St Peter's Life-line

Supporting St Peter's Schools and Community in Kajuki, Kenya.  

A remote, rural and desperately poor community.

“Our core vision is to Embrace, Educate, Equip and Empower the next generation.”

http://www.stpeterslifeline.org.uk/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR TO HELP PLEASE EMAILenquiry@stpeterslifeline.org.uk

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ST PETER’S LIFE-LINE – FIRST FRIDAY PRAYERS – 9th NOVEMBER 2018

“Together in prayer – Umoja kwa maombi, and building a community of love”

I had the most fulfilling, yet challenging visit this time.

Schools in Kenya have their long holidays leading up to Christmas, and also end their academic year, so our schools’ Graduation Day was held on 23 Oct, a joyful, family occasion with all children celebrating their moving on. But… it is a sobering fact that many of these children will spend their holidays doing family work – grazing livestock, fetching water, and tilling and weeding their fields.

The rains have started in Kenya, but nothing substantial in Kajuki yet. For this subsistence economy rain = food!

I attended, with St Peter’s school children, a National Holiday celebration held in Kajuki. I had the opportunity to address the assembled throng, whilst perchance comforting a cerebral palsy child. Holding that child, I stood before the crowd and VIPs and made an impassioned plea that she was not an item of shame and shun, but a person who needs welcoming, embracing and loving by the community.

We took the Class 8 students – who were about to take their final National Exams, for their farewell feast at a nearishby resort with swimming pool. A treat and novel experience for all those kids, who surprised me by demonstrating their swimming skills self-taught in the river near the school – albeit with a lot of misdirected, very energetic and not very elegant splashing and shrieking!

Our Disability Action Plan (DAP) – to tackle the 114 or so ‘hidden ones’ – is beginning to take off. We have refurbished a redundant dormitory at St Peter’s as a family treatment clinic and social centre, and to include next door, our first dedicated St Peter’s Life-Line office! We have engaged the full time services of a fully qualified Occupational therapist, to start treating our disabled ones. This was a lovely ‘Godincidence’ – Pamela was one of the medics who helped assess our ‘hidden ones’, and has just finished her internship at a local hospital, and was starting to look for employment! We hope to bring all of the disabled into St Peter’s every week, not only for treatment, but to socialise, eat, and get used to being ‘out in the open’.

I had the joy, privilege and heartbreak of meeting some of these disabled kids and their families, some with such severe disabilities as to wreak despair as to what can be done – other than start pouring out love in much abundance. Some we were able to offer solutions straight away: 11 year old Evalyne we will fund and send to a specialist blind school; 13 year old Isaac, with very stunted growth, but lively and intelligent, we will take as a boarder at St Peter’s; 21 old Evangeline, with a severely deformed spine, but mobile and ambitious to get on in life, we will fund for a Secretarial Course at a Technical College.

I will make no bones about it: there is a formidable challenge in providing adequate funding for this ambitious programme to run… and succeed. If any of you have any fundraising ideas (or inclinations!), please let me know. I am always willing to come and talk to gatherings, with some powerful and moving video clips to show. For my part, I will continue to push every button in sight to gain access to funding, including a letter to Prince Harry, who as the recently appointed Captain General Royal Marines, is now a fellow Marine!

I also met 2 ladies suffering from the awful condition of obstetric fistula – one was 65 year old Regina, who has given birth 10 times, of which only five children survived, and of which her last-born involved an agonising 3 day birth, causing double and permanent incontinence. But, as you will hear later, this will all change!

I visited two government primary schools on our lunchtime feeding programme, where it was so heartening to see these kids looking healthy and full of energy. At one of these schools we distributed lovely, colourful dresses, knitwear and shorts made and dispatched to us from UK by the lovely charity Little Dresses to Africa  (http://www.littledressesforafrica.org ). The kids thought Christmas had come twice in one day!

102 loans totaling 2.2M KShs (approx £17,500) were made to the micro finance ladies, making a total of 2,234 loans made since starting this extraordinarily successful scheme. I also had the joy of attending their AGM, with over 700 ladies gathered to collect their dividends on their savings, and generally have a good old celebration and natter!

I spent 3 days in Nairobi, accompanied by Veronica, to make various calls on movers and shakers in the Kenyan orbit, mostly involved in women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment. One of our visits was to the Kibera slum, which included an interesting walkabout!

I wanted particularly to visit the hospital in Nairobi, Jamaa Mission hospital, to talk to the team involved in reversing obstetric fistula. They could not have been more helpful. The gynecological surgeon explained that the process lasted about an hour, being performed under an epidural, with about a week’s recovery. The most surprising and welcome news was that they will do the operation for free – funded by a US charity! All we had to fund was the travel to and from Kajuki for our 14 or so (so far) ladies. This process is starting right away with 6 ladies being transported to Nairobi shortly for their operstion. These ladies will at last get their lives back!

Final documentation is still under way to ensure smooth passage of our sanitary pad container into Kenya.

I visited the Water Authority HQ in Meru with Fr Frankline to attend as ‘concerned benefactor’, but still bureaucracy intervenes. The water officials visited Kajuki – and hopefully give final approval.

