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Kisumu KenyaCan you help please? Are you upgrading your laptop for Christmas? I need a nearly new second-hand simple laptop … (which my son can renovate/update). It needs to have a decent battery … which can be charged up as and when electricity is available.  

Why? To be given to Lucy Ochieng’, an African midwife/nurse who lives and works in the Pandipieri shanty town on the outskirts of Kisumu, Kenya. She needs one to type and keep her records, which are at present kept in an exercise book she carries with her on her bicycle! 

How will it get there? Well, as many people in Penallt know, I’m going out to work in Pandipieri at the end of January, with the charity Hands Around the World. Lucy’s husband Paul is a carpenter and both of them want to do something to help the hundreds of homeless AIDS orphans who are living on the streets of Kisumu. These children live by begging, stealing, even prostitution, eating food from the rubbish dumps which are their only home and place to sleep. Paul teaches carpentry at the moment under the shade of a tree, to street-living teenagers so that they can make simple furniture to sell, and thus work their way out of poverty.  

Our group project is to complete a simple workshop started this summer by other volunteers, with very basic dormitory accommodation above it, so that groups of teenage boys can be taught and there will be somewhere for tools to be kept safe. I am also taking out my father's old-fashioned carpentry tools, as well as clothes and other things. The group (four of us) will be living in the shanty town among the people with whom we will be working. The charity "gives a hand, not a hand out" … all moneys donated will go with us to buy bricks, cement, etc; none gets ‘creamed off’ locally. We know where it goes !

I’m paying my own fare and expenses … so any more donations are very welcome, and go to the project, (not to pay for my month in the sun by Lake Victoria!). I forget to say I lived very near Kisumu for many years, and am brushing up my knowledge of the local language. I have a blog, where I’m recording preparations here, and I hope to be able to update it while I’m there … and there are many more photos on it.

Erokomano ahinya!

Lyn Harper email