Jambo to All our wonderful family friends and supporters !!! We are hoping you are All fine, as the year seems to be’ flying’ fast, with so much happening here at Footprints its hard to believe we are nearly half way thrugh the year.
The children send many greetings to you All, as you will see from the newsletter even wanting to send you messages of thanks in their own words. !! They are doing so well and remaining relatively healthy, are only concern is Njoki who seems to be having side effects from the strong medication she has to take for her HIV , but she remains happy and smiley and enjoying school with her new friends from the community. I finally found the courage to disclose to Bakari his HIV status, I was so worried of his reaction, but you know I was so so proud of his bravery and strength to accept his situation, Uncle Patrick and I spent a long time explaining and counselling him making him feel we would always support him and ensuring his health would continue to improve like it has since living at Footprints. We will continue to monitor his emotional state but lets hope he will be ok, when I look at how far he has progressed in everyway since living at Footprints, not only in his academic performance, but his ability to always be determined with everything he gets involved in, recently he has been selected to run 100/200 mtrs for the school reaching County level !! His personality makes us smile and at the same time showing so much respect and kindness to everyone around him. He sure deserves to be successful in life lets pray for him always!! The other children are also doing well at school too even George, although still very ‘cheeky’ is learning fast, speaking English and Kiswahili , counting to 20, knowing his colours , Dotty and Tumaini our little princesses are flourishing in their new kindergarten class with the other 17 children we now have in our kindergarten class. We recently took them All on a trip to Mombasa to a ‘zoo’ it was such a lovely day, with many of the community children not even seeing the ferry and sea or even travelling in a vehicle before. Jane turned 17 last week I can’t believe she’s turning into a beautiful young lady I’m so proud. Hadija is also growing, even taller than me now, nearly reaching TO Uncle Patrick’s height !! and so confident in her English speaking and so expressive in her self-belief, I hope and pray but really believe with the continued support we are All giving them indirectly their futures will be Blessed and their lives will be successful and peaceful !! Thank you to each and everyone for helping make this happen, its amazing to see the transformation I’m so priviliged to see the daily changes But road to success isn’t without its challenges some days I despair.
We have been so desperate for rain for so long and with our desperate attempts to get water from our river source that’s gave us so many challenges, Uncle Patrick and our staff worked tiresely to repair the en gine at the pump house, finally they succeeded and it was a great blessing when two weeks ago the rains started to fall !!!! Our tanks filled so quickly and all the trees and plants quickly started to come alive for the community around it was a Blessing, as I’ve been driving up and down I constantly see the local farmers working morning to night preparing their farms ready for the rains so that they can harvest good crops, it is their way of surviving and putting food on the table !!, many of our parents pay their small school fees in vegetables and fruits from their land . We started to build our school toilets that we put on hold because of the lack of water, we started our ‘chicken project’ thanks to our lovely Dixon Family who during their visit saw our attempt to make us a little self-sustainable. But God works in mysterious ways and with the rains came the destruction ! Over the last week the rains have been so heavy, the 20foot deep hole that had been dug by hand by the local fundis collapsed in our rubbish hole also collapsed along with the outside store walls started collapsing it was like a monsoon, we needed the rain for washing but then our housemothers just couldn’t keep up with the drying it was ‘chinese laundry’. Fortunately the children were kept dry but the weather took it out on our lovely staff whose homes aren’t as near protective being made from mud and sticks, Uncle Julius , Aunty Anne AND Aunty Syrianna suffered bouts of malaria and Nywa our new maintenance hand suffered Typhoid fever !! so the children have been working around the home and happy to do so, to help with jobs when the staff have been sick !!
Last week we celebrated World Orphan Day with 8 other children’s home in and around our county around 200 children altogether and was so excited and overwhelmed when Rapheal cried out that he had seen his sister Ann who had been placed in another children’s home 3 yrs previous, they had no contact since that day, it was wonderful to see him so happy although Ann was a little unsure of recognising Raphael to start with, she is the double of Joseph, Raphael’s brother who also lives with us at Footprints. We are organising another day when all 3 siblings can meet and who knows maybe we can start the process of re-uniting them all together to live at Footprints.