In promoting and reinforcing our twinning with two of our schools with the two primary schools in Somerset (Butleigh and Puriton) we not only exchanged posters, pictures and poems between the schools, but four sweaters each, with children at each school in both countries being allowed to wear their twin school’s sweater during school time, as a treat.

Our massive gratitude to Richard, and everyone else from Warfield’s Eternity Bullbrook church, who did daft things during October in their Month of Plenty Appeal. An amazing £1,525 (£1,827 with GA) was raised, a handsome contribution to our lunchtime feeding scheme.

Ros, my comrade-in-arms Down Under, is also enduring vicious magpie attacks during her training periods to raise funds for supporting expenses involved in our fistula and disability programme https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/rosalindkearney1

We have quite a few applications for grants in the pipeline. We still await with baited breath for the outcome of our grant to DfID, to give lunch to 3,000 kids at local primary schools for the next three years – a quantum leap to what we are doing now! Please keep storming heaven for this!

In our campaign against FGM we are still in the phase when our teams go round communities and personally invite girls to attend our one week, residential Alternative Rite of Passage (ARP) held in Dec. We need funding for this event - £4,800 required.

Lord, as we now turn our face towards Yours, let time stand still in our busy lives. We take a moment to seek You, to talk to You, to listen to You. Lord God, by Your Holy Spirit, we ask that You inspire us to open our minds and hearts to Your loving attention. Let us meet with You now in prayer.

The first of all commandments: 

One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these”.                                 Mk 12:28-31

 “Nothing can ever come between us…”

For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.                                                                                                                                     Ro 8:38,39

Meditation: Let us build that community of love…

God is love, and love can only be realised and expressed in relationship: the give-and-take of love.  Julian of Norwich said there is in God, “a desire, a longing, and a thirst from the beginning,” and this longing is for relationship.  With you.  God, if not loving you and if not loved by you, is somehow incomplete. Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.” (Jn 15:9) The God whom Jesus calls “Father” loves us – loves you – just as the Father loves Jesus.  You are loved that much! You have been created by God with love, for love, to love.  It’s of your essence.  Love makes you real.

   I wonder how you hear this. Do you nod or shrug or shake your head? Some of us—many of us—might discover some resistance within our own souls at the promise of God’s love. We think, ‘God doesn’t love me, couldn’t love me, can only partly love me, cannot completely love me.’  But in that assumption we are thinking only about ourselves.  Think of God. You have probably known the best of times and worst of times, and sometimes the muddle in the middle.  God is well apprised of your goings-on.  You do not have to change to know the love of God, but the love of God will change you, will make you real. God’s relationship with you is one-of-a-kind, beloved that you are.  There’s no one like you.  You make God’s day.  This is God’s love on God’s terms.  Nothing, nothing, nothing will ever separate you from the love of God. You need only say “yes” to that.

   We read, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God . . . if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.” (1 Jn 4:7) We are created to be in relationship: with God and with one another. Our attention and care to reordering our time has the goal of freeing us up to deepen and thrive in our relationships. Jesus shows us that to be human is to love: “Love one another” is his parting command to the community he drew around him. Beloved, let us love one another. Make time to love.                                                                                                                          ssje.org

 

We give thanks and praise, and glory to God for…

The end of the academic year and moving on

Celebrating with Cl 8

Opportunities to affirm love for the disabled

The successful start of the DAP

The gift of Pamela

Meeting and sharing the pain of the disabled

Little Dresses to Africa

The success of the micro finance scheme

Fruits of visits to other organisations and people

Free fistula operations and the dedicated team

Our primary schools’ twinning

All our fundraisers – particularly Richard and Ros at this time

A very fruitful visit by David

 

We pray for…

Rains!

Successful grant applications and further funding opportunities

Continuing momentum of DAP and successful fistula operations

Progress on sanitary pad and water schemes

Funding for our ARP

Many young women accepting our invitation for the ARP

He has put into my heart a marvellous love for the faithful ones who dwell in his land. Ps 16:2

1: Always good to see these guys - always smiling! 2: With cerebral palsy child at National Day celebrations, Kajuki - addressing VIPs and crowd (behind me). 3: Beautiful Natasha - being treated for her cerebral palsy. 4: Little Dresses to Africa! 5: Spotted at Graduation Day! 6: Meeting the hidden ones, and having a boogie with Victor! 7: Micro finance AGM; 8 & 9: Sweater swaps - Butleigh & St Peter’s, and, Puriton and Our Lady of Consolation. 10: A stroll in Kibera Town… 11: The fistula team at Jamaa - our Veronica, Ward Sister, Dr Stephen gynaecologist, hospital psychologist, latest patient - Grace, lovely Masai lady, and… Matron Frederick! 

SPLL Nov 18 1  SPLL Nov 18 2 SPLL Nov 18 3 SPLL Nov 18 4 SPLL Nov 18 5 SPLL Nov 18 6

SPLL Nov 18 7 SPLL Nov 18 8SPLL Nov 18 9

SPLL Nov 18 10  SPLL Nov 18 11


COMING TO KAJUKI

Margaret & Bill Donnelly, St Andrew’s Church, Box Hill and Christine & Pip Burley, St Mary’s Church, Headley

We had gone to see the work being done which has been supported by all your UK contributions to St Peter’s Life-Line - the small personally run charity founded by David Baldwin, an ex-Royal Marines officer and committed Christian.

