Newsletter June 2019

News from Kisumu

  • Travel report Niek and Anke
  • Project Family relief

Activities

  • Pubquiz ‘t Spitje Mierlo
  • Youth Council Mill
  • Library Mill
  • Jumble sales
  • Walking dinner Mierlo

News from the board

  • Agenda
  • Work visit Kisumu by Maria and Lisanne
  • Visit Kisumu Carmen-Wiljan-Kanye-Kenza

 

Travel report Niek and Anke

Heartwarming new memories!

In 2012 my mother returned from Kenya. Full of enthusiasm, passion and with a big smile on her face she had dedicated herself to the children of St. Clare in Kisumu for three months. She had enjoyed every minute. This is what I wanted, too. Why? Because everything she had done had been valuable, because she had brought a smile on the face of a child every day, because help from Amara Foundation was and is so necessary! So! Mama and I had a deal: we would return to Kisumu together. My mother died last year so it didn’t work out. But fortunately, together with my dear friend Anke I could share fond memories of mama and we have really enjoyed our time with the children of St. Clare’s Children’s Home!

At last the time was there. On May 8, 2019 we left for Kisumu, with two extra suitcases full of materials for the children of St. Clare’s and for the therapy department of the Joothr Hospital.

Carmen and Wiljan had made us very enthusiastic with their stories and with all the information they gave us. And last but not least: our dear family and friends had donated a lot of money! We brought it along to spend there.

Arriving at the airport Austin ‘the milkman’ was waiting for us. He knew exactly who we were because, as many people say, I look like my mother. A big hug. We spent much time together, he took us everywhere, we talked about my mother and the differences in culture, we proposed many a toast at dinner in the evening. Austin is really marvellous! We also met Sister Lucy and Francis (who runs the Coca Cola stall) who spent much time with mama at that time.

What made our stay in Kisumu really beautiful were the children of St. Clare’s Children’s Home. On entering we were welcomed in a nice but strange way. Touching and stroking a Mzungu (African for a white person) remains special for many children.  After the introductions and a tour around the compound we started teaching in the mornings, playing with them during breaks, and taught them Dutch games (among others Annemaria Koekoek). This is what we did during our stay:

  • Deliver materials to Samoo in the therapy department of the Joothr hospital
  • Hand over football shirts, sweat suits and football boots to the kids: they were very happy with them (thank you Pascal on behalf of SV Leones and Rick Peters on behalf of Rick sports in Druten)
  • An extra suitcase full of colouring pages, pencils, skip ropes and frisbees was a great success: happy faces and beautiful colourings on the walls of the classroom.
  • As a surprise and farewell we had two fantastic days out with the kids. With a van we left in the morning, we bought shoes and slippers, visited Kenya Wildlife Impala Park and made a boat trip, to finish with fries.

Organising a day out with the kids is already quite an experience for them. Many of them rarely leave the compound and had never been on a boat or seen wild animals (the teachers had already secretly told the children about wild animals, that was great!), so it was both exciting and interesting for them. You could tell by their faces that they enjoyed every minute, so we enjoyed ourselves as well. A great day for all of us!

It is special how fast you feel close with the children and staff of St. Clare’s. We went home every day with a big smile so it was hard to say goodbye. Unfortunately we had to leave after a great time there, with a smile and a tear. In the car on our way we said that our stay had been too short and that we would go back to see how everyone was doing. That the children had had a good time was shown by a message we received from sister Lidea:  “Hi Dear, how are you doing? We are missing you already. The kids are all fine. They were asking when you are coming back to teach them”. Reading this: again a smile and a tear. It was an incredible experience and a trip never to forget. Amara Foundation does a great job. We want to thank them for this possibility to make a small contribution to the development of the children of St. Clare, Kisumu and Kenya. Every little bit helps! Thank you again everyone for the donations on behalf of us and Amara Foundation!

 

Project Re-integration: Family Relief

During the board meeting in February we decided to support a family that accommodates 5 St. Clare children during the four-month school holidays. It was decided that Maria and Lisanne , during their work visit in March, would assess the situation with the family with regard to making a support plan for the 5 children and the foster/holiday parents.  It goes without saying this will be done in consultation with Sister Lucy and the foster/holiday parents.

The background of the 5 children:

The family of originally six children lived about 30 km from Kisumu. Mother died in 2014, father had to look after 6 children. He could not handle this. Spring 2016 the neighbourhood and the police contacted Sister Lucy; one of the children had died by then. Especially the two youngest children were in a bad shape when they were admitted to St. Clare.

Now, three years on, the two youngest, 4 and 6, still live at St. Clare’s, the other three (10,14 and 16) attend primary school at a boarding school near Kisumu. During the holidays (April, August, November, December) the children had no place to go. They all lived at St. Clare until sister Lucy got into contact with a sister of the mother.

