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Lavington United Church, Nairobi, Kenya.

A wonderful opportunity occurred earlier this year for me to visit Kenya. Following a quite spectacular safari, Martin, Betty and myself were able to benefit from two part day visits to Lavington. The church, in a leafy suburb of Nairobi (affectionately known by visitors as “Nai Robbery”), is some fifteen minutes drive from the city centre. A similar walking distance from the church is found a ghetto where some 40-50,000 people “live”!

A humbling visit to this conurbation was made in order to follow up an invitation to the home of Vincent Odour, one of the fourteen students sponsored by Marple Methodist Church. This visit illustrated to us how people live, exist, in developing parts of the world. Accommodation is very basic in homes, two thirds the size of an average single garage, constructed of corrugated iron on an earth floor, without a supply of electricity or water - one toilet between fifty persons. However the cordial welcome by Vincent’s family was recorded on camera outside their home, which also doubles as a shop - this has to be seen to be believed. Vincent’s family, not all able to speak English, were most pleased to greet us and express their gratitude to Marple Methodist Church for the education sponsorship that is afforded to Vincent. All the family were well dressed in clean clothes - how do they manage it in their situation? Self respect is most evident in the people who we were fortunate to meet at various stages. Incidentally Joseph (remember him) was brought up in this ghetto as an orphan - what determination he had. Education is really the only way that individuals can develop in order to earn a living - apparently, only 10% of the potential working population in this ghetto are employed. The population of Kenya is approximately 32 million with over 5 million living in ghettoes similar to the one we visited. The witness of the Lavington Church is “to extend Christ’s loving concern to the needy persons in these slums, not only by proclamation of the word but also by practical assistance in many different ways”. The writer’s space does not allow time to expand, other than the two projects that we, Marple Methodist Church, support - namely:

  • The education sponsorship - education in Kenya, beyond thirteen years of age, is not financed by the state and is therefore for the privileged few. This is where we can and do help, however still many who would benefit from further education are denied by limited funds.
  • The Dispensary Clinic project - vital to the community in the ghetto has and continues to be supported by our church - claimed by many to have made an impact. Our support of the two projects continues to be greatly appreciated by the Social Services Department of the church and the students who benefit. We were privileged to meet a number of the group, and were impressed by their ability, dedication and acceptance by the people they seek to serve.

The visit to Marple in March of Joseph Kinyanjui gave us at first hand, evidence of the difference, we as a church, have made to his life - how grateful he was too! There will be an opportunity for us all to contribute to the dispensary/clinic project - half of the proceeds of our Harvest Bread Bin are allocated to Lavington.

However should you wish to become involved in the education sponsorship please speak with the writer.

Thank you all for your continuing support of this most worthwhile witness.

Peter Avill
 
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