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Dear Fr. Gerry,
I hope this letter finds you well. Time is flying over here as its only 2 weeks until I return home. The people of Thigio are truly grateful for everything we have done for them and they extend their blessings to everyone who has made it possible.
To date I have bought much needed equipment for the 4 special needs centres; a junior and senior centre here in Thigio and in the outreach centre in Kiawanda ,which has recently opened. The people who attend this outreach centre have had no form of education to date and we hope that through my demonstrating of different teaching methods for children with special needs and the use of the equipment I have bought will help these people to develop basic literacy and numeracy skills.
I have held workshops with the special needs coordinator here in Thigio to help devise more effective teaching strategies. The training and direction form the dept. of Education is very minimal and does not appear to have any beneficial goals to which the children/adults can work towards. Hence teachers find themselves supervising activities instead of constructing a learning environment.
On recent trips to Nairobi I have purchased a small portable suction machine and nebulizer for the hospice and dispensary. The care given to the clients/patients here is second to none and these machines will make their last few days a little more comfortable. It is very hard to believe that HIV/AIDS are no longer an epidemic; cancer is the main cause of death within Africa. The hospice in Thigio run by Sr. Eileen can care for up to 9 patients at any given time. To date the hospice has had 270+ patients since its opening, all of which have suffered from some form of cancer. Along with the hospice and dispensary the Sisters have a very successful physiotherapy unit which is attended by both children and adults. I discussed with Dennis the physiotherapist the work he does and how he manages with the little equipment he has. Concluding this discussion it was evident the clinic was in need of help to enhance the clients progress and Dennis’ work. I bought knee supports, weights, physiotherapy balls etc. all of which were greatly appreciated.
The compound in Thigio has a library which was built as a result of a donation from an Irish family. The library holds many books and schools within the locality attend every week at their designated time. One school in particular which would facilitate the poorest within the community is Thigio primary. As I became aware of this and meeting the children I wanted to help make their education just a little brighter as the school is badly run and the principal does not seem to prioritise class books, materials etc. Sr. Catherine and I devised a plan to which I could help the children but also ensure the books were used effectively and would be monitored. I bought English and Kiswahili books as most students appear to struggle with these subjects.I then donated them to the library through which we would loan the books to the school, each teacher and the vice principal signed off and has taken fully responsibility for the books. On loaning the books to Thigio Primary I have received a letter of sincere thank you;
Dear Mary and Sr. Catherine,
Greetings in the name our Lord Saviour Jesus Christ.I am happy to write this letter to thank you most sincerely for giving us learning material. Your kind and considerate gesture will see our pupils perform better.
Kindly accept our heart felt appreciation on behalf of the children, parents and teachers , for all the text books you have donated to us. Quality education to those children is the only weapon that can remove them in future and their parents from poverty and hopelessness to the pastures of hope and economic prosperity.
We feel happy,elated and sustained by your kind hearted attitude towards the school.
Thank you. Asante! Ni wega!
Thiaara Ngugi (Head Teacher)
The support and generosity of the parish and wider community has certainly made a change within this poverty stricken community. I aim to further help this community within the coming weeks. Assisting and enabling the people of Thigio , in creating opportunities from which they can prosper with thanks to your kind hearts and generosity.