  The visit started at the local St Peter’s Primary School, where incredibly focused boarding pupils were spending their Saturday morning in study time – amazingly well behaved children aged from five to thirteen were busy at their books, with almost no immediate supervision from the teaching staff – imagine that in England!

  We were shown around by not only Katherine, the very proud young head teacher, but also by Jacqueline and Isaac, the head boy and girl respectively – and no lack of ambition there, as he plans to be an international pilot whilst she sees herself as a world famous cardiologist – and we believe that will happen!

  The school facilities are inevitably rudimentary and bare by British standards – but all the school fees, desks, books and lunchtime food provision that SPLL supports were making a real difference. More investment will be still needed for some of the dormitories, water storage and toilet facilities here, but these are already on stream for some of the other local schools that SPPL provides support for.  

  From the calm of children’s studies, and accompanied by Father Frankline , we moved onto the chaos (to the uneducated eye) of the local market in the nearby County Town of Kathwana with sheltered stalls, or small lock-up shops for the more successful entrepreneurs. Everything was on sale, from shoes to goats, from peas to clothing repairs – with many stalls being run by the Micro-Finance small business initiative ladies that SPLL had provided the initial loans for.

  We met many more of these young (and not so young) business women the next day when we went to their monthly get together after their local church services. In small groups, they kept a strict record of their loans, repayments and any additional savings, under a broader leadership committee – both a humbling and an inspiring experience, as these ladies were creating the means to take their children through to secondary school and college level education from a background of semi-illiteracy themselves.

  With a little more “sales and marketing” advice, these start-up businesses can become the economic foundation for the whole community in the near future.

  The bumpiest ride of all was reserved for the road up to the local Mission hospital, run by three Convent Sisters under Father Emilio’s guidance .  If you were not sick when you set out, you would certainly have very bad backs by the time you got to the hospital – maybe that was why we saw so many freshly born babies in the children’s wards! Again a very good basic facility to start from, but still needing professional as well as financial support to develop its operational practices.

  Sunday morning Mass in the local church, led with both seriousness and humour by Father Frankline (with 28 other churches and prayer houses also under his leadership!) was a wide community event, with (mainly) ladies and children walking in from miles around, and singing hymns vociferously in African rhythms. It was followed by visits to other local churches, to see the SPLL investments there, in school buildings, irrigation areas, and toilet facilities – even when one of the church rooms was in effect an open “wattle and daub” mud hut.

  Again huge aspirations and intent, with firm local organisation and governance, simply needing just a little more guidance and financial pump priming.


  As well as meeting local children and adults, we had time to talk with the priests and committee chairpersons leading this community, to understand what was possible with the society and the resources available, and the political and governmental constraints that can impede grander plans – eg to repair the roads to an adequate standard, to provide buildings, teachers and equipment for improved schooling, or to stamp out any corruption that might be siphoned off from important investments.

  Overall, we found that the monies raised by St Peter’s Life-Line here in England are being very effectively used for the important projects in and around Kajuki that they have been allocated towards but, as always, there is so much more to do, and only limited leadership time and capability to make it happen!

  So our message remains - please start or keep giving to St Peter’s Life-Line and its people of the Kajuki district – your support is much needed and is being well applied to real life local challenges, and is needed both now and into the near future.

  The Charity takes no overheads, expenses or other costs.  All donations go directly to the projects.

 

Kajuki 1Kajuki 2


ST PETER’S LIFE-LINE – FIRST FRIDAY PRAYERS – 5th October 2018

 

“Together in prayer – Umoja kwa maombi, and building a community of love”

 

Richard, from Eternity Bullbrook, one of our supporting Warfield churches, is encouraging a ‘month of silliness’ amongst their congregation to raise funds for our primary schools’ lunchtime feeding programme. For during our ‘month of plenty’ in this country, as our abundant harvests come in, there is still a need to provide a meal each day for hungry school kids out there, to fill their tummies and brains! But don’t leave it all to Eternity Bullbrook – feel free to do something totally daft (or give something up in lieu) to see if you can give a child a lunch for a whole school year - £15 only! Do let us know, with pictures! Details at: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/monthofplenty2018/475419

 

To us, the most inspiring of fund raising efforts are when children catch the vision, and do something positive to help their less fortunate peers. The Butleigh primary school fund raising committee held a planning meeting at the start of term, and have come up with another fiendish plan to hold parents’ purses to ransom! And at the other end of the world, in Sydney, Maya and Bella, raised an amazing £85 from the sale of the cakes made at their very own ‘Great Ozzy Bake-Off’! Children helping children.

