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 Rags to Riches...

Gordon Bramall has received the following email letter and photographs from Peter Davey who heads up 'Rags to Riches', a charity of which St.Chad's Church subscribes to.

At a St. Chads Fellowship meeting, the Rev. John Daimond presented to Linda Davey, a cheque of £1000 towards the work of the 'Rags to Riches' organisation in Kenya.

December 2008

A very happy and blessed Christmas to you and all those dear to you.

As promised I am writing to bring you up to date with the work of the ministry in Kenya after my latest trip over there in the land of sunshine. I had a busy time of it during the two weeks I was there at the beginning of this month, what with spending time with our children, charity society meetings, staff meetings and riveting times with our lawyer!

It had been six months since my last visit and I was surprised to see how things had settled down, at least superficially. When I was in Kenya in May I felt as though the whole situation might explode again at any moment, people were disorientated and angry, displaced people were everywhere and so many ordinary people to whom I spoke had a tale to tell about how the crisis had affected them. So, on landing in Nairobi, it was with some relief that I found taxi drivers and acquaintances sounding remarkably optimistic and positive about the future. Of course the country still faces enormous challenges if it is advance over the hurdle of tribalism. So many have been harmed and so many wealthy and powerful people implicated in the violence that it will take a real effort of will on the part of leaders across the country for the culprits to be finally brought to justice. A lot has been forgiven, but the memories remain and with them a cloud that hangs heavily over future elections, due in 4 years time.

Our group of displaced people have all been resettled back in their home areas or have been assisted to settle in and around Nakuru. Our team did a great job in very difficult circumstances, often facing the challenge of trying to cater for large numbers of their own extended families who had taken shelter with them in Nakuru. Our churches have all suffered from the instability; one has been forced to close after all but 2 of its members fled during the worst of the violence in January, another, in one of the most severely affected rural areas was similarly affected. Its entire congregation was chased away, houses and property stolen or destroyed and the church evicted from its building. However the young Pastor continued to visit people throughout the violence and gained a reputation for his genuine concern. Although they remain desperately short of resources the church has now grown back every member it lost and is a beacon of care in that devastated community.

For the first half of the year our team of trainers led by Pastor Samuel was unable to move easily about the country and so it was only as the year went on that they were able to respond to some of the many requests from church leaders across Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. In that time of fear and instability when most people avoided travelling to unfamiliar and perhaps hostile areas the team were welcomed most warmly and their work appreciated. We hope that finance will allow them to continue this year, this work is always the last in line for any cash but it is amazing what they do with so little.

In Hilton it has been a delight to see how that community has weathered the storm. None of this seems to have affected the Saturday morning crowd of about 150 kids. We've been able to improve the compound, grassing it and building some play equipment. I was so surprised and pleased to see how this large group of scruffy kids play together so happily in various groups inside and outside the building. Our group of about 20 grannies have really come together. They used to be so tribalistic that they didn't even sit together. This year has seen them continuing with their knitting and pig rearing projects. In the coming months we hope to rearing our second litter of piglets, and hopefully financing the group to start a small shop, and then there's talk of chicken rearing............!

The children have excelled themselves this year. They've all completed another year at school apart from Eunice who is having a baby! Two more have finished at the local Primary School and we plan to send them to Secondary Boarding School for their 4 years of secondary education. The Primary School Certificate exams are very competitive but Joseph and Mary have worked hard and wwe confident that they will merit their places. Our staff continue to provide a hot lunch for the children and keep an eye on their general welfare, the programmes has now been running more than 6 years so it's a well oiled operation and runs without too many hitches. We have three children in Secondary School; Catherine is finishing her 3rd year and continues to apply herself with good results, Anthony and Richard have both finished their first year and they are catching up with their more privileged class mates. Faith has now finished her pharmacy course at college and after one final placement, she will be looking for a job at Easter time. She has really applied herself and will graduate at the top of her class. It's so encouraging to see our young people appreciating and making the most of these opportunities that have been provided.

Of course trying to administer a project from a distance always brings a few problems, but probably no more than would have surfaced if we were living just down the road. It was great to see the team working so hard and after some earlier problems of unity it now seems that we will be able to rely upon a united and trustworthy team under the leadership of Josephine our very capable administrator. For many of us the current financial situation is making life more difficult and we continue to trust God that He will meet the needs of the Ministry. At this time of year we are particularly concerned with finding sponsors for our new secondary school students and I want to bring them to your attention. Thanks to the generosity of other sponsors, we have been able to meet the costs of existing students and so we are very much hoping that the same will forthcoming for Joseph and Mary.

Linda and I are settling in to Portugal, you might be surprised to know that it's almost as cold here as England, without the benefits of central heating! We're looking forward to spending Christmas together with our daughter Philippa and some new found friends.

We wish you a very Happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2009.

With our love
Peter and Linda




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