Archive for March, 2011
As the workers prepare the columns which will hold up the roof, they are also putting in the walls for the shower and toilet stalls. Once the stone work is complete and the roof on and the plumbing finished, then tile will be placed on these stone walls to make a lovely shower.
For the past five years there has been a workers’ shed in front of the St. Clare Centre. It is here that the workers stored materials and tools. As the sanitation block is moving to completion it was time to clean up the front of the Centre. So the shed came down!!!! All materials will be stored in the back of the Centre so allow a safe place for the girls to play and recreate in the front.
The removal of the workers’ shed is a sign we are getting to the end of the construction. While a few workers took down the shed, it was really the donations of hundreds of people in the US, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Singapore who have made this possible. Without your generous doantions, the shed would still be there and St. Clare would still be just a few rooms on the ground floor.
Thank you. YOU TOOK DOWN THE SHED.
The short rainy season is just weeks away and everyone is racing to put the roof on the sanitation block before the rains arrive. If the rains arrive before the roof, then we will lose a month until the rains cesase.
Once the cement roof is on, then men can continue to work on the inside even when it rains. The stone walls are up and you can see in this photo.
The metal gives strength to the columns.
Once the metal is shaped then a wood structure is built around them to hold the cement. Cement is then poured into the forms and then everyone waits for the cement to cure.
So they must be taught. The Adrian Dominican Sisters have initiated the St. Clare Society to fill the parental gap. The older girls will be inducted into the St. Clare Society and it is their responsibility to be Big Sisters to the new and younger girls, teaching them how to use the facilities and basic norms of etiquette.
At a special ceremony, each of the new St. Clare Society members was presented with a medal of St. Clare which marks her as a Big Sister.
5TH FEBRUARY 2011
By Mr. Ken
A teacher at St Clare Girls’ Center
From the look of things, it appeared to be an ordinary Saturday evening. Glamorous faces of children running helter skelter, expectant of a fun-filled weekend. Life out of class Indeed! The compound had scattered small groups of four to six girls that could be seen playing different games. Some were throwing pebbles in the air and anxiously waiting for them to come down as the harsh force of gravity pulled the pebbles down into the hands of the participants. Wonders were busy in their “bee-hive activities”. Teachers were pacing up and down in a relaxed manner, informally relating to the wonderful populace of girls from St. Clare. The principal’s voice could be heard now and then, requesting final touches on this or that. To crown it all, changes were established on people’s faces when Fr. Riwa “militarily” appeared. A wind of excitement blew across the school compound. From afar, Mr. Muema, the catechist, could be seen finalizing the yet-to-be-baptized. He had even suspended his glasses on his stripped brown new t-shirt, since possibly they were giving them a blurred view,
A heightened length of excitement however, came to an end when a whisper blew across that it was time to assemble in the Chapel. We all queued to gain access to the blue painted chapel doors. One by one, we entered like animals being escorted to an abattoir, in fact meek sheep. And yes we are, for the Lord is our shepherd! We silently took places in chapel. Teachers took rear seats while students occupied the front seats. Singing took over next, but the songs were cut short by the presence of the father and his alter assistants. The chapel suddenly turned mute. It maintained its good looks with clean well spread covers. Father and his aides majestically marched in.
Ever intriguing, Fr. Riwa began by an explanation for the delay. He later led prayers the Catholic way. Slight movements of the altar assistants in their sparkling white robes were barely noticeable. Baptismal godparents were then requested to occupy front-most seats for convenience. Names of participants to be baptized were then called and they all trickled to the front. Meanwhile, singing was on a crescendo. It was however stopped for the stage to be set.
Not to forget the jaunty American Sisters were present. Full of life and warmly fitted in the congregation, I personally admired the zeal with which they clapped to a time of Swahili songs. In fact, Sister Kathryn was among the baptismal godparents. Jovial and composed she looked.
The Mass was carried out with a lot of energy. Questions were asked here and there as the congregation looked on and would once in a while be involved. Dusk didn’t steal away Father Riwa’s sight. As the message of the day boiled down into the congregations’ mind, he was passing on the light to the innocent girls. Candles were symbolic light for the girls to henceforth light the world with good deeds and character. The Word of God was deeply touching for me. Colorful snapshots from our journalists added to the décor.
Though we had waited for the Mass, it was worth it. At least this bearded man of God had satisfactorily fed us spiritually. Surely. White hair and more so a white beard is a sign of wisdom as the Meruans say. Fr. Riwa proved this. What a day.
Mr. Ken is a new teacher at St. Clare, He began in January 2011 and brings much enthusiasm to his classes.
The only requirement to be admitted to the Children’s Village is that you be either orphaned or abandoned. Religion is not a factor. While at the Children’s Village the children are exposed to Christianity and can choose to be baptized if they wish. Several weeks ago, after many months of preparation, about 40 of the older girls made the decision to be baptized. Below is the story of that event as told by their classmates.
