Critical Situation

Kenya is in the midst of the rainy season and this past week they have been hit with an unusual amount of rainfall. The ground, which during the dry season is hard and dry like cement, is now saturated. The fine clay soil is slick, slippery and waterlogged. Buildings and structures constructed during the dry period are now becoming increasingly unstable. During this season these headlines can be seen in Kenyan newspapers.

“Body of 41-year-old man retrieved after pit latrine collapse”- Capital News Jan 14, 2018 – KISII, Kenya

“Kenya: Six Die at Mombasa Bridal Fete After Falling Into Pit Latrine” – Kenya Direct News, March 11/2018, Mombasa, Kenya

This dangerous situation was illustrated at the St Charles Lwanga School by the partial collapse of one of their pit latrines.

Brother Kennedy reports, “All is not well due to heavy rains which sank one block of the boy’s latrine and it cannot be used and it is a no go zone because the kids can easily drop inside.”

The St Charles Lwanga School has 280 students and the sanitation needs are accommodated by the presence of 4 pit latrine structures, each with 2 doors. This means the girls have 4 stalls and the boys have 4 stalls. The partial collapse of the supporting foundation under one of the structures leaves the boys with 2 less stalls. Now there are 2 stalls for the convenience of 200 boys!!! This is an emergency situation!

Even the construction and excavating of the latrines are a risky situation with individuals digging more than 5 meters/15 feet into the soil with shovels. The latrine/toilet building is set in place over the pit, preferably on a stable foundation and when the pit is full a septic pumper truck vacuums it out.

The structure that is threatening to fall into the sewage pit at the St Charles Lwanga School, was constructed when the school did not have money for cement reinforcements to be incorporated into the pit, and to shore it up to prevent collapse.

The solution is to build a new latrine at a cost of $3000 US dollars.

Need for a New School.

Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a community aid organization based in Inverness County, Nova Scotia. ICC has worked to provide for the educational and daily life needs of the 280 students at the St Charles Lwanga Secondary School (SCLSS) since 2012. The students of SCLSS are housed in dormitories on half acre on which the school and all buildings are situated. For many students this is their only chance to obtain a secondary education. Mostly all the students had a history of sporadic school attendance due to lack of money for school fees. Because of this they truly appreciate the opportunity to learn and are very serious about this opportunity to gain a secondary education.

The conditions at the school are crowded, with classrooms and living areas past the maximum occupancy. Their diet is simple and nutritious, mainly, beans, corn, Sukuma Wiki (collard greens), cabbage and occasionally tomatoes, with meat as a rare luxury.

The school is located close to the Nairobi International airport. This is an area that is rapidly being encroached on by the city of Nairobi and the influence of the Kibera Slums which are nearby.

The climate and growing conditions in this area are not suitable for farming or even small garden plots. The school grounds are very crowded and there are two seasons of very little rain, which turns the ground into a cement-like terrain with deep cracks. Water is supplied by a rainwater collection system (supplied by Living Water Africa), channeling rainwater from the roofs of all the school buildings into an 80,000 liter tank. Drinking water is supplied by Nairobi City Water, which is stored in a tank on the school grounds. There are no showers (bucket water bathing) and six, two-stall pit latrines provide the 280 students with toilet services.

Plans are in progress for a new school in the HomaBay area of South Western Kenya, near Lake Victoria. This new school will be located in an area with a climate much more favourable to sustainable farming on a 10 acre plot of land. Although the need is critical there are many obstacles that must be overcome before the new school is a reality. Anyone who wishes to financially support these student and school initiatives may do so by sending a cheque to Inverness County Cares, PO Box 99, Judique, NS, B0E 1P0.

Next month’s newspaper article: plans for a new school and the process of educating the students, teachers and communities near the school on farming methods that will work toward making the school self sustaining.

For more information please visit

A visit from Dutch friends and Betty Jane Cameron 2nd from the right.

Students writing exams in classrooms

Outside classes

Students after classes

Sustainable farming practice.


Activities Report February 2018

Teaching the minds, touching hearts.

This week has been a very wonderful week with learning going on well. The children are busy with their studies and enjoying their group discussions which are held outside the class. In the discussion groups each child is busy and eager to learn from one another in readiness of their mid-term examinations which tests what they have learnt for the past two months.

Students taking their mid-term examination (below).

