Dear Friends of Nyumbani,

Greetings to each one as we reach this mid-point in Lent. Together, may we Christians experience this time as a moment for reconciliation with God, others and ourselves, as well as a moment of hope as we await the awe-filled celebration of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for us followed by his Resurrection.

Finally, the long-awaited Kenya National Examination results for our COGRI Vocational Training Centre (CVTC) students were published. Great was our joy as we learned that there were 6 distinctions, 30 credits, four passes and one repeat. CVTC is going from strength to strength. Development is also taking place as we have started an additional course, Electrical and Solar Installation, facilitated by our Spanish Board, Amigos de Nyumbani.

Another development in the Village is the setting up of a Board of Management for the three schools, Hotcourses Primary, Lawson High School and CVTC. This is one of the results of the Self-Evaluation Workshop which took place in December, 2018, facilitated by Roger Gill and Wallace Garland. The first meeting will take place on 8th April, 2019. Other identified needs are also being implemented, one still needed the increase of solar power. Recently, Nyumbani Village benefited by a video being shot by a team from Salt and Light, Canada, 11th – 14th February. We look forward to seeing the video once it is screened. Another significant media event was our Karen farm manager, John Mwanzia being invited to be interviewed on organic farming on the Maisha Kilimo Show, Radio Maisha, an agricultural programme on one of our leading TV channels, Kenya Television Network, KTN.

However, the most significant event of all was an award made to Nyumbani Children’s Home by the National AIDS and STI Control Programme, NASCOP. The award was presented to Prof. Rachel Musoke, our consultant paediatrician since 1996, at a NASCOP meeting she was attending.

With the majority of our children now in adolescence, we have been focusing very much on their being prepared for their final transition into the wider community. Lea Toto arranged for a weeklong workshop for their secondary school leavers in Don Bosco Youth Centre with two groups of 42 and 34. I met with each group at the end of the workshops and was really amazed at their confidence and self-esteem in expressing what the workshop meant for them, from ‘I now know myself’ to saying ‘I am now ready for the life ahead of me.’ Nyumbani Home secondary school students will have similar workshops over the 3 school vacations in 2019 entitled “Fair Chance at Living.” Preparation for these workshops took place from 5th to 7th March through a training by Dr. Joan Githae of our staff who will also be involved. We have now employed a new member of staff with entrepreneurship skills who will be especially available to our young people who are preparing to graduate and to our graduates.

Once again, we welcomed a Rotary group of 9 members headed by Paul Henry for a two week ‘Service above Self’ from 15th to 25th February. Down to work was the order of the day as they took on the painting of Nyumbani Home Reception Centre, finishing with beautiful paintings on the walls. Lea Toto Dagoretti was the chosen site in Lea Toto with the entire Centre being painted in colours chosen by staff. Nyumbani Village benefited by having very needed repair done on several laundry points. After the group left, Alison Stedman, who has led the Rotary Groups since the early 2000s, came for a few days. You should have seen her joy when she saw what had been achieved!

These last weeks have been a time of meetings for me from three USAID HIV Partners meetings preparing for COP 19 to welcoming the new USA Ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter; attending the Launch of HIV and AIDS Guide for Religious Leaders to attending the UN Environment Assembly 11th – 15th March. Then we had 2 DNDi Evaluations, the second being attended by the Ambassador for Global Health, France, Ambassador Stéphanie Seydoux. And, of course, we were invited to the Irish Embassy to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Sadly, one of our long serving grandmothers, Monica Musyoka has just passed away. May she now rest in peace with God. Susu Monica came to Nyumbani Village in 2008 with her 3 grandchildren, Teresia, Musyoka and Francis, and accepted to care for other ‘grandchildren’ to make a family of 10. Over the years, her first two grandchildren graduated from the Village leaving Susu Monica with Francis. A large group of us from The Village joined with her family to lay her to rest on 2nd April.

Schools are closing this week so we are looking forward to welcoming back our secondary students and those in colleges. We will all be joining with you in spirit and prayer as we celebrate the sacred ceremonies of Holy Week and will rejoice with you for the great Feast of Easter.

Sister Mary Owens, Executive Director

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