Covid in Kenya

The dreaded Covid update. Here in Kenya, the Ministry of Health has consistently published test result data saying that 8-10% of all people tested are positive. This is the way it has been for over 12 months. I the past 7 weeks we are getting reports of 6% positive for all people tested.

At this stage, 4% of the population has received the vaccine with centres open ready to vaccinate anyone over 18 for free but there are no longer people waiting to be vaccinated. The Ministry of Health has counted this with the introduction of not allowing people on public transport or access to public services unless they can show proof of vaccination.
All of our movement restrictions in the country have been lifted with the compulsory social distancing and masks still being in effect. This seems to be a suggestion rather than a socially accepted practice. Outside the city center, I estimate 1 in 20 people have a mask whilst walking the street. In the City Centre and on a bus you get 100% of people having a mask and many of them wearing it as recommended. For the majority, this is more out of fear of a fine than actually taking care against Covid.
Here we are learning to live with the risk, as a result, life is getting back to normal.
As a family, we are still taking precautions to protect our health but enjoying the freedom of movement.

Farming for a Better Future

When doing good in the community people talk about it, causing other opportunities to open up. We are often asked to visit farms to help people improve their methods.
Kim and I were asked to visit a farm that used to grow 27 tons of veggies per day. Their production had decreased over the years down to 7 tons per day. They were at a loss to understand why.
When we got to the farm it was obvious to us where the problems lay. Through the adoption of poor agricultural techniques the health of the soil had declined so much, it was crippling the harvests. The farm can easily turn this around by adopting our methods.
One of the farmer managers visited our farm and was impressed by the health of our plants. When we explained why we do what we do, he understood the concept of adding mulch whilst avoiding turning the soil to protect the microorganisms and adding nutrients to the soil.
Let's hope that they are willing to make wholesale changes to the way they farm, increasing food security to the nation, and protecting the important jobs they provide for so many workers. We also pray that they will understand the value of tithing and give 10% of their crops to make sure children are educated.











A good education opens doors for the future.  

Mask Distribution

Staying in Kenya

2020 is 6 weeks old

2019 was a year where I started to appreciate that the information I carry is not insignificant. There is value in sharing what I know, as it adds value to those I share with. In the past I have not placed enough value on who I am. God has created me to be me, I have had many unique experiences that have added to who I am. 

2020 is my year! It's my year to realise my own worth and to be productive in ways I have not been in the past. I was advised to "stop giving everything away for free". I realise now, that I was giving it away because I didn't value it. Yes those that can't afford to pay do need to receive equally, but those that can afford it, can pay.

As I start a new year all sorts of resolutions come to mind. I would much rather reflect on goals that I have been working toward and set some targets for 2020.

Farming in the schools has been successful as far as teaching students to grow their own food in a sustainable and productive way. It has not been successful in providing food to feed the school lunches. So a way to remedy this has been for us to rent land to grow vegetables whilst continuing our school program. 

In 2020 our aim is to partner with other organisations, including the Kenyan Government, to feed 20,000 children lunch, so that kids can go to school and are able to study well. A child that hasn't eaten for days can't concentrate in class therefore will drop out of school and loose an opportunity to reach their full potential. 

We will continue to run the God, Money and Me course along with the Strength and Shine courses. I love these courses as they set people on a better path through simply sharing knowledge. 

Kim will continue ministering in the children's serious diseases & cancer wards of Kenyatta Hospital. I was recently asked what her ministry is, I see it as a relationship ministry. Kim gets to know the patient and their family and prays for them, but more importantly she cares about their situation. Many people send a message to tell Kim how their children are progressing and ask for special prayer when things are not going well.  Some patients usher Kim to their friends in hospital so that she can also pray for them. Many miracles have occurred in the hospital but you will not hear Kim talk of them. For her it's about a child going home cured, and a family that is encouraged, supported and valued, that's what she celebrates. 

Building church is key to changing a nation. We are praying that 2020 is significant in the life of our Kenyan Church. 

As 2020 unfolds we will run other courses and programs. The ones mentioned here represent our desire to impact Africa!