This aunt of the children is married, lives about 20 km from Kisumu and has six sons aged 8 to 16 years old. This sister (Aunt Peris) had indicated, together with her husband (Uncle Andrew) that they are willing to look after the children during the holidays. In 2018 the children spent time with the family in August, November and December. The children were lovingly received, are fond of their uncle, aunt and nephews.

However, there is a problem….the family has no income. There is hardly any money for school. The two eldest have finished primary school but there is no money for further education. They have odd jobs. The third son does vocational training, he left school after group 7, being more practically oriented. Three children are still at primary school: group 5, 3 and 1.

At the moment of our house visit the youngest was at home. He had been sent home because his parents have not paid the school fees yet. The children attend a low- quality school. There is a better school nearby but they cannot afford the fees. Uncle reports that he was made an orphan at an early age, he knows what it means when nobody looks after you. That is why he wants to look after these children. From 1998 father sold coal for cooking. Since last year he has had physical complaints: lungs and eyes, due to the dust that preparing and selling the coal entails. Father still wanted to do this work but it is impossible. Now he works as a field labourer. Also his sons earn something in the same job. Weeding, digging ditches etc. With the money he has earned his wife has set up a business in foods. She has a stall on the main road selling sweets, sugar, flour, biscuits and oil. Not a bad business. Due to father’s illness there were high costs. Now there is little money to buy new supplies. Mother likes running a business and the spot offers good options.

Sister Lucy was very positive about this family, we thought the same after the house visit. The contact between uncle, aunt and foster children is warm and they get on quite well with their nephews.  The question is how we can support this family. After considering various options we made the following plan:

PROJECT PLAN:

We will make a 4-5 year plan to support this family. Total costs: € 5000. For the first year, 2019:

  • Increase trade of aunt to generate more income. Amount: € 200
  • Purchasing an NHIF card (health insurance) for the foster family € 60 annually.
  • Pay expenses for travelling costs of the 5 children to and from foster family and St. Clare /       various schools.
  • Purchasing school materials for the three children at the boarding school €135
  • Purchasing two blankets for the foster family, one for the boys, one for the girls € 15
  • Pay for education costs (costs for education, uniform, shoes, school trips, lunch at school) for the three youngest children of the foster family. As from the second term these three children can start at a school with better education € 500.

 

The above amounts to about € 1100 for 2019.

We talked several times with uncle and aunt and discussed the final plan with aunt. This was at the moment she came to fetch the children from St. Clare for the April holidays. Sister Lucy, Maria and Lisanne were present. Aunt was happy with the support Amara gives for her and the five children. But she also said: ‘Without support I would also have looked after my sister’s children, she is family, so are her children’.   A sincere remark, showing how involved this family is with the five nephews and nieces. We are glad to be able to support this family. In October 2019 we will evaluate the first half year and make concrete plans for 2020.

We hope that the foster family will be a safe and loving place for the children in the years and holidays to come.

A special thanks for Dutz Eyewear BV, we are financing this project with the proceeds of your great action with the Flying Dutzmen December 2018!

 

Walking Dinner Mierlo

After a successful walking dinner in 2017 the event was repeated on May 25, 2019. Fortunately Mierlo companies wanted to sponsor his event again. Just like two years ago de Bottelarij, Bacio and Hof van Hubers acted as sponsors. But also AH Mierlo and Eigenwijzz Flowers and more joined in. 41 people joined the walk and it was quite a pleasant evening. All cooks had done their best to turn their living rooms into a cosy restaurant. The guests were enthusiastic. After the walking dinner guests and cooks met for an after party where no one left early. Great atmosphere and heartwarming reactions! All cooks, guests and sponsors: thank you, all of you!

 

Jumble sales

There were various jumble sales with the proceeds going to Amara projects. On March 10 there was a nice jumble sale at ‘Landmans Unie’  in Schijndel. Rina and Lisanne were present with lots of stuff. On April 7 Carmen and Wiljan were present at a car boot sale behind den Bens in Langenboom. It was a sunny day with good sales. On May 5 both Maria and Lisanne were at jumble sales: Maria at the ‘Witte Boerderij’ in Uden. In St. Michielsgestel there was a garage sale at the ‘Beekkant’ (located at the old school De Beekhof). At the jumble sales in Schijndel and Michielsgestel Lisanne got a lot of help from volunteers. Thank you Rina, Gonnie, Mariëlle, Gerda and Joke for packing and unpacking and successful sales. Jan and Jeannie van Bergen: thanks for being present at the garage sale in Mill on May 19, the good proceeds and the donation to Amara!

 

Pub quiz ‘t Spitje

Carolien has run ‘t Spitje for 15 years now which we have celebrated! Her pub quiz, on March 29 last, was for the benefit of Amara Foundation. We were honoured. Amara got its own round during the quiz. It was a very pleasant evening, but Carolien partied the whole weekend. All tips to the staff and extra donations of this weekend all went to Amara Foundation. Great! Carolien and staff: thank you!

