Month: January 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

January 31st, 2013

Br. Kennedy: Today the children went to Kayole, in Nairobi to watch an academic film about some of the set books they are doing in school. Kayole is about 20km away and they boarded a matatu, (the matatu is a small, minibus taxi that is a common mode of Kenyan travel) for which they contributed on their own a little and walked 10km so that the money could be enough for their journey and we carried lunch for them.
Many thanks for the help, it encourages me and I am sincerely grateful for the commitment to us.


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Making a cooking fire.

January 30th, 2013

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The walls of a new school building

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Back view of the students’ desks. They are built to accommodate three students.

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Sleeping/study area.

Conversations with Brother Kennedy: Brother Kennedy called from Nairobi at about 12:00 midnight, Nairobi time. Telephone, at this time of night is the most economical way to keep in touch with us. The students and staff are busy constructing a new classroom. The structure is about 10×12 meters. They are busy preparing the floor; since they don’t have funds for cement they are making the floor as smooth and level as they can, using stones and earth. They are working hard using the wheelbarrows and hand tools.
The large water tank holds enough water for cooking and drinking for a week, the rest must be carried by the students from the well, 1.5 km away. The convenience of two water tanks would mean less water carrying.
The Centre does not have any type of vehicle; car, motorcycle or even a bicycle. A taxi to Nairobi when needed in an emergency situation costs, $25.00 Canadian. Some of the students have epilepsy and Brother Kennedy says this is very distressing. The students are quite well behaved and willing to work.
Brother Kennedy puts in a long and tiring day and must always be networking to bring in food and funds to his school. As he spoke to me there was an extended silence from his end of the discussion…..he fell asleep mid conversation!


January 29th, 2013

Report by Webmaster in conversation with Brother Kennedy. He gives us his reports sometimes from a Cyber café where an hour costs a shilling and it takes quite a bit of time to write up a report. He also calls from his cel phone late at night when the rates are very cheap.
The St Charles Lwanga Children’s Centre has a staff of 8 local teachers as well as a social worker. The main school structure was originally a residence for the St Charles Lawanga Brothers (SCLB). Living in this residence with room to spare, the brothers saw the extra room in their residence as an opportunity to provide a home for some of the street children of Nairobi. This initiative evolved into the St Charles Lwanga Childrens’ Centre. There are three Christian brothers including Brother Kennedy living at the centre. One is a Chaplin and the other brother works in the slums of Nairobi. Brother Kennedy does administrative work at the centre and spends a great deal of his time searching out sources of donations and food to keep the children fed. (He does this on foot or sometimes can get a ride on a motor scooter.) This is a very demanding job as these children eat a lot, for they are in their teen years. The food they eat is very basic, nothing prepackaged or prepared, mostly dried beans, maize flour, tomatoes, salt, rice, onions, cabbage, kale, meat, oil and sugar. A delivery day will see these staples delivered in large sacks. 
Br Kennedy is always worried about the food for the next month especially now, since he has a new group of students coming in soon….. more mouths to feed.  When asked about tuition he said the children bring what they can, money if possible or food or other staples.
This is the dry season and the students must go for water to supplement the water supply they have trucked in. The well is about 1.5 km away and the children go with buckets and often walk home with the pail on their heads.
They are also very short of space, some classrooms double as sleeping quarters. They have turned the chapel into as classroom as well.
Just imagine the weight and responsibility on his mind. He has his ‘family’ of children he must feed, clothe and educate and he rarely knows where he will find funds to provide for the next month. 


January 28th, 2013

Brother Kennedy: The children have been able to perform well in a recent exam that they did. The teachers are also very dedicated in doing their work and they are even offering tutoring during their free time in order to assist the children in areas that they find challenging. Due to the long distance to a hospital there has been a big problem of taking the children to hospital, like recently there was a student who was terribly ill of ulcers and there was a delay to take her to hospital because the available transport are motorbikes which delay a lot.
There was a donation of a bag of maize by Benter and also some loaves of bread brought by Sisters during the weekend but we also require more because this a dry season and barely can anything grow in the garden due to lack of water since the only available water is only for domestic purposes in the centre like cooking for the children. Also due to the dry season water is scarce and the children are forced to walk for a long distance to go and fetch water.
There is a structure of a classroom that will be able to accommodate the in coming form one students. The children had a fantastic day on Sunday since it was a parish day and they presented dances and poems and they also got to interact with other children. There is also a professional trip for the Brothers to Mukumu and some of the children will be able to accompany us.
Last month there were visitors from Holland who came to our institution and one of them promised to come and volunteer as a teacher for a certain time before she goes back to Holland. We also had some volunteer doctors and counselors who came here last week. The students were tested different diseases HIV/AIDS included.


January 26th, 2013

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The beginning of a new classroom

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In class

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The water tank for school

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Beginning of a garden

The Lwanga children’ Centre schedule is quite structured. At 4:45 AM the children are up to shower, 5:15   prayers, 5:30  studies, 6:30  cleaning, 7:30 breakfast, lessons beginning at 8:00 AM until  1:00 PM with breaks in between. Lunch is at 1:00 PM, 2:00 lessons, 4:00 games, 5.30 shower, 6.30 supper, 7:00 prayers and review of the day, 7:30 recreation and 9:30 retire to bed. Although the students are in bed by 9:30 Br Kennedy gets a lot less rest. His time is taken up by the administration of the school and he is always networking to secure funds to keep the school running.
The school water supply comes weekly by truck from Nairobi. The school uses 10, 000 liters per week. This week the school is short of water. This weekend the parish will celebrate  its patron saint, St Joseph. The children are practicing a dance they will do at mass.
We are building a temporary classroom to house classes for the new students who will soon be coming to our school.

(Information gathered from Face Book conversations with Br Kennedy)

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