George, Dotty and Tumaini continue to thrive in everyway, especially at school with their new friends, their English is so good and their confidence is growing day by day, George even taking his own lessons in ‘George style’ so ‘bossy’ (I wonder who he is taking after !!!) but so funny…..
Footprints Academy is progressing in so many wonderful ways, out of 12 schools in our Zonal area we are at the top of the list and this week we have another teacher starting, as next term Mdm Margaret our kindergarten teacher will go on maternity leave so Mdm
Mercy will take her place, at the moment helping in all the classes to have a better understanding of our children’s educational needs, she is also Montessori trained with also a Diploma in Kenya ECD so lets hope with the children’s determination to learn which is so admirable, each and everyone striving for success and the parents too showing that they want their children to get the quality education that will eventually move them
away from the poverty circle they are in, we get fruit and firewood and charcoal in exchange for school fees, everybody wins !! I love seeing the children becoming confident and smiling with every step they make, the school is amazing, but with only 2 classrooms and our kindergarten classroom we will struggle to move the children up to the next classes next year, so we hope the fundraising that is taking place by so many of you will start to build our fund to let us grow our school!!!
Our dream of getting our very own borehole to end our desperate need for water is growing closer with Kevin working daily communicating with drillers and specialists to get us the best information and costs and seeking funding to be able realise our dream !!
So let me express my sincere thank you to You All who continue to follow ‘our journey’ here at Footprints its been an overwhelming 5 yrs since the vision began and with everyone’s belief , support and hardwork we are changing the lifes of so many children and people around the community.
Special thanks to Jenna, Kevin and our UK Committee who work tiresely for Footprints organising the recent Sponsored Walk and not forgetting our 5th Annual Charity Ball on 5th October 2013 at the new St. George’s Park (the training camp for our England Footpball teams) in our hometown of Burton-On-Trent. It was wonderful last year to see so many faces from all over the country who had previously visited footprints and met our children, I hope to see many more this year.
Once again Asante Sana and God Bless You All……
Mama Kerry, Uncle Patrick, staff teachers, 18 children and 42 school children, 2 goats, 2 dogs and one chicken (recently given as a present) !!
FOOTPRINTS ORPHANAGE CHARITY BALL
Our annual Charity Ball will be held at The Hilton at St Georges Park on 5th Oct 2013. Join us for a champagne reception, 3 course meal, raffle, auction & fabulous live music from The Mercy! For more info & to book tickets, please email email@example.com.
Happy new year to each and everyone of our dear friends and supporters Everyone, childrAen, staff and myself hope your Christmas and new year celebrations were joyful and happy. We thank you from deep within our hearts for your kind wishes, gifts and extra fundraising events over the Christmas period. Here at Footprints we celebrated in the very traditional way, made extra special this year by our very own Footprints 1st Nativity Play. (A real Oscar winner for anyone who saw i!!!) Every child played a very special character from Samwell as Jesus. Hadija played the part of Mary, Ali and Bakari were Angel Gabriel and award winning performance by Rapheal as King Herod. Kijana and Joseph joined together to be the donkey!!!! Hassan a Wise Man Mary was a shepherd Dotty Tumaini and George (when He wanted to) were angels !!! The children worked so hard leading upto Christmas practicing their lines and ALL in English !! We made all the costumes from anything we could find from sheets, blankets, rope but how the children showed their confidence it was a real proud moment when they performed in front of an many people coming from afar to see them including some of the children’s remaining guardians who we invited for the day so they could see the children in their new home environment , some had never seen where the children were living so it was a very special day. !!!
