Photos from the March Trip (over 360) click on the various headings
Airport (15pics), Building work (29pics), Famine relief (8pics), Food! (37pics),
Groups of children (57pics), Individual children (88pics), Letters received (35pics),
Letter writing (25pics), Melissa (7pics), New children (22pics), Sunrise/sets (46pics)
Children working the land (22pics)
March Trip: For the first time for several years the writer of this report (Graham Pountain) made the trip alone. David Borland who had originally booked to visit was unable to do so due to a heart attack. Thankfully David is now recovering from his triple heart by-pass operation and hopes to visit again when he is fully recovered (thank you for your prayers). This did mean that some of the work planned was left unfinished (especially work on budgets etc.). However, as usual we have some good news and some not so good. First the good news, Building work going according to schedule. Moses Edwards returned to his father. Four new children. Melissa Perry visits to help with our English lessons. The rains have come! The not so good news: The old Inverter failed, the new smaller inverter blew up many electrical appliances. See below for details
FAMINE: Great News, as soon as I arrived the rains started and one night during my stay we had a very dramatic thunderstorm followed by 2 or 3 hours of torrential rain. The villagers are very happy and planting furiously. This means that in about 6-8weeks the faster growing crops will be ready to harvest and the villagers will no longer need any help. This all means that the £2,500 donated from various sources will be sufficient to complete the programme which consisted of feeding about 240 families with 5 kilos of maize per week for upto 12 weeks. Thanks once again for making this possible
Click here to see the photos of the villagers as they wait for their names to be called out. Once called the villagers are handed the 5 kilos of Maize which they usually take away in a sack or wrap in their Kangas. Click here to see a short video (1min 20secs)
New children: 4 new children joined Bethany in March 2006 and Moses Edwards has been returned to his father so making the number now cared for by Bethany = 89.
The new children are:
Zawadi (meaning gift) Hassan. This is rather a sad story which starts with Zawadi’s mother initially having two children with one man. She left this man (reason unknown) and met another man who fathered her third child Zawadi. However, mum and second husband died and the original father of the first two children came and took his own two children and also Zawadi. However Zawadi was not properly toilet trained and messed the bed from time to time and her step father beat her to such an extent that his neighbours complained to the police and he was subsequently arrested and is awaiting trial. Zawadi bears several scars from the beatings she received from her father (which are now healing) and the lady from the social welfare came and asked us to admit Zawadi to Bethany. The other two older children are being looked after by friends / neighbours of their father.
Esther John (6yrs) and sister Sarah John (3yrs). Their father has died or absconded but their mother is still alive and looking after their brother who is ill. Each child has a different father and their mother had been mistreated by the last man she was living with.
Dickson Elisha (14yrs) came to Bethany in February. His story is complicated but so far he has told us that his mother died in 1995 and his father in 2003. He went to live with his grandmother who was living with her daughter (sister of Dickson’s mother). However this daughter had 5 of her own children all with different fathers and was struggling to look after them all. This daughter brought Dickson to us.
Click here to see our new children.
The conversion of our old Clinic building into 3 new classrooms, storeroom, first-aid room and library is going according to plan! The roof and ceilings have been dismantled and the 1000’s of bats have found new homes elsewhere! They had destroyed many of the ceiling boards due to droppings and urine. The smell is now slowly subsiding and the new roofing timbers are in place together with a few translucent panels in the roof to deter the bats from renewing their residence. New ceiling boards are in place and the interior walls re-jigged to make the rooms usable (as per David Borland’s plan) together with some new window openings and some bricked up. We have started on the toilet block which is going on the end of the building each room (one male , one female) will provide 2 toilets 2 washbasins and 2 showers.
