With Christmas still relatively fresh in the memory I feel gladdened by the thought that so many people believe in that old motto ‘it is better to give than to receive’ as so many of you have assisted the work of The Kenya Trust in 2007. Thank you very much for this continued support and I hope from these periodic newsletters you get an idea of how much your contributions are helping to improve the lives of others less fortunate than ourselves. From the young people who attend our sponsored music schools to the children who benefit from our policy to improve educational facilities where we can, comes a real expression of gratitude. At Kibera, where two new classrooms were completed a year ago, it is reported that the new facilities are making such a difference to the lives of the children there, many of whom are orphans or from single parent families. They are eager to attend school and education results have improved substantially.
In late November I travelled, along with my wife Cath, to Kenya’s western province to visit the site of our latest project at Irukose (see page 2). Following that trip we joined Ken Clark and Lilian Baker at the Officer Training College, Thika for the annual Territorial Music School which again proved a busy but inspiring week. More details of this event are on page three. During our time in Kenya the country was preparing for a presidential election with many rallies being held. All appeared calm and collected in a land where we have always found people to be friendly and welcoming. It is therefore sad to hear of the clashes and deaths that have occurred between rival factions in the aftermath of the election results. Kenya’s reputation of being
one of the more stable of African countries is under threat and we think of the country and its people at this time. The Salvation Army is well respected in Kenya and we pray for its work and the influence it can have across the territory.
Wes Maughan – Trust Secretary
The trip from Nairobi to the edge of the Kakamega rain forest was an amazing car ride of some seven hours. It seemed that the road system was being upgraded and we were diverted on many occasions to cross country tracks; although that would be speaking highly of some of the terrain experienced. However the beautiful scenery of the Kenya countryside and its wildlife of baboons, zebra and impalas wandering so close to the roadside made up for the shaking our bodies had to endure – that despite the excellent driving of Marshall Currie the Salvation Army’s project manager in Kenya. Our destination, where we were to stay two nights, was the Ronda Christian Retreat, an establishment of real colonial charm. We left wishing that our stay could have been longer.
The visit to the school at Irukose left us in no doubt as to the value of the project to all concerned. Teachers, parents, the children and representatives from the local community gave us a great welcome. Following the customary pleasantries we had a tour of the school where it was evident that the quality of the building work was of a very good standard. Six of the seven classrooms were almost finished leaving one more classroom, the administrative block and toilets to be completed. This was followed by an escorted walk around the immediate area of the school visiting the homes of a number of the children. It perhaps goes without saying that the experience will remain with us for a long time. We left Irukose satisfied that the project is going to be a great success and knowing that all concerned can feel proud of what is being achieved there with a real promise of hope for the future.
The Territorial Music School (TMS)
It is difficult to know what else to say about the Kenya TMS that hasn’t already been mentioned in previous year’s report. It is an excellent event of hard but very rewarding work with students enjoying every minute and treating sleep time as an annoying necessary interlude. Each day activities start with a Praise and Prayer session which rocks and sways to the renown African rhythm. If there is a better way to start the day anywhere else in the Army world I would like to experience it. The UK team of Envoy Kenneth Clark (Director of Music), Lilian Baker, Cath & Wes Maughan were joined by a Kenyan team comprising Territorial B/M Samual Odiara, Territorial S/L Joshua Rwolekla, Ass.Territorial S/L David Shitandi, B/M Lucas Nandwa (Makadara) – Guitar, Meble Birengo (Nairobi Central) – Timbrels and Harry Keya Jnr (Nairobi Central) – Gospel Dance. John Vincent from Hendon, working for The Salvation Army in Kenya, also joined the team and assisted with Brass & Theory. School Directors were Majors Nahashon Njiru and Simon Mbuthu.
The students choose either Band or Chorus and can elect to join one of the optional classes of gospel dance, timbrels, guitar, keyboard or conducting and band training. The Final festival was held at Nairobi Central prior to students dispersing to their homes across Kenya; all that is with the exception of UK students Cheryl Hatcliffe and Jonathan Hall from Bristol Easton Corps who of course (reluctantly it might be added) returned to the UK.
It is good and pleasing to see standards improving each year and to watch the development of individuals many of whom are taking leadership responsibilities in their Corps.
Fund Raising News
Thanks go to all who have donated in some way to the Kenya Trust during 2007. Too many to mention individually but it is realised that many of you would wish to remain anonymous anyway. However it never fails to surprise how and where donations come from and below are some examples of the source of our income and donations.
Staines Primary Sunday School collect pennies, with the help of some older folk, and have raised £650 which is to go towards acquiring mosquito nets for Joytown Secondary School.
Carol Corke, from the Isle of Wight, has provided some 200 school bags for students at Joytown and Irukose and bedcovers for Joytown Primary School. These were made by Carol who has a team of ladies in Newport who help with this effort. The students, particularly at Irukose as the photo on this page indicated, were pleased and excited to receive them. Carol also gave the Trust $1210 given to her by a friend in the Bahamas. The request was for the money to be used to buy matresses for Joytown Primary School.
Another £260 was also donated for beds and bedding. Sleaford United Reform Church adopted the Trust for their 2007 mission project and raised £700 – Thanks to everyone at the Church there in Lincolnshire. In addition to sponsoring the Territorial Music School Bristol Easton held an excellent concert in aid of the Irukose project featuring Fuoco Brass, the Oriel Singers and Easton Band and raised nearly £2000.
The annual ‘Into Africa’ concert at Staines proved an evening of fine music with Darren Bartlett, Salvacosta and Staines Band raising £3000 for the Irukose project From one of their concerts Witton Middle School, Droitwich donated £300. A quiz night at Staines raised £1000. A much appreciated gesture by a supporter from Bristol raised over £2000. He asked colleagues and friends to donate to the Trust in lieu of retirement gifts and then matched the sum raised. ‘Thanks’ just doesn’t seem adequate.
These are just a few examples of what people are doing on behalf of the The Kenya Trust in giving of their time, talents and money for the work in Kenya. The Trust is indeed indebted to all its supporters.