As for our’ little school’, the success and exam results of last term with children from the community joining the older children in class encouraged us to take in more children from the community to join the younger children in their class, and also start our kindergarten so the children get that all important foundation from the beginning. So on 7th January we re-opened Footprints Academy with a total of 58 children!!!! Another milestone in the success of Footprints !! Without good education our children would never be able to achieve a better standard of living and move away from poverty, it was our vision to ensure their future would mean they moved away from the circle of poverty they were been into and in the last two years of frustration and tears it was obvious they were never going to get quality education from the local gvt school they first attended to achieve our vision !!! So after sleepless nights I decided we had to do it ourselves !!!! Big decisions again, last year was trial and error (and I,m sure in the months to come it will be the same) but we knew we couldn’t have a school for just our children, so now we are out reaching to so many more children in the villages offering opportunity and hope !! We already near ending the end of January and the school has been open for 3 weeks !! The children are desperate to learn they are like’ sponges’ just soaking up as much as possible. There have been amazing moments to watch and hear, George, Dotty and Tumaini now have 17 other friends to learn and play with, there is big competition in the upper primary classes, Bakari, Jane Hadija already battling for top positions, even Hassan , Joseph , Njoki, Anna and little Samwell trying so hard to read and understand, everywhere I look there is a child with a book in hand, some of them, particular the new children just looking at pictures and smiling and laughing, can you imagine some of these children have never seen a story book !!! We are trying to make uniforms so they all feel proud of themselves, selling them at cost for the other children, the parents are paying in oranges or maize they have grown on their land or fire wood and charcoal, desperate to get their child a better education. We have 3 teachers now Mr Kolonzo, Mdm Margaret and Mdm Magdaline, all qualified and motivated to teach (in Africa terms) but still difficult for them to move away from the’ chalk and talk’ methods of teaching, we have so many different practical /creative learning resources, glue, paints, but they just not used to using because they have never been available in previous schools. !!! Lets hope in time they will see how children learn thru other other methods. Please, if there are any teachers out there willing to give some teacher mentoring out here in Africa, you are so welcome !!!!! .
Our children remain relatively healthy, we havd a few weeks before Christmas when many of the children developed chest infections , flu and 2 cases of mild malaria. Njoki and Bakari still unaware of their status but counselling still underway in preparation for disclosure, difficult times ahead I feel but we are a strong ‘family’ it will be ok……..
Some of the children visited their guardians and previous homes before Christmas and some even stayed a few nights, but it turned out to be a real culture shock for many, especially Bakari and Hadija, Ali and Hassan who spent 4 nights sleeping outside on damp floors with other children around and very little food for the whole time they were there, Hadija even calling us to fetch her back , we spent a week after their return trying to get them back to good health again, Ali and Bakari each having stomach problems (probably because of drinking untreated water) and little Hassan feeling really unsecure again !! but as a registered CCI the Children’s Services require us to allow the children to stay in contact and stay connected to their culture, they don’t understand of what changes the children have gone through since living at Footprints and the implicactions that can occur putting them back in an unclean, unsafe ‘poverty’ environment. Well !!we wont be doing those sorts of visits again next year !!!
On a positive from the visits, Bakari bought us back a ‘gift’ from his Gt Grand father ‘ a goat in calf’ I named her Barbara and 2 weeks ago she gave birth to ‘Tommy’ another special moment for Footprints as I became a ‘vet’ and helped deliver him assisted by Aunty Syriana and 18 excited children in the outside storehouse at 9 oclock at night !!!
As our home continues to grow, we have just finished another underground septic tank and begun building more toilets for the school on the new land, the land is now secure and fenced all round complete with its own football field that Bakari, Rapheal , Ali and some of the younger boys have been preparing and marking out and making goalposts from the trees. A real Premierships affair, very important in the boys eyes !!!.
I,m back in the UK for a few weeks waiting the arrival of my first grand daughter !!! but I say welcome Karibu Sana to Uncle Kevin who will be travelling to Footprints next week to meet the children and see what an amazing project he has been working so hard towards over here in UK, im sure he will be very proud. !!
I once again, thank each and everyone of you who has and continues to support our children and Footprints in so many ways, your fundraising efforts are admirable your donations so kind and generous and knowing your thoughts are with us encourages and keeps myself our wonderful staff motivated and our strength and courage grows so we can continue to change the lives of many children here in Africa. Asante Sana.
Mama Kerry x
CHRISTMAS WISHES AND A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL !!!!!!!
We are near on approaching the end of another year. It will be our 3rd Christmas here at Footprints, All our children, staff and myself send you so many thanks for your continued support you have given or shown in so many ways and hope your Christmas will be a time of Joy and Happiness remembering what we are truly celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas here is so very different but celebrated for the same reasons. This year, as our school has been fast growing with more children, we are presenting our very own Nativity Play !!! Every child has a character to play and it has been wonderful to see the excitement on their faces as they practice and dress up in their costumes . We brought a full length mirror !! I didn’t realise most of them hadn’t seen themselves from head to toe they were full of giggles as they looked at themselves in their outfits. Also I caught the ‘aunties and uncles’ having a quick peep at themselves with pride, how funny to think the most simplest of household item we have in UK in almost every room could bring so much laughter. !!!
