For some time now, myself and Mrs Paintpots have been trustees of New Life Homes Trust UK. It is a charity whose values and purpose are very much in line with ours. This organisation exists primarily to raise funds in support of the activities of New Life Homes Trust (NLHT) Kenya –
This charity does remarkable work in rescuing abandoned babies, in nurturing and finding new families for them. NLHT accounts for 40% of all adoptions in Kenya. A substantial number of these adoptions are in-country. Sadly, some of these children are not chosen by families, typically because they are HIV positive or because they have complex special needs requiring lifelong specialist care. NLHT is currently building new homes for those children and now young adults who are going to require ongoing supported housing. NLHT is the only home offering support to special needs children, in the whole of Kenya.
NLHT works closely with the Kenyan authorities to shape and regulate the processes to ensure children are protected and properly cared for. The practices in their homes are exemplary. Every penny donated, and there are some significant donations, as well as cost challenges, is used to rescue and benefit these children.
Last week, I had the privilege of returning to Nairobi to visit the home there. I took a donated specialist wheelchair with me. On my return I received a photo of the little boy sat in it with a beaming smile. It was wonderful.
I visited 3 homes, in Nairobi, Nakuru – in the beautiful Rift Valley and in Nyeri.
In Nakuru, I stayed with a lovely English couple who I had never met before! Their daughter works in Early Years and follows me on Twitter. When she found out I was visiting, she extended an invitation to me to visit her parents who graciously fed and put me up for the night.
I re-crossed the equator several times. My taxi negotiated roads that at times were more pot-hole than tarmac. Donkey and bullock carts jockeyed with oil tankers and baboons. One diversion took us through a field! And we drove back to Nairobi along the “super highway” recently constructed by the Chinese. This 6 lane motorway is very busy but traffic flow is interrupted periodically by speed bumps and pedestrian crossings!! Imagine that on the M25! Not surprisingly there is a sobering death toll.
In Nairobi I got to feed the babies! And play with and feed the toddlers. Boy, do those children get fed. There was a serious amount of rice on offer, not long after the bottles of milk. I participated in several days of meetings receiving updates from around the homes and international partners. The statistics on children rescued and adopted are very heartening. The respect in which the organisation is held in Kenya and the calibre of the advisory board are both impressive. I joined the working party to come up with a child protection policy.
I was just leaving to come home and someone gave me a bag of glass beads to pass on to her mother – she makes jewellery out of them which are sold to raise funds. This was a very heavy addition to my hand luggage. We were pulled over at the airport by the police. There was a discussion about the status of the taxi and my being in it! The standoff lasted about 5 minutes. It seemed as though we were on our way to the police station at one stage. Mercifully we were let go. I then encountered 4 different scanners. At each one, the beads were detected, extracted and investigated. 2 of the scanners were within 10 paces of each other. I managed to get through to the (wrong) departure lounge and eventually someone noticed in time before our plane left.
Yet another eventful and inspiring visit.