Taking the long road to developing communities

At the core of community development success is trust, relationship, research and consultation. When these are in place we have a greater opportunity to be good stewards of our God-given resources. 
It takes the average cross-cultural worker 7 years to become effective. This can be reduced to 3 years with the correct anthropology training. 
The reason it can be reduced is that they learn to ask the right questions and learn how to understand the culture whilst adapting their approach to suit the culture. 
As an example, we see that a conference of people that are deficient in iron. We have the knowledge that chicken livers are a cheap form of iron. This could lead us into thinking that handing out chicken livers to everyone at the conference will assist their iron levels. 
During our due diligence process, we find that the people at the conference are vegans, therefore we realise we need to look for a different solution to the iron defecicy. We learn due to vegan culture, that no matter how much we try to convince people that chicken livers will help, they will never eat them. It is against their culture no matter what the health benefits. So we must find iron in veggies or a different form that is palatable to the conference. 
What can happen is that we see the need to change the culture of the conference to become carnivores so that they will eat the livers. Whilst doing this we lose sight of the original objective, to increase iron levels. We become dogmatic about the need for people to eat meat.
In any solution to a problem we must carry out due diligence. If we are excited and enthusiastic about a solution it may cause us to short cut the development process. 
If we are an early adopter we can easily see the benefits of our solution. We will believe we can start to convince others to change.
Impoverished societies are not early adopters. They are quite the opposite, they are suspicious and slow to change. When we are helping them discover new solutions we must be patient to lead them to find their culturally acceptable answers. 
Effective community development is a process, unfortunately when we skips steps we become less effective and at times harmful. 

Low impact aid verse high impact development.

I had an interesting conversation about feeding school children. Here in Kenya, many children are in school with empty stomachs. Not skipped breakfast empty, not eaten for days empty! Many children discontinue school due to hunger.
The schools used to have a feeding program funded by an international donor. That donor had the intention of feeding the school children whilst encouraging them to grow their own food. True to their word the international donor discontinued feeding the school children after 3 years.
Where the program failed is that the schools did not develop their food growing capacity. They have empty greenhouses due to lack of water or skills, they have plots of land producing little or no food.
So now I am being asked to feed 20,000 school children. Do I make the same error of the donor before me? Or am I going to finally learn from this mistake, and many others like it.
If I am feeding children whilst teaching them to farm, I have removed the need for them to learn. That's right, if I meet the need why would people change their habits? The sad fact is that we will not change unless we want a different result. The schools don't want to farm. They want to be fed. So if I feed them they won't farm.
I know that Kenya has poor results in Agriculture, I also know it's not the fault of kids at school. It is due to poor methods being handed down and a lack of knowledge.
Good news is we can teach proven farming methods that restore land and increase yields. This gives the schools a fighting chance of feeding the students. In the meantime, if the schools manage to find a donor to feed the children I know my impact will be greatly reduced if not totally negated. It's a lot easier to unload a truck of donated porridge then it is to grow your own food.
Let's stop being good-hearted, low impact aid agencies and become good hearted, people empowering, high impact development agencies.
It is a difficult task to teach a man to fish whilst you are handing him fish every day. Stop handing out the fish and his motivation to fish greatly increases. He will spend more time fishing and will be eager to learn better techniques.
Imagine if the same aid agency that fed the kids for 3 years had have spent the same funds employing skilled agriculture teachers and focused on improving farming within each school. Yes, the students would have been hungry but that hunger would have been reduced over time.
Why do we all know the principle of teaching a man to fish but we continue to hand out fish? Because it tears our heart to see a hungry child, so we feed them. We feel good they feel good. Unfortunately when we leave the child is back to being hungry. We are ok because we can't see them starving any more, we have moved on.

Leveling a Libary

The boys rehab centre has a new library in a container thanks to Ben and Irene (ACCI) field workers.

Ben needed some help getting the container level. Thanks to the generous donation of a 5 ton jack we were able to lift the container one corner at a time and get it level. We have a few finishing touches then it's a goer.

Ready to plant

The lessons of our farming include, being on time! We are demonstrating this by being ready to plant before the rains start.

We also teach that we must give back if we want to take out. We have made compost to fertilise our crops. The fertiliser is in the ground ready to plant on once it rains.