June 2008 Update
I'm posting this on (summarised) from Nick & Charlie, currently in Kenya :
Just a quick update from the Mercy Home to fill you all in on our visit and show you how all the money you have donated has helped improve the Mercy Home and provide a better life for all the girls here.
We arrived in Maseno last Monday ... We gave Edward, the director of the Home, a digital camera that had been donated by Simon Gardner through AVIF, and he's not stopped using it! We will show him how to upload the photos this week so he can keep everyone updated about the goings-on at the Mercy Home and show us all how the construction projects are progressing.
We've also been fetching water with the girls as there has been little rain recently and the water supply from Maseno was cut off during the post-election violence in January. Carrying the water is so difficult - we are hopeless and can only carry half a 20 litre tank whereas even the smallest girl can carry a whole one without hands! The girls have to go up to six times a day when they are not at school, and even when they get home from school at 6.30pm they have to go once again.
Sewing and Tailoring
On Thursday, Edward took us to visit two of the girls who finished primary school ... Jesca and Dezemah..are now boarding at a tailoring school ..This is really useful as the Home has been given a sewing machine by the local community which means that the two girls can teach the others basic skills and how to repair clothes. Thanks to Angela's donations, we are going with Edward to buy lots of patterns, threads and material this week, and are arranging for Jesca and Dezmah to come back to the Mercy Home at the weekend to give the other girls an introduction on how to sew.
Building and Construction
The amount of building work that has been done at the Mercy Home since the 2007 volunteers left is amazing! When we left there was a half built dormitory and now the dormitory is roofed and internally plastered ...We will send some photos next week so you can see just how much your donations are helping.
Edward has also begun to construct a permanent chicken coop for the Mercy Home with the money that Marie left with him last year, although this is still in its early stages. It is hoped that the chicken coop will provide the girls with food as well as becoming an income-generating project in the future, through the sale of chickens.
...Furthermore, the local deaf school has secured government funding for electricity to be diverted from the town of Maseno and the pylons will pass right past the Mercy Home and allow the Home to use electricity from the grid. This is great news and will be much cheaper in the long term, as the monthly electricity bill should be about half what the Home currently spends on kerosene and diesel for the generator and lamps. In preparation for this, Edward had the whole house wired last week, which means that the girls now have electric lighting in all rooms (albeit through the generator for now)! Edward has arranged to pay for this wiring in installments, and the some of the Mercy Home Foundation funds will be used to assist Edward in paying for this. It is thought that the pylons will be completed this month so hopefuly we may have 'real' electricity before we leave!
.. the girls are still as amazing as ever - Leo is still a chatterbox, Mary and Phanice still haven't stopped dancing and singing and little Melisa is a sweetheart! We have also bought a video-camera with us to record the girls for you all, we are planning a 'Day in the Life' documentary of some of the girls so everyone can see what life is really like for these girls, and also look out for a Mercy Home Foundation YouTube channel when we get back.
Thanks to you all for your support, it really is making such a difference to these girls.Special thanks to Matt and Mrs. Mcdonald who are organising a school fundraiser as we speak. Please keep on supporting the Foundation in any way you can.
Nick and Charlie xxxx
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