Click here to see the pictures
Power inverter blows-up; This is our not so good news. On Monday the 6th March we awoke to find the power was off. (Supporters may remember that we use solar panels to charge our batteries and then an inverter converts the voltage from 48volts DC to 240 volts AC). We opened up the container which holds our batteries and converter and carefully pressed the button which usually brings the unit back to life. However, not on this occasion - just a crackling noise, smoke and sparks came forth. We disconnected the unit and opened it up to find lizard droppings and urine had eaten away at one of the main circuit boards and also about 20 transistors had blown. Our local electrician offered to go to Nairobi in Kenya (a day’s bus ride there and another day to return) to buy new parts. The following day he set off and phoned the day after to say the parts were not available and that he been advise that it was cheaper to buy a new unit than to replace specific circuit boards. Our problem was that without power the water automatically turns off (using an electronic valve) as a safety precaution since without power the UV water filter doesn’t work. We decided to buy a small inverter unit (£240) from Mwanza so that we could continue to have clean water whilst we decided what to do with the old unit, either repair or replace. We returned with our new inverter which from the outside looked very smart. We eagerly connected one end to the battery and the other to our mains wiring. The meter said it was working fine and it seemed to hum nicely. However it turned out that everything that had been connected at the time we switched on had blown and subsequently will need repair or replacement. This includes the ballast in the UV filter (blown), the electronic water valve (blown), the time switch (blown), small battery charger (blown). these items are not repairable and will need replacing. Other things that blew which we hope to repair include our hardworking laminator which started to smoke and our cheap inkjet photocopier. Both these items had been plugged in but switched off but still issued forth smoke when the plugs came live. We checked the voltage and found the 220volt inverter gave out 300volts which caused everything connected to blow. The only things that didn’t blow were the light bulbs. Since coming home Daniel tells me that the new inverter has itself blown. A new inverter is going to cost £2,000 to replace, the electronic valve nearly £200 and the ballast for the UV over £80. The laminator and photcopier we can manage without if we are unable to repair them. Presently they have managed to bypass the water valve so that the water continues to run but needs boiling before drinking and they are using our old diesel generator in the evenings to provide lights until bed time (9pm).
Children’s health: Mostly the children are well but suffer from the occasional bought of malaria or other common complaint. We have now provided mossy nets for the east wing of the new girls dorm and hope that these larger square mossy nets will work better than the smaller round ones.
Children Working: Now the rains have come our children like everyone else are busy hoeing and planting hoping the rains continue and a crop is ready to harvest in about 8 weeks time.
Click here to see the pics.
Children’s singing: The children practice almost every afternoon after school and I took a short 1min 47second video of Jesca teaching the rest how to dance. Click here to view
Click here for other songs (audio) download,
Click here for older video downloads.
Return trip to England: No real progress. Trying to obtain all the necessary documentation is more difficult this time round with all the new regulations. The regulations make it almost impossible for orphaned children to obtain things like birth certificates which are needed for the applications for passports. It may be that the first trip will be the last trip which is a great shame as the children were such great ambassadors for Bethany and Tanzania. Also we still have no accommodation arranged and are still looking for FREE or nearly free accommodation for up to 30 children (plus 3 adults) for 6 weeks through mid September until the end of October. If there is anyone out there who knows of, or who owns a very large house or hotel/guest house and would consider the possibility of us using it then please let us know. It would need to be around the Blackburn area. email here.
Monthly Supporters / Enquirers Meetings: The dates for the next three meetings which are all on Saturdays and are: 1st April, 6th May and 3rd June 2006. They are held at the Hope Centre, Ossy. 10am-noon. Everyone welcome. (click here for details)
Future trips -----------------------------
Easter trip: 8th to 21st April. There are two groups going, Group 1: Ian Kelly (joinery lecturer), Gary Nolan (joinery lecturer), John Brindle (joinery lecturer), Dave Thomas (plumbing lecturer) and Graham Pountain. Group two: Graham and Elaine Earnshaw, Rebecca Smith (administrator), Wendy Whitaker (teaching assistant), Sarah Duerden (dental hygienist) and Naomi Bancroft.
May /June trip: Nothing yet booked (email me if you want to go)
July 2nd to 19th trip: Eddie Jeffery (UK team) is leading this trip and so far Rachel Louise Bacon and Abigail Barnsley are accompanying him. There is still time to book.
