Dear Friends of Nyumbani,

Greetings to each one as we prepare for the remembrance of the Passion and Death of Jesus, followed by the joyfilled celebration of His Resurrection. May this special time of reflection and prayer be a strengthening of faith for Christians and may the holiday time be a time of relaxation with family and friends for all.

As always, significant events have happened in the past six weeks since I last wrote. We were privileged to host on 15th March at Nyumbani Home, Ms. Homa Hassan, Country Coordinator for East Africa in the Office of Foreign Assistance Resources USAID, Washington, together with USAID officials. From the start of the visit when I gave an overview of Nyumbani, through visits to the Laboratory, Respite Care Centre and Pre-School, Ms. Hassan showed tremendous interest in all our services to the extent of taking notes! We truly value being identified for such important visits.

Following on the theme of our 2018 Summit, ‘Strategising for the Future,’ we continued developing our Strategic Plan 2018-2022 through a meeting on 22nd March with 50 representatives of staff from the 4 programs. We managers, having had 3 day meetings with our facilitators, Dr. George Kimeu and Dr. Evans Mandere, took turns in presenting the different sections of the draft plan which was each followed by group discussions. What great involvement and energy we experienced through the feedback we received from the 6 groups. We will now prepare for presentation to our Boards.

Our staff and children in the Respite Care Centre are still rejoicing in their beautifully painted Centre. Equally, our staff, Lea Toto Kangemi are still in awe at the transformation of their Lea Toto Centre through painting and improvement of their facilities. Once again, a group of Rotarians made all this possible during their 2 week Service Above Self in early February. Both groups experienced a lovely ‘Thank You’ as they were leaving.

Another artistic event took place on 17th March when Sr. Julia and her two artists, Sam and John together with 40 children and myself went to Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital for the official handing over ceremony of two mosaics which our children had been developing since July 2017. Many schools had also participated in this Mosaics Art project. We were delighted when we saw that our two mosaics adorned the walls in the outpatient clinic where they will be seen by many people. Happily for me, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day at the Irish Embassy took place on 16th March, so I was free on 17th! It was a lovely, truly Irish celebration.

From 5th – 22nd February, we had the volunteer services of an Agricultural Economics Consultant, Daniel Dunn who spent three weeks preparing a 5 year Business Plan for our farm in Nyumbani Village. We have now started implementing this plan which is designed to move the farm over 3 years into greenhouse agricultural cultivation, a great financial challenge, but with promise of finally ‘turning around’ the farm. We are very grateful to Catholic Relief Services who made this possible through their Farmer to Farmer project. Would you like to donate for the purchase of the greenhouses?

Recently, Tabaka Mission Hospital, Kisii requested to do benchmarking in our laboratory as a preparation for applying for ISO 15189 accreditation. We were grateful for this additional recognition of the quality of our laboratory. Recently a lovely new laboratory gate was constructed, thanks to fundraising by Kees and Maria Santegoeds’ family in the Netherlands. We were delighted that a visit from Kees and Maria happened shortly after the gate was in place.

We were also delighted to welcome back Isaac Hanna, who with his friend Georgia visited Nyumbani Home on 4th March. They joined us for the Sunday Eucharist after which Georgia entertained us with playing on his guitar to the great delight of our children. Isaac is planning a fundraising for St. Aloysius Gongaza School and Nyumbani on 13th September in Detroit at which I hope to be present.

We are still in the happy aftermath of our 25th Anniversary Celebration. Saturday 24th February was a most exciting day in Nyumbani Home. Bonoko of Ghetto Radio Station together with members of his foundation, Safara visited. They had invited their listeners to mark this day by bringing a gift to Nyumbani Home. From early morning people bringing gifts began to arrive, with the day crowned when the leader himself arrived with a load of donations. Donations for our 25th Anniversary are also still arriving from our suppliers.

Nyumbani Home is always delighted to welcome Rift Valley Academy for an annual choir performance, this year 3rd March. On the same day, Nyumbani Village welcomed staff from Ken Tours who travelled from Nairobi laden with gifts. Nyumbani Village was grateful for the service of medical doctor, Pablo Galeano who developed a new spreadsheet to monitor clinic visits. And we were delighted to welcome Karine Garnier back home to Nyumbani, who, for many years joined us with husband Thomas and family for the Eucharist on Sundays.

Sadly, on 14th February, another of our graduates, Mary Kathambi passed away R.I.P. Despite all the efforts of our Matron, Sr. Tresa and Nurse Wesonga, we were unable to keep her alive. May she now rest in peace with God in the life of the Resurrection. We laid her to rest on 23rd February in Maua, Meru. She leaves behind a 2 year old son, Sydney who is now with us in Nyumbani Home. Life, as we know, brings both joys and loss which often brings us face to face with the mystery of life.

As we accompany Jesus in His Passion this Holy Week, we keep in mind all who are suffering in our world especially as a result of human injustice, which we can and we ought, through worldwide concerted conviction and goodwill, to remedy, as well those who face suffering and loss either though unexpected injury, illness or the death of a loved one, and we ask God through the power of the Resurrection to bring hope and healing to each one.

United in spirit and prayer, God bless each one,

Sister Mary Owens IBVM

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