This year has been another momentous year for Footprints once again, I never imagined how a small vision could grow and expand so quickly with the help and financial support of friends, family and supporters ALL who believed in my vision. With the fund money raised over the last 12 months we have been able sustain the running operation of the home but also been able to construct our new toilet and shower block and another septic tank !! We purchased 2 more, even bigger water storage tanks. Together we built our very own school and employed an extra teacher to teach not only our children but children around the community who so need quality education. Next year we will be educating over 40 children !!! in Footprints Academy , all made possible by yourselves, we are reaching out to help so many more children its wonderful !! We purchased more land, for further growth of our boys dormatories and extra classrooms and our planned group volunteer programme. And only last week we welcomed our new arrival ‘Barbara’ our very first goat who is in calf and expected to deliver this week !!!! So our ‘farm’ is also growing !!!
This year we welcomed Uchi, Raphael and Joseph into our family. So, most importantly we now have 18 amazing children who now have the stability, love and care here at Footprints a far cry from where we had rescued them. Thank You from the bottom of my heart for making this happen you are changing the lives of children who were desperate, and surviving day to day with little food and ill health, no education or the love and care from parents, they had little or no hope for the future.
Footprints is honoured and proud to be making a difference to so many children’s lives, Thank You to each and everyone of you for enabling us to have this amazing home here in East Africa.
Our Christmas will be a lot simpler from yours in many ways, (I certainly won’t be queuing outside Argos at 7 in the morning !!!) but we will be dancing, singing and laughing and im sure eating chapattis !!! and celebrating in Church on Christmas morning. The Christmas nativity play is an Oscar in the making !!!!( hopefully we can get it on Facebook or You Tube ).
So on behalf of Footprints, Our children, Our Staff and Our wonderful Committee in the UK , I pray for your continued support next year and I wish you All A very Merry Christmas and A Happy and Healthy New Year.
God Bless You All.
Mama Kerry x
A BIG Jambo to All of our family, friends, sponsors and supporters in the UK and further afield, from everybody here at Footprints !!! Apologies for delay in getting update on life here at Footprints, every moment is so busy, looking after not only 16 but now 18 children !!! Yes, we have extended our family, we have 2 more children, Raphael aged approx. 12 years and Joseph approx 8 yrs, who were left with us (literally on our doorstep) at the end of August, we were given very little
information from the children’s services and so it has been a slow process to counsel them to find out about their lifes, but they are adjusting well day by day, they were so malnourished and in need of medical care and it was obvious that they were very insecure, especially Joseph who has rarely smiled . After their parents died around 3 years ago they were taken care by an aunt and elderly grandmother, tragically the Aunt also died leaving them with a very vulnerable grandmother, they were taken from her into another un-registered home for children, but it was found not to be operating’ in the b est interest of the children’ and was closed down leaving the children once again desperate for care and protection, Footprints has now become their home where we hope we can make them feel safe and give them stability in their childhood something I don’t think they have ever felt. They are settling well with the other children and already started looking healthier !! Raphael is with the older boys while Joseph has made good friend with Hassan, Kijana, Mutua and Sammy in their room.
So much has been happening over the last few months not at least the opening of our own school Footprints Academy !!! The school officially opened at the beginning of September we were able to employ another teacher called Mdm Margaret who seems to be bonding with the children really well, for any teacher who is aware,, she has been trained in a Montessori College here in Kenya and has some very holistic teaching methods its wonderful to see especially Samwell who has benefited and progressed so much since being in her class. Not only are we now teaching all our own children at Footprints Academy but we have children from the community learning here to give them an opportunity of better education, we have 27 children in total learning at our school. Our classrooms are full of all the learning aids and reading books you have been kindly donating over the past few months the classrooms look so bright and cheerful a far cry from school in our local village where for many of you who have seen and witnessed is so difficult for children to get quality education we have bought many new text books and right now I can hear them practicing Christmas hymns, I decided it would be lovely if they could dramatise the Christmas Nativity, I have really set myself up for extra work as I now have to make costumes ( plse any quick ideas would be appreciated) for 27 children, all have a different character to play and words to say !!! They have embraced it so well and are so excited, so we hope to perform it to the relatives and guardians, parents and staff and local people near to Christmas. I have so many people to thank for making our school possible not at least Debbie and Leigh Farmer who financed the project and who came over with Dan and pud !! to help with the construction. I never thought this would happen so quick, neither did I consider myself a headmistress !!!!! but to see the children thriving and wanting this education so badly is truly amazing. .