 

Something serious is obviously stirring Down Under, as another of our supporters, Ros, is going to tackle the  170kms ‘Tour de France Down Under’ on 1st December, to raise funds for obstetric fistula. Although a challenge in itself, apparently the biggest threat is warding off the hostile attacking magpies during her training sessions. But as a former British Army officer – no problem – tin hat and flak jacket to the fore! Details at: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/rosalindkearney1

 

David is visiting St Peter’s from 17 – 30 October. Apart from much business at Kajuki, we are also making contact with some amazing ladies in Nairobi, involved mainly in women and girls’ charities working in the slums of Kibera.

 

Our equipment for our sanitary pad ‘factory’ has now been manufactured, and is on its way to Southampton Docks. Soon, we hope to purchase all the necessary materials to make 200,000 sanitary pads, where it will all be put in a container and shipped to Kenya.

 

We have quite a few applications for grants in the pipeline. We still await with baited breath for the outcome of our grant to DfID, to give lunch to 3,000 kids at local primary schools for the next three years – a quantum leap to what we are doing now! Please storm heaven for this!

 

In our campaign against FGM we now enter the phase when our teams go round communities and personally invite girls to attend our one week, residential Alternative Rite of Passage (ARP) held in Dec. With momentum gathering over the years, many girls, and some parents are willing, but there are still areas of resistance which will need patience, persistence and prayers. We need funding for this event - £4,800 required.

 

Our discrete survey within the community of those unfortunate women suffering in silence from obstetric fistula continues. So far 13 ladies have been identified – we know there are more out there – in Veronica’s words, “Yes, it is slow progress. The stigma is huge. They will come out eventually”. We hope to be making contact with the fistula surgery specialists in Nairobi during David’s visit, to plan the way ahead to set these women free through corrective surgery.

 

And so…. Fr Frankline’s frustrating wait for the outcome of his court case goes on… At the last hearing he was told by the magistrate that ‘the judgement was not ready’ – no reason given. “We keep on praying for patience. Thank you all for standing by me. God bless you abundantly”. His next hearing is TODAY, 5 Oct, please cover him in prayer.

  

Lord, as we now turn our face towards Yours, let time stand still in our busy lives. We take a moment to seek You, to talk to You, to listen to You. Lord God, by Your Holy Spirit, we ask that You inspire us to open our minds and hearts to Your loving attention. Let us meet with You now in prayer.

 

Sowing and reaping…

   Thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you reap. Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver. And there is no limit to the blessings which God can send you – he will make sure that you will always have all you need for yourselves in every possible circumstance, and still have something to spare for all sorts of good works. As Scripture says: He was free in almsgiving, and gave to the poor: his good deeds will never be forgotten. The one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide you with all the seed you want and make the harvest of your good deeds a larger one.                                  2 Co 9:6-10

 

Meditation: “Broken…”

   The Farmer comes in from the barn, leaves a bucket from the hen house at the back door with his boots. I can hear him washing up that the mudroom’s porcelain sink. He steps into the kitchen. I look up from the dishes. He’s seen it already. The man can read my eyes better than he reads the skies. Sometimes all our unspoken broken speaks louder than anything we could ever say. He reads my slow breaking over the kids lightning bolt news and all my not-enoughness that I can’t even grope through the pain to find words for.

   He pulls me into himself, enfolds me. And then, into the quiet, he says it’s so soft I almost miss it, what I have held on to more than a thousand times since.

   “You know – everything all across this farm says the same thing, you know that, right?” He waits till I let him look me in the eye, let him look into me and all this fracturing. “The seed breaks to give us the wheat. The soil breaks to give us the crop, the sky breaks to give us the rain, the wheat breaks to give us the bread. And the bread breaks to give us the feast. There was once even an alabaster jar that broke to give him all the glory.”

   He looks right through the cracks of me. He smells of the barn and the dirt and the sky, and he’s carrying something of the maple trees at the edge of the woods – carrying old light. He says it slowly, like he means it: “Never be afraid of being a broken thing.”                             Ann Voskamp

 

“A grain of wheat…”

   Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you, most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest. Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life. If a man serves me, he must follow me; wherever I am, my servant will be there too. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.”             Jn 12:24-26

 

We give thanks and praise, and glory to God for…

 

The courage of those women declaring fistula

All our fundraisers

Children caring for children

The coming together of our san pad factory

 

We pray for…

 

Safe travels and Spirit-led events & meetings for David

Many applicants for our Dec ARP

Funding for our ARP

Successful bid applications, particularly DfID

Progress with our sanitary pad scheme

Justice for Fr Frankline’s court case

 

Let the favour of the Lord be upon us: give success to the work of our hand. Ps 90:17


Proceeds from the HARVEST SUPPER at HEADLEY VILLAGE HALL on TUESDAY 3RD OCTOBER AT 7PM will be sent to St Peter's Life-Line. 


Sadly David Baldwin is unable to join us for the Harvest Supper, but has sent us the letter below:

Dear Parishioners of St Mary’s and St Andrew’s,

 

I’m very sorry that I am unable to be with you  for your Harvest Supper, but I’m certainly with you in spirit!

Since we last met, there has been much very encouraging progress in all aspects of our support to the St Peter’s parish community.