BY THE ST. CLARE PHOTOJOURNALISM CLASS
Wow! What a wonderful day it was. Twenty St. Clare girls celebrated the Sacrament of Baptism on 5th February 2011. The overjoyed girls attended Mass at 5 o’clock that was celebrated by Father Francis Limo Riwa.
As customary, the choir members commenced the hymns. They sang at the top of their voices while everyone was enthusiastically waiting for the priest. Suddenly, Father appeared and the entrance hymn began. He greeted the congregation and opened with a word of prayer. He then requested those who were to be baptized and their sponsors to come forward.
The congregation was now very silent to the extent that one could feel the spirit of God moving in our midst. The white bearded priest, Fr. Riwa, invited the congregation to pray for those being baptized. He continued saying that the sponsors had the vast responsibility to help the children follow Christ’s way. Later on, both priest and sponsor blessed the children after which the scriptures were read.
Following the readings from the book of the prophet Ezekiel 36:24-28, Father Riwa explained that water cleanses the hearts which are hardened and also by the power of God the water does something which is beyond the natural. In the second reading, Romans 6:3-5 and gospel, Matthew 28: 18-20, we leaned that Jesus commanded us to be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and to belong to God’s family.
Holy oil was applied to the children so that evil cannot destroy or harm them. This also initiated them into he body of Christ. Il was applied on the forehead and chest to enable them to be responsible for themselves and to others. They were given a white cloth to show that they were new and belonged to Christ and that they should be clean in their hearts.
They were given candles, that the sponsors lit for them, to help them walk in the light of Christ. Father Riwa asked them to bury their old lives, wash away all evil of the past and be new people. He also told them to live the faith and be children of light.
The ceremony ended and we had a word of thanks from Sister Kathryn, who said that she was happy for the long awaited day. The cheerful girls walked out of the church expressing their joy to the other girls. It was truly a joyful day.
The next morning at the 6 am Mass, the newly baptized were welcomed to receive the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist.
The Photojournalism Class was begun in January by Sr. Kathryn and Lisa Peracchio when Lisa was visiting. It continues with Madam Frederica (the Journalism teacher) and Sr. Kathryn.
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The Children’s Village is surrounded by land where crops and animals are raised to help sustain the 850 children living there. Fr. Riwa is able to provide meat once a week to the children because he has a very successful pig farm. Nancy, a high school sophomore, reflects on the significance of these animals for the Children’s Village.
It was on Wednesday when we visited the pig farm. These pigs are under the care of Father Francis Limo Riwa, founder of St. Clare Girls’ Center.
His pigs are very huge animals. They are white in colour while some have both black and white. This type of pig is well known in Kenya as the best pork meat. It has a white flesh that is full of fat. So, it is eaten and enjoyed by human beings. In Kenya most people enjoy the pork except the Muslims.
Pork is very nutritious meat. But the pork differs here in Kenya depending upon how the pig is fed and how it is treated. Some are not washed neither are they fed well. They must forage for themselves. Others, for example, Father Francis’, are washed every day. Their stalls are well cleaned so that the pigs have a clean environment. Pigs that are clean and well fed provide healthy meat for the human body.
Pigs that are well taken care of have a gestation period of one hundred and fourteen days. In only three months the piglets can be eaten. Father Francis does not have to buy meat for the children at St. Francis School and St. Clare Girls’ Center, for he uses his pigs for their meat. So the pigs provide food for us and develop our economy. By selling the meat to those who cannot afford to raise pigs, income is provided for our schools.
I believe that pigs should be taken care of the way Father Francis does because pigs are part of God’s creation and are very important to our nutrition and health.
DO YOU KNOW HOW TO PREPARE GITHERI?
HERE ARE SOME TIPS…
Actually, what worries me is that you might not be familiar with how to prepare it. Below is the traditional procedure for preparing githeri:
1. Have the amount of both maize and beans in kg. according to the number of students/family members you plan to serve.
2. Wash beans and maize and put them in different sufurias (pots).
3. Put a separate sufuria, on the fire with the proper amount of water. Add the maize. Leave it to boil for about 40-50 minutes.
4. Firewood is essential to make the cooking fire.
5. After the maize cooks add the beans and cook them for about one hour. The fire should be kept lit during this entire time. Now the githeri will be ready but not delicious.
6. To make it delicious use another sufuria to fry chopped onions. Use cooking fat and salt.
7. If you want to make your food more delicious, you can add tomatoes, potatoes, kale or cabbage and carrots.
8. After using all of these vegetables the food will really be delicious and nutritious.
This is how we prepare our healthy nutritious food. After all githeri contains:
Maize – carbohydrates that are energy giving.
Beans – that are proteins that are bodybuilding.
Vegetables – that contain vitamins that protect from disease.
This is one of our simple foods. I think if you try to cook githeri, you will find it enjoyable, you will share it with others and you will always have an interest in cooking githeri.
Wow! How amazing is it to prepare githeri?
Ann is a Form II student (sophomore year) at St. Clare