Dear Friends of Nyumbani,

Greetings from all of us at a time when our children/adolescents have returned to school for the final term of 2019.  To their great joy, they had an extra week of holidays because we had our Census taking place 24th – 31st August.  We are especially in support and in prayer with our Primary Class 8 and Secondary Class 4 who will sit their final exams starting end of October.

For both Nyumbani Home and Nyumbani Village the August school vacation was special.  High School students in Nyumbani Home enjoyed a Workshop with theme ‘Fair Chance at Living’ facilitated by Dr. Joan Githae and organized by Sr. Julia. Equally our Primary School children had their workshop on Self Awareness facilitated by Hannah Karigo. During the other weeks Sr. Julia’s usual vacation program took place with Miss Courtesy Competition for the youngest girls, an Art display with Olympics as finale. Once again Pepe Garcia returned to the Village to organize his own annual Sports Olympics and Talents Show. The four intern Comillas students gave him great support.  Another marvelous project took place at the same time with Fabio Parigi returning to gift the Village households with his new Mewar Angithi (MA) – a small metal piece which is inserted into a cooking stove and improves cooking as well as uses less firewood.  A team from COGRI Vocational Centre were identified to make the MAs while other teams built the kitchenettes and stoves. For our adolescents in Lea Toto, further training in ARV adherence, transition to high school and experience sharing took place in all the eight centres starting 8th up to 22nd August.  Issues such as drug abuse, sexuality, peer pressure and self-esteem were discussed at length.

July – August is the time in the year when the Kenya Music Festival and Sports competitions take place.  To our great joy three entries from Hotcourses Primary School reached National level: one boy for handball, Hotcourses Band which came 6th out of 14 and the Japanese Oriental Dancers coming 1st!  This dance was a truly magnificent piece. Congratulations to staff member, Mr. Joseph Kioko and his assistants. An achievement in the academic area was Georgina, Nyumbani Home graduating from Moi University on 22nd August.

Two lovely staff events were the weddings of our IT Officer, Ivan Agesa to Mary Nduku in Ongata Rongai and Reuben Mbuthi, Procurement Officer to Belinda, daughter of our long-serving staff Peter Mutinda in Kitui.  Both were inspiring celebrations and we now ask God to abundantly bless their married life.  An achievement for our Laboratory staff was the successful assessment by the Kenya National Accreditation Service, KENAS for renewal of ISO 15189: 12 Accreditation, this time for an increased period of 3 years.  We congratulate Sr. Annie, Director, Sr. Susan, Quality Manager and their team.

Currently, our Lea Toto program is being assessed for extension of services to more orphans and vulnerable children, OVCs in Nairobi Country. Some of these children will be the siblings in the families of children already enrolled in Lea Toto together with OVCs who were previously served by another USAID-funded program.We are expected to enrol 6,000 children this first year.  Plans are being put in place to increase staff and space in Lea Toto Centres. Another dimension which is also being put in place is an outreach to Faith-based Organizations to seek their help with reaching the approximately 500,000 other persons living with HIV who are not yet identified.  Lea Toto was one of four organizations who received special funding for this additional service as a faith-based paediatric program which reaches children living with/affected by HIV.

We were delighted to welcome Mr. Anthony Gitau, our new Johnson & Johnson (J&J) contact person in Kenya as well as a Becton Dickinson Bio Science group; Tim White from OVE ARUP & Partners International UK who did a marvelous site appraisal of Nyumbani Village complete with recommendations; collaborator Dr. Kavita Alluwalia, Columbia University with family.  We always look forward to the annual visit from Amici di Marsabit to visit the 10 families in their houses; we were delighted to welcome Richard Oates who, with his wife, Mary, sponsors students for tertiary education; a group from Strathmore University led by Maria Makawiti, daughter of our late Board Chair; and first time visitors Elena & Jeff and Alba and Alejandro. And just arrived is Brent Mertz our PiAF volunteer for 2019 – 2020.

We were very happy that our USA COGRF Board invited Protus Lumiti to attend the 68th UN Civil Society Conference where Nyumbani had a stand and also make a presentation.  COGRF have also identified him to receive the Nyumbani Award at the 2019 Gala on 21st September, truly deserved having served Nyumbani for over 25 years. I will be leaving for USA this coming Friday, 13th September and I am looking forward to meeting many Friends of Nyumbani.  On 2nd October, I will leave for Ireland again meeting with Friends of Nyumbani and family. I was invited to a Trinity College, Dublin Alumni meeting here in Kenya on 23rd July, for me a reunion after 30 years, during which I told them about Nyumbani.  I have another invitation while I am in Ireland and hope to make contact again.

I end on a sad but faith-supported note: We had two residents of Nyumbani Village leave us to go to God, Susu Mulila Nyama and 14-year-old Muneni Muasya. Please keep them and the families they leave behind in prayer.

Wishing each one God’s special blessing,

Sister Mary Owens Executive Director IBVM

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