First stop was Kimwanyi Church where we met with the church committee, this was the first time we had been inside this church.
After the last few days seeing so much need today was a breath of fresh air.
Our partnership with Kimwanyi Parish goes back to 2009 when we started the Mozzy Project in an effort to reduce Malaria in this community. Those who follow our work may remember the dire conditions we saw in this clinic, you may also remember that the first 18 months saw a drop of approx 40% in cases of Malaria presenting at the clinic as a result of this intervention.
Over the last 7 years we have supported, through your donations, with medicines and equipment and financial support for an extra nurse, Nurse Prossy has now been at Kimwanyi for 4 1/2 years. It is three years since we last visited and the difference is hard to put into words. The dark, dingy clinic has been transformed by the addition of two perspex panels in the roof which let in light, the wards are less cramped as the rooms have been re-organized, the pharmacy shelves whilst not exactly full do hold some vital medicines and the new beds and mattresses are a blessing to patients and staff alike. In addition to the wonderful transformation in the clinic the nurses are now putting more time into follow up visits to people in their homes, to give advice on prevention of many of the most common illnesses.
It was not all positive as we learn that none of the five medical staff have been vaccinated against Yellow Fever, Hepatitis B or Typhoid as the funds are just not available. All these illnesses are rife in this area, in fact we are not allowed into the country unless we have a vaccination certificate for Yellow Fever. It costs £50 per person to vaccinate these staff. We have a policy of never making decisions about supporting any initiative until we return to the UK and evaluate all the information, we have broken this rule and promised to provide the funds for all the required vaccinations.
There are still needs to be met at Kimwanyi Health Centre but overall we were greatly encouraged.
Due to the lack of rain this year the water in the two water tanks supplied is being reserved for drinking. We walked down the hill to see where the water was being fetched from, it was a long steep walk but Pastor Patrick was proud to show us the water pump which had been broken and out of use now repaired and working. The community have been so motivated by the intervention of CHI in the community they have repaired the pump and built new latrines for the clinic. We carried water containers back up the hill and would not wish to do so daily.
We saw the Eucalyptus trees which have been planted by the youth in the church as a cash crop, The saplings were purchased with your donations, they grow quickly and are large enough to sell after three years, they can be pollarded so give a continual income, the first planting are almost ready to cut and the income will be used for the benefit of the church, clinic and school.
Apparently some of the local insects are edible, flying ants are readily available as you walk around and provide a good source of protein. Yuk!!!
We saw the chicken farm started with funds from the livestock project, which provides enough eggs to supplement the diet of the local youngsters and surplus to sell, and the goats which when there are sufficient will be used for the benefit of the community.
After lunch we visited some of the families who had received pigs as part of the livestock initiative. This project has been a wonderful success, as the animals breed one piglet is passed to another family, almost 200 families, irrespective of faith or no faith at all, have now been given a pig and set on the road to self sufficiency. One lady told us “I can now pay the school fees for my children” In addition a young man who has acquired some veterinary skills has started a small pig breeding programme and is also able to instruct recipients of pigs in the correct care of their animals.
With the exception of the clinic work this transformation in the community has happened in just two and a half years, it is wonderful to see this poor community almost self sufficient.
Patrick tells us his congregation has grown in that time from about 35 to over 200. James 2 v 17: Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
A short visit to meet with the Acting Bishop of the Diocese and we were home before dark.