Archive for October, 2011
It is not a “thing of beauty” but it is beautiful to see the huge septic tank being filled in, shovel by shovel. It took two months of 26 people working all day to create the hole. It partially filled-in when there was a collapse on one side, but fortunately it was lunch time and no one was in the hole.
Now we only need to install the processing pumps and pipes to bring the grey water to the drainage field and we can call it a success.
For many years, for several months each year, Marilyn and John Parker have been traveling to Kenya from Conneticut to assist non-profits who care for the orphans in Kenya. They were our neighbors in Meru and we have depended on them for accurate information about conditions in Kenya. You can view their website at www.theparkerplace.org. Earlier this year Marilyn wrote giving us the first sign of the drought and impending famine: “In June, a month when we got there, the crops in the shambas were about a foot high – and then in August, there was nothing. Everything had just dried up – because there was no rain at all in that two or three month period. People had no maize and no beans to harvest – and so nothing to eat – and nothing to sell to get some money to buy food – and nothing to plant now for the next season, when, we pray, the rains do come.”
Then last week came the good news via Normand and Sheila Pelladeau, Canadian lay missionaries with whom we worked. Normand was our construction adviser for building St. Clare and the Siena House. They are presently working in the neighboring diocese of Isiolo building hospitals for Mater Care. Sheila wrote the most encouraging words about rain:
”Rain seems imminent. On Sunday we had rain. It lasted about 15 minutes. Wonderful! However, prices are rising all the time here, how this will get reflected via thepeople, we wonder!”
The good news is THE RAIN! All are hoping this is a sign the long rains of November will be coming on schedule and all will be able to plant in December and harvest in April. That is the hope! That is the prayer!
Everything is Kenya is built with stone blocks quarried out of the hills around the country. Cement and blocks is the basic. When it came time to build the pump house for the septic system the stones had to be delivered by truck, dumped on the ground and then each stone has to be shaped because like snowflakes, no two blocks are alike.
The workmen do this ‘shaping’ with simple machettes and a lot of back breaking work over many hours.
We continue to make progress on the septic system. The next step is installation of the pump system but that can only be installed after electric power is available to the system.
Ever since Jim and Anita Sullivan of Dubuque, Iowa, heard of the work of Father Riwa and the Friends of Kenyan Orphans, they have been avid supporters. That was two years ago. However, now their 7 year old son, Joseph, is involved. Here is the story.
Anita was packing school lunches one day when Joseph remarked “I am tired of Peanut Butter.” Since the Sullivan’s had just received word of the Kenyan drought’s effects on the food supply for the girls at St Clare, Anita felt it necessary to share the situation with Joseph. About 20 minutes later he appeared with his piggy bank and its contents, $61.00. Handing the money to his mom, Joseph said “Those children need food more than I need to save up for a car or college or an iPod. Oh, and Peanut Butter is OK too.”
In Lansing, Michigan, 8,000 miles from Nchiru, Kenya, a sixth grade student, Maya Hecksel is raising funds for the girls at St Clare Girls’ Center. This is how Maya does it. She makes jewelry from Dichroic glass, sells it, then gives 5% of her profits to the St Clare Girls Centre. Already Friends of Kenyan Orphans has received a $75.00 check from Maya who has promised to do this each quarter.
Maya writes “ I will be keeping them [ the girls ] in my prayers, and hope for the best for them.”
We are impressed with Maya’s business acumen, creativity and especially with her great generous heart.
Thank you, Maya, you are an inspiration to us all.
Without a sewer system in the bush, in order to avoid an outbreak of disease it has been necessary to build a septic system. In the midst of the famine and drought the workers never stopped working and last week they were able to put the top on the huge concrete tank. You can get a feel for the size of this structure when compared to the size of the workers on the roof.
The huge tank consists of four sections through which waste water will pass, be processed and exit as reusable grey water destined for watering and fertilizing crops.
