Monday, 4 January 2010

The rains come to Kenya

Kenya has been suffering a time of drought. For six seasons, the rains have failed, and life has grown progressively harder for the people. But now, when the rains finally come, they do not bring with them joy and good times.

Thanks to el Nino, an atmospheric phenomenon in the Pacific ocean that affects weather across the whole world, the rains in Kenya have been heavy and brutal.

To an extent, the people prepared for the onslaught. In the northern district of Soy, where World in Need has opened a primary school, the Nancy George Academy, the people planted beans instead of the more customary maize, since bean crops are more able to withstand heavy weather without being destroyed. But there is only so much preparation one can do.

Many of the buildings in this part of Africa, including half the classrooms at the Nancy George Academy are made of mud. The mud is trodden smooth in big pits until it is like clay, then packed solidly over wire frames, where it hardens. A mud hut can last twenty years. But it can't fight el Nino.

World In Need's East Africa director, Robert Mulumbi, wrote to tell us that the heavy rains had hit the school and washed away the walls of the mud built buildings, leaving just the brick built ones standing. The mud buildings included not just the classrooms, but the school's nursery and kitchen, and the staff room. All will have to be rebuilt, and until they are, the children will have to squeeze into the remaining classrooms.

It will be uncomfortable for the children until the new school buildings are erected. It will be worse for those whose homes are also made of mud. They, who had so little, will have lost everything; home, possessions, shelter, swept away on the wind and rain.

Please pray for them.

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