Our water situation a month ago was in dire problems, the Community project pump was still not working and immensely challenging and Patrick was constantly working to try and get the pump and engine and water lines in working order, in the mean time our only source of water was from a small spring around 200 mtrs away from the home so we set up a small pump near to the spring and daily we had to take our generator in a wheelbarrow down to the spring to pump water, it was so demanding but something we HAD to do !! Eventually, only a few weeks ago we were successful with the new pump and began to pump water from the river for the whole community, success at last but it has to be managed closely. !! We have purchased an even bigger 10,000 ltr plastic water tank made possible from your kind donations, which we can store more of our precious river and rainwater we have the droughts upon us again so we have to harvest what we can now !!
I thank so much St. Mary’s Church Group from my home village in the UK who came out during September, they worked so hard to get the school painted and organise the classrooms. But most special they were able to witness the baptism of ALL our children, our dear friend Kim Thomas, St.Mary’s vicar was able to baptise the children in our local church, all our other friends became Godparents to our children too! A week later the older children were Confirmed , I’m sure it was an event they will never forget, and that will stay in their hearts forever. Also they made my birthday really special, we had a Sports day !! (didn’t think I would be running in a relay on my 48th Birthday - Thank You All !!
I returned to the UK a few weeks ago for our Annual Charity Ball it was to be our 4th and amazingly it was once again a real success I only have my dedicated committee to thank who put together a very special nite for everyone. It gives us an opportunity to see and talk about how the children are progressing and how we spend your valuable contributions throughout the year. With everyone’s support on the nite we raised over £ 13,000 which is unbelievable and will help us continue to run the home over the next coming months, most importantly we are grateful to our friends on the nite who also committed to supporting the children with a regular monthly donation, that helps us secure the future. With the extra income it could even pay for another teacher for a year something that is so valuable to the children and their future prospects.
The children remain relatively healthy, except for coughs and colds and the occasional toothache, (toothfairy still very active !!!) Bakari is still having headaches , in fact Uncle Patrick has taken him and Njoki right now to get their regular medication and assessments, Bakari will be told of his status in December when school closes. !!! The children all seem immensely happy, having 18 children ranging from 2 years to 16 years is so demanding, but they are all so full of fun and character and put smiles on everyone’s faces. Not at least Dotty, George and Tumaini, who have started school in the morning in Footprints Academy Kindergarten (our little study area) taught by our very own housemothers who have been given support by our new teacher Mdm Margaret. They are learning their numbers , colours and shapes even George with his limited concentration level can count to 10 !! There English vocabulary is to be admired, I’m so proud of them……
The extra land we were negotiating with Mr Matasa our neighbour, was finally agreed and the process to get the title deed began, Footprints is now the proud owner of another 1 acre of land (Thank You dear friend Sally Holland) where we can plan to expand the home and school in the future. Our first project and one that couldn’t wait was another septic tank for our ever growing brood !!! Our existing one continued to overflow (Say no more !!) so it was inevitable that we had to build another. The local fundis have been manually digging all week round , but the sand is so soft it keeps collapsing and the heat is unbearable but this is Africa where everything is so more challenging .
Footprints continues to change the lives of our children in the most unique way, seeing how the children were surviving before they came to Footprints then being able to rescue them and care for them, to watch them develop and grow in confidence day by day is very special, but what Footprints is doing now is helping not only our own children but vulnerable children in the community who have been given an opportunity to learn and progress in our school and work hard to build a better future for themselves..
I thank you all for your continued support and commitment and belief for what we are doing here at Footprints, with your help we can continue to make a difference to the lives of children who would have otherwise been left to suffer, now we are giving them hope for a brighter future.
My sincere ‘ Thank You ‘