A school day in the life...
by Frank Dimmock
School mornings begin very early at Tumaini Children’s Home in Nyeri, Kenya. The secondary school students (44 of them, ages 14 to 19) must leave for school at 6 a.m. Before that they must clean their room, make their beds, bathe, dress and eat a porridge breakfast. It is especially difficult when there is no water readily available. The primary students (81 of them, some as young as 4) must follow the same procedure for a 7 a.m. departure. There are two matrons at the home responsible for making sure that this process moves smoothly and efficiently. It has been raining for the past three days and some of the school uniforms are not quite dry (understatement). It is 7:20 now and much quieter around the campus. It’s time for cleanup and beginning preparation for the lunches for the primary students.
The Outreach Foundation and other partners have been supporting Tumaini for more than 15 years. The home is one of many children’s homes that are affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. The institution caters to children selected from vulnerable families in the region. The government primary and secondary schools are nearby, making boarding convenient for the children. Some of the children are orphaned or come from broken or abusive home situations or are impoverished. They stay at the home for eight years on average. While they receive some local support, mostly in-kind, about 80% of their running expenses are met by international donors.
We are visiting to observe how the home is functioning and to take part in a meeting of the Board of Management. In the current global economy, sustaining the required support is becoming increasingly difficult. The board meeting was well-attended (12 of 14 members) and lasted seven hours. During that time the strategic plans for Tumaini Children’s Home and the Sugarbaker Clinic were reviewed and amended. Assignments were given to complete missing information and a date for new draft was set as March 31st.
Africa Mission Specialist