Talent Thursday

This is a special day for the students and each one of them longs for the day. It is a day of experiential learning that helps the student break the classroom boredom also gives them a chance to broaden their class knowledge and understanding. This Thursday the students were demonstrating the various set books they study for literature. The teachers and the students were so happy on how well the students understood and demonstrated the set books.

Youth club  The school has different clubs such as journalism, drama, youth and scouts, where students divide themselves into the various clubs and take up an activity. On Saturday the youth members were responsible for making the tank stand where the other students can get access to safe and clean water for drinking. They are also responsible for the agricultural practice in the school where they plant vegetables on broken buckets and boxes to supplement their feeding program.


February Report from Betty Jane Cameron

On January 8, 2018, Betty Jane Cameron, Inverness County Cares member and extraordinary grandmother, nurse, midwife and music teacher departed on her 3rd trip to volunteer at the St Charles Lwanga Secondary School (SCLSS) in Ruai, Nairobi, Kenya. She checked in to Halifax airport with very minimum personal baggage but brought 9 bags of clothing, personal items and many musical instruments donated by the generous people of her surrounding communities. Betty Jane at 80 years, although very fit and energetic, finds it much more convenient to travel through the airport in a wheel chair. Imagine Br Kennedy’s dismay and surprise when on their first meeting three years ago, she arrived in a wheelchair. Much to his relief she proved herself exceptionally fit and is blessed with amazing stamina. This January her flight was diverted and Betty Jane and her 9 bags took separate flight paths. After several days of anxiety all nine bags arrived at the school.
Communications from Betty Jane.
“January 11/18. I got here about 4pm Wednesday and was royally welcomed by the entire School with cheers and hugs. It was worth the whole very long trip. There is no sign of any baggage but a tracer is hopefully working its magic. Today is day 4 in the same clothes, but I did wash in a bucket… I feel right at home both here and home in Mabou where (due to power outages) there was no water for three days. I am doing more medical work this year. I also am sharing the small dorm with the assistant administrator who is a good friend and it feels like a palace! I am so pleased that I remembered almost all the student’s names when I arrived.
January 17/18. Hi everyone, I’m halfway through week 2, very busy and very happy to be here. I am constantly tuning string instruments. Today I did a wash to everyone’s surprise. The Form 1’s have arrived and I have taught them health, geography, and basic music beats with drums, percussion and dance. We had lots of fun. I also teach health and PE to all classes weekly. We have music after school daily – so far recorder and guitar. The choir director is going to live here and study, and we are working on theory and each instrument so he can carry on all year. This Friday I go to another parish to do pastoral visiting and counseling with the sick and elderly, and will be there a week. I miss you all but really feel that I belong to this community too and love the people and the work.
January 24/18. I was away all week visiting a parish. The pictures give some idea of what we did. I taught young children, visited many elderly and sick folk, conducted a marriage encounter class, attended the anointing of a dying man, two baptisms followed by their wedding two days later and worked with the catechists They wanted me to stay, but back at SCLSS they greeted me like I was gone a year! Say hi to all. Love Betty Jane.”

New School Year

Betty Jane’s visit.

The St. Charles Lwanga family is very grateful to Betty Jane, she has been very instrumental to the children and the staff members where she has formed a very strong music team which she teaches how to play different organs like the guitar. She has also helped the children in their spiritual growth where she journeys with them in their prayers and also during mass. The St. Charles Lwanga fraternity is very grateful to her for her kind and generous donation of plastic chairs which are being used in the chapel during the mass and the students without having to carry their desk along. God Bless you Betty Jane.

Opening of the year mass

During the week the school organized for an opening of the year mass where the school gathers the guardians and the children for a prayer session as the year begins. This is a very remarkable event at the school as it marks a new beginning with a lot of vigor in all the activities of the school e.g., education, co-curriculum amongst other programs. The children were happy to Brother Kennedy for organizing such a prayerful event for them.

Experiential Thursday

This is a Thursday every student anxiously waits for. It’s day in which the students go out of class routine and practice what they are best at. It’s an educative session where there is a theme for the day to teach the youth on how well they can relate to the outside world. The teachers too also join hands with the students and they are able to guide the student effectively to crown the day.

To sum it all, we are very grateful to Chalice foundation, Inverness County Cares, Brother Kennedy and all people of good will for extending a supportive hand towards the school and enabling the smooth of all the programs. God Bless you.

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