 

Schools: Our four parish schools (which when we started was just one small primary school, St Peter’s), are now burgeoning with 700 plus pupils, all providing a quality primary education. Our contribution this year has been the building of four classrooms, and a small toilet block, by way of capital works. Our current numbers funding orphan and impoverished children through education are: 49 primary, 16 secondary, 3 tertiary and 3 university students – all paid for by faithful donations from you, our supporters.

 

FGM: our annual programme to eliminate the foul scourge of FGM continues. Over 1,700 young women have attended our Alternative Rite of Passage over the years, and we will be holding another of these one-week residential gatherings of young women at St Peter’s, seeking freedom and empowerment to have a say how they live their lives as they approach womanhood. Next year we will be concentrating on those communities who are still resistant to our message. We are winning.

 

Micro finance and savings: this scheme has been an outstanding success, with women starting up their own businesses through the loans given to them – with over 1,300 women participating, through the 1,700 loans made. We have also included a savings scheme for these ladies, where for the first time in their lives, they have something to ‘fall back on’ in time of need, or to indulge! The scheme is now fully sustainable, and will continue to grow organically, without any further input from us, apart from the satisfaction of seeing all these happy ladies, as they go about their businesses!

  

Primary school feeding scheme: the area has been through a very tough time over the months, with one harvest completely failing (as widely publicised in the press), and the latest only producing a limited  result, so hunger still stalks the land.

We have provided a hot, tummy-busting lunch for over 1,100 kids in six government primary schools this year (the kids at our own schools are very well fed!), which has had the expected result of bringing in many more children who otherwise would not have the energy or motivation to walk the long distances into school, thereby raising and stabilising attendance rates. The completely unexpected and other amazing outcome was the visible raising of academic standards in all these schools – as measured by national exam results and scores! We hope and pray that not only can we continue this scheme in 2018, but increase numbers to at least 1,500.

 

I was recently contrasting the hundreds of acres of the lush, green, tall maize crop down here in Somerset, of which ironically goes to feed livestock, to the mean, withered and scorched crops that I saw in and around Kajuki on my last visit – meant to feed human beings.

 

Water and irrigation: the supply of water has always been a problem here. There is an intermittent, low pressure and highly unreliable public supply to St Peter’s, so the main provision to our big storage tanks is by pumping from the nearby river (expensive, time consuming and very un-ecofriendly), or of course the time-honoured method of the kids going down to the river to lug their water back to school. We commissioned an engineering survey to provide gravity-fed water from the river, which will not only provide sufficient for domestic use for St Peter’s, but also the government secondary school next door… AND sufficient to irrigate up to 5 acres of crop fields that belong to the school – a very significant game-changer. A charitable foundation has granted us the £14,000 to build this in April next year. Sustainable and Green. However the perennial problem of provision of clean drinking water remains… but, we pray… one day…

 

More irrigation: at another of our school’s locations, which is very close to a river, we have initiated a professionally engineered drip-feed irrigation scheme, currently and successfully irrigating 1 acre. In Fr Frankline’s words:

 

“In our prayers, we thank God for the irrigation project which has picked up very well. Everyone on the vicinity is marveling at what their eyes can't believe. Today kids from all our schools will eat greens from our farm as a welcome gesture. They are very scarce currently. I feel very encouraged, and ready for the second portion for a bigger endeavour. We are getting somewhere in this David”.

The ‘second portion’ is the second acre, of which preparation is underway, and has been funded specifically by one of our lovely donors.

 

I am planning on visiting at the end of October to say farewell to our Year 8 primary school students who will be leaving primary school after their national exams, and attend the AGM of the micro finance ladies, as well as doing the rounds of all our projects and people.

 

We thank you so much for your faithful support to these faithful people, to whom you give so much – not only materially, but in your prayers – and that all gives them the precious gift of hope.

 

Enjoy your rich fellowship in Our Lord – and your meal!

 

God bless,

 

David Baldwin





St Peter's Life-Line is a small grass roots charity, with the passion and vision to make a big difference, where 100% of donations reach the school and community. St Peter's Life-Line partners with St Peter's primary school and community in Kajuki, Kenya, by helping to lift a community out of desperate poverty, through education, micro finance, empowering girls, feeding programmes, clean water, sanitation and the prevention of disease. The charity aims to bring Hope Through Education and a more secure future.

St Peter's School was established in 2006 by a young, dynamic priest, Fr Joe. The school is in Kajuki, situated near the foot of Mt Kenya, in the South Meru District. It is a harsh, semi-arid part of Kenya, and is home to some 40,000 people.

In January 2013 St Peter's school has 344 pupils, of which 150 live at the school during term time (many whom are orphans, vulnerable or very poor children within the parish).  Its new sister school, our Lady of Consolation has 118 pupils and the Sacred Heart nursery school has 28 pupils.

The school has no formal Government or Church support – it has to find its own means. The aim of the school is to bring in children from all around the parish, from whatever faith or none, whose parents cannot even afford the meagre costs (books, uniform, food) of sending them to local government primary schools.

St Peter's Life-Line was started in the summer of 2009 after hearing cries of desperation from the founders, during a famine period and in the violent aftermath of the Kenyan elections of 2008.