Once the concrete top was poured and firm the workers returned to add man-hole covers by which each individual tank can be accessed to service pumps. Sr. Kathryn wrote: “The engineer who is responsible for constructing the septic system is hopeful of having the work done by the end of this week. Then they will install the pumps and grinder and finally connect the newly laid sewer drain pipes to the system. I am assured, there will be no more leaking, no more backing-up, no more raw sewage standing around the kitchen and our front yard! Can I believe it? Part of me says, This is Kenya, no way” but the better part of me where hope springs eternal says, “Yes, yes, yes.” The men, from Engineer James who is wonderful to work with, down to the laborer who carries and pours bags of concrete into the mixer, or with a ponga (machete) cuts the saplings to the
correct length and angle have all worked tirelessly and ceaselessly. I have such admiration for the Kenyan workers. They have been totally dedicated, even risking their lives at some stages of digging the septic system. Twice during the digging there were cave-ins in the big hole. Through God’s grace, it was during lunch break so no one was killed. It frightened some of the children
terribly for it sounded like bombs. But do you know, every man returned to work that afternoon and the next day. We redoubled our prayers for their safety.”
This was the major project and now it is ready for the installation of the pumps and pipes. But first we must build the powerhouse which will house the electricity for the pumps. One step at a time, but it is progress in the right direction. It is hoped this whole system will be operational in a month.
Several months ago the Archdiocese of Cologne in Germany provided the funding to build a permanent entrance for the St. Clare Centre. Up to now it has been a “make shift” entrance made up of discarded boards and rusty metal sheets used for roofing. It was a constant problem for it was alway falling down and did not provide security for the girls for anyone could push it open.
There were several incidences in the local village which caused Fr. Riwa to be concerned about the girls at St. Clare. Gratefully the Catholic Community in Cologne provided the funds for this secure entrance.
Safe at last.
Thank you to our brothers and sisters in Germany for your caring.
Over the past month we have informed you of the famine in Kenya and the critical situaiton at the Children’s Village. Several weeks ago we sent out an email asking for your help in feeding the children during this crisis. We are most grateful for your generous response. With the money donated Fr. Riwa is able to feed the children for the next six months.
While every penny donated made this possible we want to especially thank the following people for their very generous and significant donations: Diane and Dan Henry, the Catholic people of Bavaria (Germany), the Church of the Resurrection in (Dubuque, Iowa), Paul Lavins, Susan Montgomery, Jack Horrigan, William and Marjorie Dettlof, Sandra Hagenbarth, Tom and Carol Cracchiolo, Sharon Kress and Mary and Bob Leisure.
A month ago this had all the markings of a tragedy, but through your generosity you have transformed this situation into a miracle. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We are so very grateful to you. This was an international effort as wonderful people from all over the world responded with love and compassion. I am very confident the Lord will bless you for your kindness.
God love you.
Bud and Sue Ozar
Marilyn and John Parker have been coming to Kenya for many years, volunteering their talents for several months each year. Last year while traveling on the other side of Mount Kenya they discovered Jane and her brother and brought them to Fr. Riwa. To support them, they found sponsors among their friends in Connecticut. At St. Clare it was discovered Jane had a severe limp caused by a birth defect, but a defect which surgery could correct. This year Marilyn and John returned to Kenya and they brought the $400 necessary for the surgery. Jane is pictured here in the courtyard of St. Clare on her crutches. The surgery was a successand now the focus is on her healing. Thanks John and Marilyn.
Sarah Wamburi is the administrator at St. Clare. It is her job to take care of all the administrative details. She recently sent this email.
“I know Father Riwa, is worried what the children will eat tomorrow and the day after, where they will live, what they will wear and mostly what will become of them in the future. The world doesn’t differentiate. When food prices go up, they go up for us too. When medical care and clothing go up, same for us also. We are not given an exemption and everyday it gets tougher and more and more children, needy and elderly people are crying for help. I know how difficult it is for Father Riwa to turn his back on them, how much it weighs him down when he can’t offer the much needed assistance. I know all of this comes back to you, and everyday more is required from you. But I believe God placed us in different capacities with a purpose and has given us responsibilities that he knows we can handle, of course through his grace. This is his work, which he is doing through all who are involved so he will provide whatever is needed including good health, strength, favour, ideas etc.”
A special Food Campaign has been started to assist the children. ANYONE WISHING TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE SPECIAL FOOD FUND CAN SEND A CHECK TO ‘FRIENDS OF KENYAN ORPHANS’ (920 BERKSHIRE ROAD, GROSSE POINTE, MI 48230) or send a donation on PayPal through this website.