Here's a summary of our visit to Uzima to keep you all up to date with the latest in our quest to support this amazing place.
Very quickly during our visit we agreed that water was everyone's priority as the next step for Uzima. We asked Evans the director if he could take us to the nearest borehole where they presently buy their water from. He assumed we would need transport as he said it was just too far for us to walk!! We explained that we wanted to fully understand the job that the children had to do of collecting water and we wanted to walk. It was very hot and we wormed our way through many twists and turns in the pathways until we finally arrived at the borehole which was up a hill from Uzima. It took us about half an hour or more, a mile and a half's walk and we weren't carrying any water yet! This borehole had had mechanical problems the week before and the children had been collecting water from a muddy pond. So - round trip of 3 miles and 203 children, 10 staff, 100 chickens and 9 cows to water. This amounts to many trips a day and the water is usually carried on a bicycle by one of the older children. They seem to manage 3 x 20 litres strapped to the bike and even ride it for some of the journey! Uzima's own borehole would transform the grounds to a garden of Eden and bring in an income for them for many years to come.
We discovered that Uzima has grown in numbers with approx 200 children there now....so many more that need sponsors! We are working on organising photos for the website. We measured all the children's feet and bought 203 pairs of plimsolls in Kisumu market and Eldoret! Thank you to those sponsors who paid for shoes for their sponsored child.
We bought food, delivered bags of cloths for each child/ sweets and a good amount of footballs/Frisbees/ toys/ school equipment and sponsors letters and photos. Hugh Harrison, one of our party who is passionate about homeopathy, delivered a course over 2 days on homeopathic first aid to the teachers. He was able to leave some first aid kits with the teachers and demonstrated the use of homeopathy on many children/staff suffering various ailments. He suggested we left vitamin C tablets for the many children with skin complaints to compensate for their lack of fruit until such a time that we can grow fruit trees in the grounds.
The cramped/ dark classrooms are in dire need of replacement but these will have to wait until we have our borehole. They measure 3 x 2mtrs and manage to fit up to 20 children plus teacher! The one new spacious classroom houses 3 classes... that is 75 children and 3 teachers.
There are great plans afoot to grow lots more vegetables when the water supply is nearby and we left a few packets of seeds for each class to grow as a competition and experiment to find out which herbs/ plants do well in the equatorial climate.
We gave out lots of sweets and followed them ironically with a toothbrush for each child and a foil blanket for the rainy season which was just starting as we left. As we were visiting some of the children in their homes later that day we saw the first foil blanket being used as a raincoat on a child for their walk home.
The staff were nearly all new and we found out that the previous teachers had all left because they hadn't been paid for so long. Things are now greatly improved as we can send regular money from the 'sponsor a child scheme' which helps towards the running costs of Uzima (including staff salaries). We need another 50 sponsors to cover the present running costs! Please keep telling your friends about Uzima's sponsor a child scheme. Sorry this little one's taken!
Thank you for getting to the end of this long summary but it was hard to miss anything out. We couldn't do it without you our supporters and we say a MASSIVE 'thank you' from the staff and children at Uzima for saving Uzima and making so many young lives more bearable.