As we have not been in Kenya since our last newsletter, this newsletter is compiled from emails received from Julius in July.
The current weather pattern in Kenya continues to cause great problems. In the past people could rely on significant rainfall over several weeks twice a year, starting reliably at the same time each year. Now the pattern has changed and inconsistent rain at any time seems to be the norm. For subsistence farmers this is a disaster as crops wither and die when there is not enough rain to bring them to maturity. Julius has planted a quick growing maize which produces a smaller crop than the standard maize but does so in a shorter time. This has led to Riziki being the only place in the area with mature maize. Without maize available all the year round there is little to eat and people and animals go hungry. In addition people face a long walk to get to a stream that is still flowing or have to buy water (as we do at Riziki when our rain-water tanks run dry). When it does rain it takes weeks or months for new crops to grow and mature.
On July 4th Julius told us that:-
With the shortage of food we have had problems with dogs eating maize at night but we are taking measures to prevent destruction. There is also a porcupine eating sweet potatoes at night. Daniel the gardener is trying to trap it.
However, at the time of writing all crops are doing well in the field because there is enough rain. There are tomatoes and green capsicum in the greenhouse. We expect to have a good harvest this year God willing. All the cows are expecting calves in September and October 2016.
Peter the builder is doing a quotation for renovating the two old houses to be used by the older children, starting with Lucy after she completes her secondary education this year. This follows a government ruling that 18 yr olds should not be in children’s homes. The renovated houses will become student hostels for the young adults who may be able to be temporary employees at Riziki while they are away from school or college.
We have been wanting to put a wall or fence around the entire Riziki compound for some time. On 25th June I (Julius) had a meeting with Benson (Board Chairman) and we discussed quite a number of issues including the fence and we resolved that a double twist chain link is more durable than the offcutts, a quotation for this will follow as soon as possible. We also discussed about a digital library system for the children, I will write more about this later.
On 18th June a group of young people from Nakuru town visited the Riziki children, they brought food with them which they cooked and ate with the children and staff. Liz welcomed them. They all enjoyed playing together with children.
On 26th June another group from AIC Kayanet visited the children in the afternoon, they brought sacks and drinks which they all enjoyed together after playing together, Esther and I found them playing with kids and we welcomed them.
In May 2016 Charles and Peter (gardener & driver) left without giving any reason. Catherine Kemunto joined Riziki staff in June as a cleaner to take over Veronica's place. Veronica had been with us a long time but left to have a baby. Daniel Kariuki came in the same month as a driver, also a former employee Daniel Lotele came back as a gardener.
Moses has now also left.
On July 11th Julius told us that:-
We are all well as a family and the Riziki children are all well and doing fine. They continue to do well in school; they were on mid-term but they resumed today. Faith also had come for her mid-term and she is doing well and enjoying her new school. She performed well in her school opener exam - she was second in her class with a B+. Lucy and Collins came a bit earlier for their mid-term breaks and are also doing well.
In the last email I mentioned that the maize in the field is ready and we had problems with stray dogs and porcupines. We managed to get rid of the dogs using traditional means(!!!) and one of the porcupines was caught by the trap see a picture attached.
The biggest problem we have now is people have started stealing the maize because there is no other ready maize in the area. On 4th July, around 10.30 am, a young man was found stealing. He ran away leaving behind the maize and his bicycle. The staff member who found him took the bicycle to the house. We informed the area chief who told us to take the bicycle to the police station where we recorded a statement. On 5th July in the morning it was discovered that some maize were stolen the previous night. This day we increased security and around 10 pm the watchmen saw somebody inside the maize field. Before they reached him he ran away. On 7th around 7.30 pm another person got inside the maize field. The watchmen tried to catch him but he ran away They chased him, going through the wire. He left his cap behind from which we are trying to trace the owner with help of the community members.
Before we engaged the watchman a watering can disappeared from the greenhouse at night and the same night a cooking pan which was left outside also disappeared. There have been signs of fire wood disappearing at night. So to be able to solve these problems permanently we need a fence as soon as possible, if the funds are available (This is now being dealt with following a very generous donation specifically for this purpose - Ian)
On July 22nd Julius told us that:-
We praise God for keeping us all well as a family. The Riziki children are all well and they continue to work very hard in school. The eye continues to heal well but I am on medication eye drops and tablets which I will use for six months then go back for check up on 17th February 2017 God willing.
You remember I mentioned that maize was being stolen, Since the time the maize thief was chased leaving behind his cap on the fence no maize has been stolen; it looks like he was the one doing the stealing. We are still trying to identify the owner of the cap with the help of members of the community. The problem of dogs is no more. Another porcupine was caught by the trap on 13th July but it was stolen, together with the trap, very early in the morning by our neighbours below the newest field, When asked, he confessed that they had taken the animal for meat; I told our gardeners to forget about it. The K. P. & L. Company (Kenya Power and Lighting) transformer at the corner was stolen at night on 11th and since then the whole area has been in darkness. Thank God we have the solar lighting. We have even helped some members of the community to charge their cell phones. The children send greetings to you all. May the good Lord bless you all for the good work you are doing. Ian & Diana
We are very grateful to all our supporters for what they are able to give and would be delighted to supply relevant information to anyone else who wishes to donate regularly, or occasionally, to Riziki.
Gaggia Caffe Shop, based in Elland has a feature on Riziki on their website. This can be accessed on www.gaggiacaffe.tv.