utter joy that a child feels when being showered with a gift, regardless of which corner of the world they grew up in.
So, when little Fadhili, a young student at the Community Breakthrough Support Mission school in Kimilili, Kenya, received a football as a gift from Jennifer (in USA), the utter joy and excitement that he and his classmates felt at receiving such a gift rivals the excitement any child would feel if they were to stay a month in Santa Claus’s toy workshop or even at Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory!
Reverend Wasike purchased the deflated football in Nairobi and brought the gift up to Kimilili to deliver it to Fadhili. When the ball was handed over to him, he was in the school compound with his other schoolmates. In its current deflated state, the ball was not much fun to play with, so Fadhili and his friends rushed into town with much exuberance to inflate the ball. With the task completed, the boys headed back to the school compound and were ready to show off their skills on the playing field.
Having never seen an actual football until then, chaos fueled by overwhelming excitement ensued amongst the kids, as one could only expect. Their childlike squeaks and squeals of excitement drew the attention of the adults who were having a meeting nearby, out into the playing field to see what was happening. What greeted them was nothing short of a comical performance by several young boys staging a display of their football skills.
In their excitement and attempts at play, all rules known to the agile game of football were quickly abandoned. There was no order to the game; the boys were jumping for the ball, running up and down the field, left and right, with each player trying his best to kick the ball. They were all so overwhelmed by this new toy that the game they played had no rhyme or reason to it, but then nobody cared. Each boy was trying furiously to shoot at the ball with his little feet or head. Since there was only one ball for the whole lot of them, many spent the day kicking their feet, or shooting their heads into thin air rather than connecting with the ball. But again, this did not matter. Even the ones who never got the chance to hit the ball would have it no other way. This realization did not devalue the fun they had playing with the football.
The teachers were also drawn into the field, as the noise got louder. They tried their best to impose some order to the mayhem. First, they attempted to isolate Fadhili with the ball so he could play alone with it; after all it was his new toy. But, this was a completely unrealistic situation to enforce and everyone could see that it did not and would not work. The other kids were too curious to stay away from Fadhili. The teachers decided it wise to allow the kids to play freely. Fadhili did not mind in the least sharing his new toy either as long as he was elected team captain.
Even though some kind of decorum was established, the teachers had to still be on high alert. As the saying goes, “boys will be boys”, so it did not take long for complaints of injuries and the like to start flocking in. It seemed the neighborhood children were also being affected by the overwhelming joy coming from the school playing field. It wasn’t long before the boys from the neighborhood were also running for the ball along with kids from the school. Everyone wanted to get involved, everyone except the neighborhood girls who stood by watching in awe from a distance.
Faster than you could say “hello”, the school playing field became too small for the game at play. The teachers and people watching believed that this was one of the reasons why there were so many injuries amongst the kids. But, other than a scratch here and there, no major injuries were reported. This was quite possibly the best day at school the children ever had! The boys will certainly attest to that.
As for little Fadhili, he proudly left the school compound that day with his new football and a guardian for security. In tow were his friends, some old and some new, but all tending to follow him around town with his new toy. Who knew that something as inconsequential as a football – one of the most undervalued toys of this modern day could bring such joy to a small community, and turn a little boy into a Star. Fadhili will remember this day for a very long time coming.
by Rev. Wasike
We all had wonderful moments during the end of school term ceremonies. I’ll post some photos soon and tell you more about the ceremonies. We were so happy that the ceremonies took place in the new compound of the school.
However, it was every busy day for me since I had to attend various meetings with different stake holders of our CBSM projects.
We had general meetings that involved the following:
1. Community –guardians, neighbours, etc. This meeting concerned the care and upkeep of the children and the school
2. Establishing a new fundraising committee. Fortunately, Mr. Edward Makona, Mr. Wanaswa , and Ms. Florence Ghety travelled with me from Nairobi to attend these meetings. They are our Nairobi elected members and we’ve voted in our Kimilili members during this meeting (more later)
3. A meeting with the community leaders
4. Board members
Top on Agenda besides celebrations was:
Members raised concern that the landlord had started selling the adjacent plots to the ¼ acre plot where our school now is. Hence locking us out to expand our current land size (to a needed ¾ acre) and reducing the playing ground of the children since the new buyer of the plot has already fenced his potion. The landlord was fortunately present at the meeting and defended his action by saying that he has not heard from the school board despite having approached them numerous times with offers to sell the land to the school.
We had hoped to rent the land for the next year or two, or until we could raise enough funds to purchase the land and build a new permanent school. It now appears as if we must act quickly and effectively to purchase the land (3/4 acre) or run the risk of losing our present facilities in the time ahead.
It was a very constructive and positive discussion. We all agreed that that the landlord should endeavour to moves the new land owner to another portion of land; to allow the children to play and to allow us time to raise the funds to purchase the land that we are on now, as well as enough land for expansion of the school to one meeting our needs.
This means expanding from our temporary facilities of a 5 classroom building to a permanent facility with 8 classrooms, 3 office (principal, teachers room, medical officer), and kitchen. Currently, the children have no playing field and a very small garden. We would like to offer them an area to play and a larger school garden. We estimate that the minimal amount of land that could contain these would be ¾ acre. That would cost 12,000 USD.
We must now pursue all avenues of fundraising to raise the needed capital. If you have any suggestions about what we can do, please write us (cbsmkenya (at) yahoo (dot) com). If you know how we could in the short term raise 10% of this sum to place as a deposit and thus insuring that the landlord will not sell the land, we’d be grateful. If you know of any organisation or company who would be willing to help finance this purchase we would be very glad to receive the information.
Rev. Wasike is travelling today to Kimilili to attend the end of half term school celebrations.
He sent me the following about this event,
"I will be attending the end of term ceremony, which involves giving awards to the individual children. There are awards such as, who are best clean, best in class, best behaved, best disciplined, most improved. We try to reward our children by giving them some presents, or small sums of money (if available), to encourage them to continue their good work, or to motivate them to do better."
Rev. Wasike has promised to return with stories and many photos. He will take photos, not only of the ceremony, but also of the school garden and the children receiving the gifts Jennifer so kindly donated.
I can hardly wait to see them.