Dear wonderful friends of WFWIA,
Many of our sponsors and donors have contacted me to check on how their children are doing in Nairobi.
Early this week I spoke with Sr Leonida Kwamboka, the Director of the WkW Centre, she was very distressed. The children have been sent home as the schools are closed. On Monday morning, the children arrived at the WkW Centre, up to 300 children were expected. However, because of Government restrictions, WkW had to lock the gates on the children and not allow them to enter.
They did not really understand – they were coming for tuition, to play and most of all to get a lunch meal. The staff were devastated that they had to send the children home with nothing, to shanty homes jam-packed next to neighbours and probably no food, no water and no sanitation. They do not have hand sanitisers and they can’t wash their hands as they have very little or no water. There are no clinics in Kibera that would be prepared for the Virus and hospitals would be too expensive to attend. The women are not able to get work so cannot provide for families. Normally there are many women sitting in the street, each day, hoping to get cleaning jobs, now there are none.
We at WFWIA had set up a Disaster/Medical Fund in case of emergencies as we realise the need to look after the families. I suggested to Leonida that maybe they could provide food packages to the families – oil, flour, beans, rice, and soap bars – and she was overjoyed and immediately went to supermarkets with Sr. Kevina to buy supplies and to get the support underway.
We are also concerned about the health of our wonderful staff and have ensured that they will get any medical support they need and that their salaries are safe should they fall ill. I am not sure what will happen if they do become ill, so we hope for the very best.
At that time, there seemed to be minimal cases of COVID-19 in Kenya but last night I got the news that has changed and the coronavirus is in Nairobi. If it does spread, slums like Kibera will be hugely affected and many will die.
I would like to share something of what Leonida wrote last evening –
“Marguerite, I know you are always thinking of these families. You have done well. They have food today.
Yes, for once the whole world is united to fight the same enemy. Aussies are outdoor people, so I wonder how you are coping. Before we had a case, we were thinking about you and praying you keep safe. Now we are in it and my biggest worry is our families from the slums. How on earth are they going to keep safe and what will they eat. All the children are at home. They used to get their meals here. Now the parents can’t even find a day’s job. The stories I hear are so heartbreaking. Lucky are the families that we have been able to give
In the meantime, we are doing all we can to support the families and to provide food and advice. Today we are doing food supplies in case we are not around tomorrow. We shall work from home. There are no cars on the road. There are very few public vehicles and the staff are scared to enter overcrowded public vehicles. I have discussed with Francis (Chairman of WkW) and I will let them all work from home as I attend to any critical needs at the Centre.”
As in Australia, the outlook will change each day and not for the better. I don’t know what more we can do but pray and hope that it will pass quickly and maybe Coronovirus will not penetrate Kibera, but I think that is wishful thinking.
I am sure you will join me in sending our love, best wishes and thanks to Leonida and all the staff and volunteers at the WkW Centre. Many live in Kibera, please God keep them safe.
I am very grateful to those who have sought assurance that ‘their children’ are safe. It is a difficult time for everyone world-wide but I can assure you that along with our own families, here in Australia, we will give as much assistance to our families in Kibera that we can.
Stay well, keep safe, smile – one day it will all be over, but I think our lives will be changed forever.
Read further updates from Kibera HERE