The aims within the school are to raise funds for priority capital projects, the feeding programme, school fees and salaries. The charity also funds the incredible life saving and life changing programme which fights against Female Genital Mutilation and new for 2012 they have created and established a micro finance programme for women within the community.  Donors also have the opportunity to provide funds for other, smaller items which are urgently needed. St Peter's Life-Line aims to work in a sustainable manner, helping to bring long lasting legacy. Wherever possible, items are bought locally or nationally to further aid the economy of Kenya and the local people.

St Peter's Life-Line believes that every child has the right to receive a primary education, (as set out in Article 28, The Convention on the Rights of the child, UNICEF) and that poverty should not prevent that from happening. They have seen the HOPE that education can bring to individuals and families helping to give them a more secure future to families who are trapped in the cycle of poverty.


ST PETER’S LIFE-LINE – FIRST FRIDAY PRAYERS – 7th July 2017

 

“Together in prayer – Umoja kwa maombi”

 

I took the opportunity between my wife, Ros’, hip operations, to make a short-notice visit to St Peter’s, and have just returned after a wonderful 10 day visit.

 

The fickle rains again petered out, so the maize harvest has largely failed, but there is some consolation in the production of the faster, lower growing crops such as sorghum, millet, peas and greeny grams. As ever, it is a situation that we will keep a constant watch over.

 

In connection with this scenario, the government has designated our area (Ngambang’gombe) a separate sub-district which will now qualify as a ‘hardship area’, and subject to some government relief.

 

In a very full programme I visited our schools, had the chance to talk and engage with teachers and children, and again marvel at their ambition to better their lives through education. I saw all our sponsored Transforming Lives primary school pupils (total 47), who as ever expressed their gratitude for your support.

 

I interviewed all our secondary school sponsored pupils (total 18), and will forward individual  letters of thanks and their report forms to sponsors in due course.

 

I spent an interesting morning with our Project Director, Veronica, exploring the business and practical case for bee keeping and honey production as a micro finance activities for our ladies. Very promising, and we will investigate further. We are also exploring the not-often-spoke-about provision of affordable sanitary wear for women, again as a community service and/or micro finance prospect.

 

I visited two community forums organised by Veronica, fiercely debating the issues of FGM. There are still some communities who insist on clinging to the culture of female circumcision, but encouraged by the successes we have experienced elsewhere, we are confident that with persistent education and discussion, this cruel practice will be eliminated.

 

I visited two government primary schools (out of six, where we are feeding 1,111 children) where our lunchtime feeding programme is running. Seeing these children with full tummies and bags of energy was so encouraging. One head teacher showed me proof positive that academic achievement was also being raised in her school with the Mean Score of Class 8 in their national exam rising to 234/500 in Dec 2016 from 223 in 2015 before the programme started, and I know this is similar with the other schools. I would love to add at least another 500 children to the programme for 2018, but at present we have no funds in prospect to feed any of the schools (approx £22,500 needed!).

 

I attended a meeting with the formidable ladies of the micro finance Management Board, and as ever I was very encouraged and impressed with the growth and progress of this very successful scheme. As usual I was put against the wall to part with more funds for particular purposes – I try to resist….

 

One of our lovely donors insisted that we give our schools a ‘special treat’ – which we did by having a gathering at St Peter’s of our four schools (over 700 kids) to partake in a magnificent feast, with, on the menu, a cow, masses of rice and heaps of veggies! All schools put on songs and dances, and we partied for most of the day! It was a treat – a true family gathering without any VIPs to impress, or programme to try and hold to. We also formally exchanged banners between our newly twinned schools – Our Lady of Consolation, Kathwana, and Puriton Primary, Somerset.

 

I made one of my regular visits to Rita, the amazing Italian lady in a nearby mission station, who has devoted her life to raising orphan children in the children’s home that she built and operates.

  

There are many, many cases of heartbreak in this community. I met Winnie, a young mum with 6 children. Her father had disowned her, and her husband committed suicide as a result of a family feud. She is suffering from breast cancer, for which she had an operation, but was unable to pay the bill. She was discharged from hospital, and there has been no follow-up action such as biopsy reports or ongoing treatment. Her community is giving her what support they can, but she is living hand to mouth, as she is unable to do any heavy work,

which women do to earn some money. We will directly and practically support Winnie as best we can, as

directed by Fr Frankline. One immediate way is to take on one of her sons – Peter – a lovely, bright lad, as one of our Transforming Lives pupils, where he will board at St Peter’s and be looked after.

 

On my return an email awaited me from the Trustees of the Pickwell Foundation  (http://www.thepickwellfoundation.org.uk ) informing me of our successful bid for £14,000 for our water supply scheme to St Peter’s. Another amazing miracle, demonstrating the power of prayer!

 

Doreen, the school and parish administrator, has recovered from her recent illnesses.

 

Fr Frankline is due in court for another hearing today (Friday) regarding his traffic accident.

 

So far, the lead-up to the elections (8 Aug) has been peaceful.

 

News of my visit will go up on over the next days on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/St-Peters-Life-Line-328519129029/); those who don’t have (or don’t want!) a Fb account, you can see these posts on our website: http://www.stpeterslifeline.org.uk/news/ - scroll down the box below ‘Latest news from the St Peter’s community’.