July 24th to August 8th trip. This is now fully booked and is made up of the following people:
Graham and Sheila Pountain, Joan Kearsley, Cathy Riley, Sharon Gerrard, plus the group from St. James Clitheroe: Joanna Pelllet, Daniel Hughes, Luke Dyer, Rebecca Dyer, Bethany Pickett, James Murdoch, Daniel Porter plus the group from Christ Church Accrington, Kevin Logan and Ann (soon to be Logan), Tia Danning, Nicholas Hopkinson, Karen Ross, Daizy Nasimiyu and Edward Briggs. Total of 19 visitors
No further trips are planned due to the possibility of some of the children visiting Sept - Oct.
Staff changes: Tanz team - Mr. Matiku has left and one of our long serving care workers has joined; Mr Yona Jackson (33yrs) married with 3 children, UK team changes - none
Pen pals group web site: This group continues to write to our children with letters of encouragement. Some pen pals are now becoming sponsors. Melissa Perry is now helping the children write replies which should have been posted by now.
Click the following to see pics; Letters received etc,
Click here to see the web site and apply to join.
Sponsorship web site: Shana who runs our Pen pals web site has also started a web site dedicated to helping those who want to know more about sponsorship.
Click here to join the sponsorship web site.
Sponsorship - Finance: As ever - finance is an ongoing concern. In February we reported that of the 86 children only 9 are fully sponsored (by 6 donors). A further 11 are partly sponsored leaving 66 children with no support.
As of the 23rd March our total children has increased to 89 and we now have 4 more children fully sponsored (making 13 in total), and another 4 partially sponsored (making 15 in total).
This brings in a total of £538 and our monthly expenditure is now £2,937 (£33 x 89 children)
We continue to receive approx £500 per month from regular givers who are not directly sponsoring individual children. Our shortfall is made up of many one off donations which appear every month from a variety of individuals and organisations. For those still considering sponsoring or co-sponsoring please see our list of names for sponsorship. Click here
To learn more about sponsorship we have produced a 4 page Question and Answer sheet (click here).
Money boxes: As you can see our total collected from the money boxes is over £1604 as of 23rd March 2006.
Publicity cards: We still have the postcard size flyers (financed by separate sponsorship). These are now available and are ideal to give to everyone (e.g. school children, congregations etc etc.) They are ideal in the sense that they advertise the web site address and show some photos of our children. Please E-mail me with how many you would like and I will either post them or bring them to you. Click here to see the cards.
Pen pals group: Going from strength to strength
Click here to see the web site and apply to join.
1) Refurbishment of the old dormitory not yet started.
2) Provision of accommodation for volunteers (visiting and permanent) and staff. Not yet started
3) New School. As mentioned above we have plans to convert our clinic to provide 3 classrooms. We hope this will be the start with more classrooms to follow.
Live Link: It is now possible for us to arrange a phone link (prearranged) whereby the children at Bethany could answer questions (in English) over the phone from children in the UK. The cost of the phone call using a special prefix number is 15p per minute. This may be suitable for all sorts of groups. Please remember that only the older children can speak English and we would need to have the questions beforehand. The day and time would have to be prearranged. (We can arrange this only because recently mobile phone coverage has been extended to cover our area and the Bethany team now have cheap mobile phones). We had applied for a ‘land line’ over ten years ago and now with the advent of mobile phone coverage it is unlikely that provision of land lines other than in the cities will be pursued.
Satellite Internet: No further news
Photo Album: Click here for details.
Possible bore hole: No further news.
Mains Power: No news, no change. Still patiently waiting
And Finally: Thank you so much for being interested enough in our work to be reading this. Even more if by your donation you have made this work possible.
N.B. (Please note that this web site is accessible world wide and so we are very careful to only publish the bare facts as truthfully as possible. There are often circumstances upon which decisions have been made which we feel unable to publish. Please contact us directly if you need to know more)