This is essentially what Catherine wrote to me. I will add a few explanatory words in parentheses, but these are her words.
Thanks very much Margo for sharing this story. It is still taking a big toll on my thoughts and am not able to focus much on other stuff until we have resolved this Julia and Betsy issue.
On our visit at Julia’s grandmom Sunday, a few key things kept going through my mind:
- The daughter, Julia’s mom, is actually bed ridden. Julia’s grandma (Betsy’s great-grandmother. It is the g-grand who had the stroke) takes care and nurses her.
- Two of Julia’s cousins, handsome boys orphaned by the death of their mom, who was a beneficiary of Life Bloom till 2006, are also under the care of the same grandma.
from left: Laura, Michael, grandson, Kimami, Catherine, Rosemary, (Catherine’s good friend,) who taught bio one day, Betsy on her great-grandmother’s lap.
- Julia’s grandma has no access to piped water, yet the piece of land where her semi-permanent structure stands is in her name. On average, she buys water from the donkey water vendors at Ksh200 each day for domestic use. Thinking very fast on Sunday, I decided to request the Naivasha Water Company where I sit as the Director’s Chairperson, to waive some costs for water installation for Julia’s grandma. (Remember she can’t carry a can of water because her one leg and arm are semi-paralyzed.)
Yesterday she came to the office as earlier agreed, bringing Betsy with her.
In LB offices, Kimami, Catherine, LB staffer, Wanjiru, 2 more LB staffers, g. grandmother with Betsy.
- Since she couldn’t carry BABY Betsy on her back or arms, the young boy in the pic, her orphaned grandson, (Kimani) carried the baby on his back. I took Julia’s grandma to the water company offices to fill in the forms for water connection. The staff I met was just “stunned”. (Catherine has also been chairperson of the water company, which, under her leadership, has connected many Naivasha people to water. In fact, I’ve wondered if that is why I’ve seen fewer donkey carts this year.)
- I have requested Francis (Catherine’s friend) to help me raise the about 7000sh ($70) needed to connect grandma’s homestead with piped water. This should be done in the coming two weeks. Her access to piped water will help her save some money every month, and Wanjiru will be training her on vegetable sack farming to be able to grow her own fresh vegetables and save on the same costs. (This is the kind of outcome when Catherine and Life Bloom become involved. At the same time, I’ve asked about the 2 grandsons, Kimami and Gatonye, and their schooling. Kimami is in class 8 and Gatonye is in form 1 at Milimani, a day school right next to the parish compound. I’ve suggested that if they are good students they might be candidates for sponsorship by Kenya Help through ETW. She has promised to investigate their grades and help with the applications for Jan 2018 if they qualify. Currently the g.grandmother does casual jobs to earn school fees for their “free” public education. If they can be sponsored, they can go to Ndingi and have a much better chance to succeed. LB would possibly supply volunteers to help g. grandmother care for grandmother.)
IF THIS PART OF OUR EXPERIENCE IS HELPFUL, KINDLY INCLUDE IT IN YOUR BLOG IN YOUR OWN WORDS.
THANKS AGAIN AND WITH MUCH LOVE
(two more pix of Baby Betsy’s home life)