Lutterworth’s Ernie Stanford is in Kenya volunteering for the Kindfund charity. Here, in the first in a series of despatches, he describes life at a children’s home.
N’garemara 2013 - Market Harborough, Lutterworth and the villages of South Leicestershire are approximately 4,800 miles distant and a way of life as different as chalk from cheese.
There is a saying – in the west they have watches, in Africa they have time.
I have recently spent all too brief a time in northern Kenya, 300-miles from Nairobi.
The people are tribal, pastoralists and poor.
It is in this area that George and Joy Adamson lived - sadly both were murdered.
The sun is unrelenting - 35C to 40C degrees and scrubland as far as the eye can see, inhabited by animals - some friendly, some not so.
I am here as a volunteer for a charity, Kindfund, who fund directly and manage three homes for kids whose parents are dead.
They may have grandparents but they are too poor to meet the needs of their grandchildren.
The kids, it may be said, have nothing and nobody.
N’garemara is a home for them set in five acres surrounded by scrubland.
The buildings are solid brick dormitories for boys and girls (the girls has curtains, both have mosquito nets).
There is a dining/meeting/homework room, a kitchen - wood is the only fuel, gathered from the surrounding scrubland -
and toilets, African style.
Porridge for breakfast (plus an egg on Sunday) school meal lunchtime (if the food arrives,if not they are sent home), evening meal in the home (beans, maize and potatoes and no meat - not trusted).
Water comes from a well on site and the kids do their own washing - it dries very quickly!
There are 41 kids in N’garemara home, from aged 10-ish up to 18-ish.
Ages are not exact as there are no birth certificates.
For school, they must have a uniform. No uniform = no school.
They leave at 7-ish and return 4.30-ish.
The schools are sited in the scrubland, so they go and return in groups.
There are two men employed for odd jobs, including minding the metal gates until everybody is in for the night.
The night watch is provided by two dogs who bark loudly and a cat who deals with vermin.