Two of our trustees Mike and Katherine Dare visited the CBCH home in Kisumu in September. It was the first time they had been for a while and so they wanted to catch up with lots of our friends, children and past children of the CBCH home whilst they were there. They certainly packed a lot in to a week and a half.
They brought some wonderful photos back with them. Everyone was really pleased to see them and gave them a tour of the home to see what had been happening since they had last been there.
The tomato crop was growing well in the polytunnel but some had suffered from flooding again. Philemon strongly advised doing the project that had been proposed to raise the level and improve the drainage in January/February when it’s very dry and no crops will be growing. It will cost around £1500 but would be key to improving self sufficiency and making the most of that land.
Philemon showed them the SafariCom router installed two months ago as a trial. It cost 5000 Shillings deposit and 5000 Shillings per month in rental but with a free installation offer. It’s working well! The download speed is 2.5 Mbps and upload speed 2.0 Mbps, better than some parts of the UK! Philemon recognises that range is restricted and may not be able to support multiple computers and it will discontinue when the new project is implemented but in the meantime it is a great help to Philemon and Manase to be able to access the internet at CBCH. There was a power cut one night and CBCH had to operate on their generator. Philemon says they get around 3 such cuts per month and they typically last 1-3 days. This problem may now be more of a hinderance to their work than the days of no internet connection.
Then, lunch time with the children – so disciplined! Pamela & Winnie have imposed good manners and discipline. The children line up quietly, sit properly around the tables in their allotted places, eat well, take their plates back then rinse them and their hands. There is little food spilt on the tables or the floor, it is a very well organised and managed. The children have wonderful manners!
Then it was on to Huma Girls school where Stacy and Mercy attend. Kate and Mike spoke to the Deputy Principal. It is an excellent school and they spoke very highly of our girls. Stacy is “dining supervisor”, and was pouring tea at break when they were there. There are 650 girls. They then went on to visit Jacob Olose, one of our old boys now living in the rural community not far from CBCH. He was at home with his wife Brendah, little daughter Shannel & recently arrived baby Philemon Jr! Many congratualtions! Jacob says that his motor bike work is still providing his income but he would be really happy to now take on better employment. Let us continue to pray for him that that will happen very soon.
Mike and Kate took a trip to visit Bishop Elect Canon Charles, he is very relaxed! He is happy to continue support for CBCH and agreed to talk with Philemon to explore how the home and local churches might develop shared ministries in some way. That would be fantastic. Then on to the new cathedral where they met Dean Zephaniah and were talked in to giving 2500 Shillings for 3 bags of cement! This is how they are raising the money to complete the work. It is moving forward though and is looking amazing.
They had the opportunity to catch up with ex-CBCH children who are now working, doing vocational study or in apprenticeship schemes. They visited X-Elle, the training school for the beauty profession, where Mary Ogutu is taking Hairdressing & a Beauty course. Kate talked to the owner / manager and it all seemed very good. Philemon is going to talk to them further about possible apprenticeship opportunities. Then on to the Scottish Tartan Hotel where they met Samuel, though he had to return on his day off! He put his uniform on and served them sodas!
Mike and Kate visited Tieng’re Primary School to see Alice, the Head Teacher. She says that the Government Department for Education has changed the curriculum, the timings of exams and the issuing of results, and the length of terms. The first two terms have a half term break but the third term, from September to early November has no break. Exams generally start in the last week of October with some schools closing as early as 26th October, others closing the following week. The National KCPE and KCSE exams are then taken without the rest of the school present. Tieng’re Primary School has 134 candidates sitting the KCPE exams this year, 8 are from CBCH. The exams finish by 16th November. The Christmas break is now longer, and the exam results are issued before 20th December so that families can plan ahead to enable Form 1 Secondary children to register in early January rather than February as previously. The families can also ensure they don’t spend all their money over Christmas on food and gifts.
On Sunday was the CBCH Sunday service then afterwards Kate and Mike led a time of prayer ministry with the Standard 7 & 8 children and with Silas & Pamela. They were later joined by Philemon – he had been preaching at one of the Diocese churches that morning. He talked about the CBCH “alumni network”. Philemon is in touch with many people in key positions and this has brought opportunities for the older children over the years. A contact in KEMRI, the local malaria research centre, had brought two orphans to Philemon requesting places for them and offered two opportunities for CBCH children. This led to interviews and jobs being offered. Christophe had a friend in Social Services who visited him at CBCH. Philemon one day asked him if he could employ someone with qualifications in Social Medicine. He took the paperwork to Nairobi and eventually Josiah got an interview and is now working in Nairobi in Medical Services.
Hellen had a job in pharmacy in a local RIAT hospital and they were looking for a medical technician so she texted Paul, who had been at college with her, and they are now working together at St Jairus hospital, with Paul in charge of blood transfusion services. Herbert is a lab technician at Maseno University, Samuel is working at a local hotel having achieved his Diploma in Catering at Kisumu Poly, and Kevin Juma is working in medical research and health at Jaromogi hospital. Mark Oduor & Harun Onyango are doing carpentry at Tungeli Foundation. George Odhiambo makes movies for children in Mamboleo. These are our change agents and we have much to be grateful for!
Before their trip ended, they were able to spend much more time at the CBCH with the children and also the staff. They had a very important conversation with our matron, Pamela, who has many years experience in dealing with children from a social and counselling viewpoint. She loves the work and believes it’s where the Lord wants her to be. The government AFC programme (Alternative Family Care) is encouraging CBCH to be used as respite care base for emergency situations. She recently had 2 children coming to CBCH who had suffered great trauma and possible attack and she was able to care for them and counsel them whilst they were with us. Scripture Gift mission has provided her with a box of resources for her to use in talking through traumas and leading to prayer for God’s healing. For example – Jesus stilled the storm. She makes notes of how the material has been used. She guides our girls to be caring for those in distress without compromising confidences. The two children concerned settled in well and were sorry to leave after a week of loving care. We are very blessed to have Pamela and all of the wonderful staff at CBCH.