Recent visit to Tieng’re Primary School, Kisumu

Alice, the headteacher was currently looking after 720 children (650 a year ago), of which 25% were orphans. Was the number of orphans in the Kisumu County area increasing? Yes, she said, as HIV continued to wreak havoc in many lives. Our trustee remarked to Philemon that fewer children seemed to be sleeping on the streets. “They are there,” he replied, “especially at night time”.

Alice showed them one class of 120+ children, sitting on a thin bench about 4″ wide with a desk about 9″ wide. They greeted us visitors very warmly. In another class of older children (with marginally better desks), 71 were cramped. Peter asked the teacher how he coped. “We do our best” he replied. So many children, so few teachers, although they had classrooms for more classes but simply lacked teachers. Some classes were unusable because of large holes in the floor.

Alice showed us the work that parents of the children had undertaken in preparation for the feeding programme which has been promised by another party. There was quite a big piece of land which had been dug and cultivated with growing kale. A large circular water tank had been built, perhaps 12 feet in diameter and 6 feet tall, a substantial structure holding perhaps 50,000 litres of water, which had been filled so that it could be used to water the plants. No water was yet in it, as it needed lining and a roof to stop evaporation. The tank had sunk a little causing snagging cracks in the concrete. The parents had also built a large netted enclosure, like a polytunnel except it was rectangular in shape which had also been sown with kale plants and pipes for watering.

To enable the feeding programme to get off the ground, the school needs a kitchen to be built and the kitchen utensils to cook with. At this time the feeding programme had languished somewhat without those facilities which was difficult for the parents who had worked so hard on the land to grow the necessary food. We pray that the party helping with that will be able to finish it soon and we pray for more teachers to come forward to help in schools like Tieng’re primary who have the willing students but so few teachers to help them. Do you have teaching skills which you could offer to an African school even for a short term mission trip? If you would like to do that, please do get in touch.