 

Lord, as we now turn our face towards Yours, let time stand still in our busy lives. We take a moment to seek You, to talk to You, to listen to You. Lord God, by Your Holy Spirit, we ask that You inspire us to open our minds and hearts to Your loving attention. Let us meet with You now in prayer.

 

“And when you pray…”

 And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.  Mt 6:5,6

 

Meditation: “…let him see you…”

Another reason for our presenting ourselves before God is to speak to him, and hear him speak to us by his inspirations and the interior movement of his grace. And one of these two benefits can never fail us in prayer. If we can speak to our Lord, let us speak, let us praise him, let us listen to him. If we cannot speak to him because we are hoarse, let us stay nevertheless in his presence and do him reverence. He will see us there; he will be pleased with our patience; and he will look with favour on our loving silence.

Whenever, then, you come near to our Lord, speak to him if you can. If you cannot, remain there, let him see you, and do not trouble yourself about anything else.                         Jean-Nicolas Grou (d1803)

 

 “God is great…”

 Let there be rejoicing and gladness

for all who seek you.

Let them say forever: God is great,”

who love your saving help.  Ps 70:5

 

We give thanks and praise for…

Safe travels and marvellous encounters during David’s visit

All our donors who give so generously

Progress on eliminating FGM

The benefits of the current primary schools’ feeding programme

Being recognized as a hardship area

Our very special schools’ treat

The Pickwell Foundation grant for our water project

Rita and her gift of love and care for her orphans

Doreen’s healing

 

We pray for…

Provision of sufficient food

Continuing development of micro finance projects

Ongoing successful elimination of FGM

Successful interaction between our newly twinned schools

Healing for Winnie and provision for her family

Justice at Fr Frankline’s next court hearing

Continuing peaceful lead-up to the elections

 

 

Anyone who humbles himself will be exalted. Mt 23:12


FIRST FRIDAY PRAYERS – 5 MAY 2017

 

“Together in prayer – Umoja kwa maombi”

 

This month, as we see the close of Eastertide approaching, we celebrate the conclusive act of Jesus’ ministry on earth with His Ascension in to heaven.

 

As you all know, we had an astounding response to our Dosh4Nosh appeal, and were able to meet all our hopes and aspirations for feeding our St Peter’s community during this difficult time – meeting last term’s food debt, feeding families during the school holidays and boosting the food budget ready to face next term.

 

Despite the feeding programme, many children will be very glad to get back to school this month, knowing that their tummies will be kept full every day!

 

Although there has been some rain reported in the area it needs to persist to bring in a full harvest come August. I have been tracking the weather forecasts there on an App – and the rain clouds seem to keep stubbornly away from Tharaka!

 

Our programme to eliminate FGM continues this month with the start of community forums, where robust debates take place with community members – fuelled by a hearty lunch that we provide! Many of the more conservative members and elder women are gradually coming round to recognising the realities of the awful health and social consequences of FGM to their girls.

 

Our proposed water irrigation scheme is out to experts in this country for evaluation and comment.

 

Another 97 loans were made to our micro finance ladies – bringing the total now to 1,605 loans made. Amazing! We are also taking on another lady to help with the growing administrative load of our FGM, micro finance, and primary schools’ feeding programme – healthy growth!

 

Our separate, primary schools’ feeding programme, feeding over 1,000 children at six government schools, will recommence at start of term, much to the relief of parents – and kids – at those schools! Although sufficient stocks for next term are already in place, we will need funding for the Christmas term.

 

Lord, as we now turn our face towards Yours, let time stand still in our busy lives. We take a moment to seek You, to talk to You, to listen to You. Lord God, by Your Holy Spirit, we ask that You inspire us to open our minds and hearts to Your loving attention. Let us meet with You now in prayer.

 

Bread to eat

 “That”, said Moses to them, “is the bread the Lord gives you to eat. This is the Lord’s command: everyone must gather enough of it for his needs, one omer a head, according to the number of persons in your families. Each of you will gather for those who share his tent.”                                   Ex 16:15

 

“I saved you…”

Ring out your joy to God our strength,

shout in triumph to the God of Jacob.

Raise a song and sound the timbrel,

the sweet-sounding harp and the lute.

 

A voice I did not know said to me:

“I freed your shoulder from the burden;

 your hands were freed from the load.

You called in distress and I saved you”. Ps 81:1-3,5-7

 

Meditation: Seek the Lord

 “Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.” (Jn 20:11)

With Mary, we may seek the Lord, weeping when he is not to be found – in prayer, in worship, in our daily round of activities – only to come upon him in the most unexpected of places and discover that he has been there all along. It was we who did not recognise him. As he promised, our risen Lord is with us always.

 

“I am with you always…”

 The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you.

And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time”.                          Mt 28:16-20

 

We give thanks and praise for…

 

Our very generous donors

Provision of food to families most in need

The start of the rains

The success of our team battling the scourge of FGM

The continuing healthy and fruitful growth of the micro finance scheme

 

We pray for…

 

Continuing rain, rain, rain!

