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  • Isabelle Prondzynski

The high and lows of recent months

For the Tujisaidie Self-Help Group in Kayole, Nairobi, the first six months of 2024 brought some happy and some sad events.

The happiest event was the grant from Misean Cara, with contributions from the community itself, CMSIreland and other donors. This was provided in order to build an upper floor on the existing school.

We needed to start by demolishing the oldest wing of the school, then rebuilding the ground floor and adding an upper floor. The existing four small classrooms of the ground floor have now been replaced by three new larger and brighter classrooms, plus three extra classrooms on the upper floor.

The work started just before Christmas last year and is almost finished now. The upper floor classrooms are already in use, while those on the ground floor are receiving their final touches. The exterior has been plastered and is being painted in the school colours. This is a tremendous achievement, the community is very proud of its school which is already attracting new students. The beautiful painting of the school playground is another attractive feature that was achieved only a few months earlier, thanks to a donation from a link church in Ireland.

The saddest event is the effect that the El Niño pattern, combined with climate change, has had on Kenya, and specifically on our community. The local river swelled angrily as a result of the continuing heavy downpours. Running alongside many of the community houses, there was a risk that they could disappear into the raging waters.

The government finally decided that all dwellings within 30m of any river would be demolished. This meant that some 50 households of our community lost their legally owned plots, together with the houses that they had built there and the livelihoods they had built up. They were able to salvage only the contents of the houses, together with any building materials they could carry. Alongside them, a huge number of shanty dwellings had sprung up even closer to the river, and these too were demolished.

As I write, our 50 families have nowhere to go. They have found temporary solutions, but the rain goes on and is forecast to continue until September, and they will need permanent new homes. We are not very hopeful that the government can help, given the fact that all of Kenya has been devastated by these El Niño rains. We are grateful to CMSIreland for having launched an appeal to bring funds to the community, including for those people whose houses were spared, but who suffered a lot of damage from rainwater seeping in through old, corrugated iron roofs and damaging bedding, clothes and food stocks. CMSI is still receiving donations on our behalf – click here to donate to the appeal:

Please continue to pray for Kenya and for the Tujisaidie community in Kayole!

photographs by Isabelle Prondzynski, Lucy Irungu and Patrick Wafula



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