Because of the drought in East Africa the crops in Tharaka district have failed for the last two seasons and the rivers have dried up as you can see from the photo on the right. Consequently the price of foodstuff has soared and there are a lot of people surviving on very little. Most people have had to sell off their goats in order to buy food. Because of donations from people here in Ireland I was able to buy fifteen goats for the families of the neediest deaf children (some pictured below)
Thankfully, because we had bought a share in an irrigation scheme a number of years ago (thanks to your generosity) and put down the underground pipes, we still have water two days a week at the school and the church. This is enough to meet the children’s needs and keep all our trees alive----truly an oasis in this desert area.
Thanks again to your generosity we were able to buy uniforms, shoes, socks and pullovers for all the pupils at the school----now about a hundred children.
Above you can see Rev John giving out the uniforms, helped by Rachael the housemother and Muchomba, the church chairman. Below are some of the small children in their new uniforms.
I was also able to visit the houses we have built for the neediest families of these deaf children---thanks to your kindness and generosity the twelfth house is now under construction!!
On the right you can see the house we have built for Eric. Eric (class7) is the tall boy second from left, with his father and mother. Afterwards we all enjoyed a cup of tea as we talked in Kimeru, English and sign language!! In my next newsletter I will take you to some of the other homes I visited during my trip. Everyone was delighted with their new homes and send their sincere thanks.
Where help is really needed now is in providing a future for the young deaf teenagers who are at vocational training. We are sponsoring 12 young people at vocational training for the deaf where they are learning carpentry, welding, masonry, dressmaking and tailoring. On the left you can see Rev John giving out bibles to the young people before they return to college. A number of these young peoples’ parents came to see me about their children’s future employment.
I spoke to a number of government officers while I was in Tharaka and the best way forward seems to be to build a number of workshops (probably 5) at the market places near these young people’s homes, where they can work using the skills they have learnt. Then with the development officer’s help they can form a co-operative and be eligible for government grants. It is a big undertaking but we have brought these children a long way so it would be great to see them in employment and then others could then join them in the future. To date we have been able to buy 2 plots at two different market places so we are ready to start building in the New Year. If anyone would like to help with a bag of cement, a lorry of sand or a few stones we would be most grateful!!
Again I would like to thank you all for your continued support of these young deaf students and their families---it is very much appreciated by the whole community at Kamatungu.
Every blessing, Helen