Continuing clarity to the community over consequences of FGM

Successful grant applications for ARP and water provision

Continuing blessings on our supporters for their kindness and generosity

The means to meet the challenges of this term

A blessing on all teachers, staff and pupils at our four schools for the start of term

 

“Now as he blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven”. Lk 24:51

 

Many of you have listened to David Baldwin talk about the work undertaken by St Peter's Life-Line at our Harvest suppers over the past few years. As a parish we are proud to help this small, grass roots charity educate and feed to young people in this desperately poor semi arid region in Kajuki, Kenya.

 

Drought disaster in this region is not 'news' anymore, but David has written that the current water shortage has caused a huge increase in the cost of providing a hot meal once a day for the 700 students at four schools (Please see David's email dated 21st February below). Fr Frankline is almost at breaking point. 

 

A portable water pump has been donated to support the irrigation scheme near the Sacred Heart School, but until the next seasonal rains arrive in April/May, additional funds are needed to maintain the food budget.

 


HOW CAN WE HELP? 


Donate directly through their donation page: https://mydonate.bt.com/donation/start.html?charity=75087


David sent us the pictures below.

On the left, one family's crop terrace during drought. On the right, the same terrace after rain.


Kajuki Drought Terraces            St Peters Lifeline Terraces after Rain  


Fr Frankline surveying the school crops, withered and dying.


Fr Frankline Surveying the Crops






 

Below is the email from David and Susie, outlining the current desperate situation in Kajuki:

21 February 2017

Dear Lovely Supporters All,

 

I had an email from Fr Frankline a couple of days ago telling me of problems that are besetting him "almost to breaking point" - a couple being transportation problems of day scholars to school who live some distance away, with our faithful minibus now in terminal decline, and failure in his efforts to try and encourage one of our sponsored tertiary students to take her studies seriously, and us, sadly, having to discontinue her sponsorship. However his biggest concern is feeding the kids at our four schools (over 700) over this and next term, now that shortage of food prices are rocketing in the face of the severe drought gripping this area.

 

In his words: “The climatic condition has deteriorated terribly. Food prices have hiked enormously. I was studying the budget and I’m so scared of the survival of these two terms before there is a harvest.” I heard this just before I heard news that the Kenya government has declared a drought disaster in the affected ares (ours being one).

 

The next seasonal rains are not due until Apr/May, for a harvest in Jul/Aug - if they come. In amongst all the bombardment of other daily news, we read and hear about ongoing droughts (and now the awful famines not so far from us in S Sudan) in a rather detached way. But for us, these are real people whom we know personally and love, and it affects us personally. This of course, is nothing new in this area - and is why we initially engaged with St Peter’s by throwing that life-line to save them, at that time, from closure.

 

I have sent some immediate aid - £500 to boost the food budget, but if it goes anything like the last time they suffered severe drought conditions we had to raise about £5,000 over the period to maintain a full and healthy diet for our kids. On social, and other media we will be launching a “Dosh for Nosh" appeal.

 

In the longer term two generous donors have given sufficient to buy a portable water pump (£1,600) to start an irrigation scheme on fertile fields adjacent to one of our schools (Sacred Heart), that are now available for this use, and are very close to a river. This should give some degree of food security and cushion to the cash budget.

 

This is by way of an update. I am always very reluctant indeed to ask of you who are already so committed to our community. So I hope you don’t find it totally disingenuous of me just to say that only if you feel moved to give anything, no matter how small, it is easily done from our donation page: https://mydonate.bt.com/donation/start.html?charity=75087

 

I am in constant touch with Fr Frankline, and I know he is so grateful for the prayers, support and encouragement that he is, and will be given, by you all.

 

If you do have any queries, please do get back in touch,

 

As ever,

 

David & Susie



Below is a letter from David, following his recent visit to Kajuki and receipt of our Harvest Donations:

                                                                                                                                 13 Oct 16

Dear Lovely Supporters from Headley and Box Hill,

I am writing to thank you all so very much for your amazing donations to St Peter’s Life-Line from your Harvest Supper!

Having just returned from my visit out to St Peter’s I was able to see, for the first time, our primary schools lunchtime feeding programme in action, with the 740 or so children at 5 local government primary schools. It was clearly evident from all concerned, how appreciative they all are of this initiative. I heard of a comment from one person, “How is it that a complete stranger can come along and feed our children – we are so grateful”.

Your donation has given great encouragement for us to increase our programme by at least one other school for next year, and after I’ve done a few more sums (and said some more prayers!) we might be able to increase to yet another school - making a total of 7, with over 1,000 children. Please pray too!

It was extremely hot, dry and very dusty out there. There are obvious food shortages generally, and food is expensive. Most of the planting has been done as they wait expectantly for the coming rains at the end of the month. They really need a good harvest come Jan/Feb next year.

All other projects are thriving – the four schools we support, the anti-FGM initiative that we run, and the continually burgeoning micro finance scheme – thanks be to God!

Asenteni sana tena – many thanks once again!

Blessings, as ever, David


St Peter's Lifeline School Pupil         St Peters Children

Grain St Peters   Lunch St Peters