As you can see in the agenda there will be another pub quiz in ‘t Spitje on behalf of Amara Foundation.

 

Library Mill

From May up to and including August there will be a small exhibition about Amara projects. On the coffee table visitors can leaf through photo books and the showcase displays our products for sale. Come and take a look. You want to buy something? You’re welcome! During opening hours of the library the staff will be ready for you.

 

Youth Council Mill

Every year the youth council in Mill chooses a charity on the basis of presentations. Kanye de Klein did his presentation about Amara Foundation and was unanimously chosen. On May 10 they were in the market square in Mill near the AH and Jan Linders with a stall where all members of the council tried to raise as much money as possible. Apart from selling products from Kenya there was a special mother’s day action: hearts of soap in a beautiful bag with Kenyan label. A wonderful afternoon with good proceeds!

 

Agenda

May up to and including August: library Mill makes its exhibition room available for Amara Foundation. There will be photo books to leaf through and materials for sale with the help of the library staff.

July – August: board member Carmen and her family will visit the projects. Follow them on Facebook.

September 8: ZLTO harvest celebration chooses Amara Foundation as charity.

September 29: the other market (Rainbow Festival) Geldrop. Evelien is present with a stall.

October 27: music in the church in Langenboom with Amara Foundation as charity.

 

Work visit Kisumu by Maria and Lisanne

We’ve already been back home for six weeks now. Maria and Lisanne have each made a top three what has made this trip special again. These were their special topics:

Maria. We arrived in Misumu and Sister Lucy proudly showed her big garden which was wonderful: tomatoes, sukuma wiki (a sort of spinach) and maize. However, there was no rain all the time we were there. The big basins of rainwater are getting empty, the pump does not work because the ground water is at a very low level, so the plants do not get any water. For the children she has to buy drinking water which is brought by a tanker. We have seen this in more places: no rain, drought, no harvest, which will result in higher prices for food shortly. I can’t help comparing our life at home where everything is organised with life in Kenya.

A different moment. The multiple handicapped children that live in Awasi return to their parents/mothers during the holidays. The trip Awasi-Kisumu by public transport is terrible. No place in the van and little respect from fellow travellers make the trip extremely difficult. Sister Marcella, who runs the boarding school, thought of a solution. She arranged for an ambulance in Awasi, put mattresses on the floor of the car so all children could lie down or sit (if they could) on benches together with the carers. The mothers were waiting in Kisumu until the ambulance arrived to take them home. A great time for all kids and mothers.

During the visit to Kisumu we saw that various wheelchairs showed defects. Some had sharp edges which might lead to cuts in legs or feet. After some thinking we bought some garden hose and tape, went back to Awasi, cut open the hose and taped them to the sharp edges: problem solved! The carers couldn’t help laughing but were very happy with the solution. Hopefully they will remember how to think of a solution themselves next time.

Lisanne. I was very much impressed by the visit to Lavin’s mother. Lavin, the 11-year-old girl in our therapy project, had suddenly died a few weeks before our departure. We had framed a few pictures of her and made a small photo album for her parents and sisters. It was ‘nice’ to talk with mother about Lavin, to share her sorrow. At the same time I was impressed by her strength, the way she deals with this loss and the support the family gets from everyone around them.

Thinking about, working out and making concrete the family project which you can find in this newsletter was fun to do. Putting a puzzle together with everyone involved, Sister Lucy, social worker Celestine, foster/ holiday parents, how to support people without pampering or making them dependent. And then finally the plan is ready and we hope that the five children and the foster family will have a brighter and better future.  

Something else that has nothing to do with any Amara project. On the invitation of the social worker of the prison I spent a whole day, together with Austin the milkman, in the men’s prison in Kisumu. In many ways impressive. A celebratory day in the prison because a few days later many men would be discharged. Some after 20 years! Prisoners, management, staff and visitors pray, sing, dance and eat together, of course overseen by armed guards.

Finally of course a big thank you from the board and our people in Kisumu to all sponsors that enable Amara Foundation to help and support.

 

Work visit Carmen-Wiljan-Kanye-Kenza

July 5 will be the day…. right after school we are going to Schiphol to take the plane to Nairobi. With our whole family! For Wiljan it is 5 years ago and for Kanye (10) and Kenza (7) it is the first time. We really look forward to it! Kanye and Kenza are curious to know what it will be like. They are already hard at work to raise money for projects. Will you help to fill their sponsor money box? Click on this link. We will keep you informed about our adventures through Facebook and our own website.

 

Thank you for being interested on behalf of the board

 

Lisanne Henuy-Rooijakkers – Evelien Hommes-Romonesco – Carmen van Bergen –

Maria Vermeer – Martine Plantinga and all the people from Kisumu!

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