Category: Community Light Programme

Mtwapa Visits

This morning Ed and i visited a school in Mtwapa where 3 children sponsored through CLP attend. We talked to the headteacher about their progress, and met the 3 girls concerned. The girls, in KG1, Std 2 and Std 3, seemed happy at school.



After the school we went to a nearby hairdressers (a school of hairdressing) where another girls was supposed to be training, supported through CLP. It transpired she not been attending. Greater enquiry revealed that her father had taken much of the money intended for her to buy materials. CLP generally pay fees direct to the school to avoid such issues, but it’s not always practicable.

Meanwhile, Meld did another day at Fumathoka following her 2 days at Barnabas school. I’m sure she’ll write something about it soon!



Majaoni Visits

This morning I went out with Ed on some home visits. Why do little girls like my hat?


Faith and Teddy


Faith and George


A long walk took us to Utange. This lady, rejected by her family after her husband and children died, is making baskets out of old plastic bags. They’re surprisingly strong and stretchy.


Outside her house.


We then went to Barnabas Mission Center, a school and orphanage, which is nearby.


They raise broilers


Kindergarten 1


The girls’ house.




A guest on the roof.


We then met Joe with Jacob, Meld and Maggy and drive to Mtwapa where we met Daniel and went to lunch at Cobba Cobana. There were cats around


Relaxing before the meal


Meld cools her feet


A fisherman cleaning fish


Meld at the bar


After a shopping stop, we returned home to find several youngsters who are starting KCPE exams tomorrow here to pray with Joe. And to share Chai.


A couple of panoramas at the beach (click to view full size}


This was the point at which I got an e-mail from my dear friend Ann at CiC,who seems to wish she was with us!


A Visit to Bangladesh

No, we’ve not swum across the Indian Ocean and trekked across the subcontinent: Bangladesh is a slum on the western outskirts of Mombasa, and I accompanied Edu on a visit to meet the Community Health Worker (CHW) and to make some home visits with her.

We first headed to Tudor, an area of Mombasa, where at Tulia Africa we picked up an intern, Christine, who would accompany us.


2 more matatu rides and we were there. We met the CHW, Rose, who took us through the slum to our first visit. This widowed lady lives with 3 kids in this rough house the size of our garden shed. Their beds are rough sacks which are laid on the floor at night. She makes a little money by bringing vegetables from the market at Kongowea (north of Mombasa) and selling them here, but they only get 2 meal a day at most.


The location, on the side of a hill overlooking the creek, is attractive.


Rose, the CHW, at another home.


Living room, bedroom, everything.


Walking through the village


Another visit: granny and grandson. Slightly bigger, but more children live here.


Anywhere else this building would have been fenced off, but the goats were still in the undercroft and I guess the people weren’t far away.


Another visit, a sick lady.


Young neighbours



The catholic church / school / dispensary: most poeple get their drugs and healthcare here.


The middle of the village, a vast open space where the school kids were playing football.


Next visit: Granny (left) and widowed mum with 2 kids of her own, plus 6 orphaned kids of her sister.


Granny making Chang’aa, an illicit brew


Mum and toddler


Mattresses (just about) airing on the roof.


Mentally disabled and HIV+, Pauline loved my hat (and tried to eat it)


Ed was upset by the running drains through the village. There’s minimal sanitation, people either use a toilet at the school or the “flying toilets” down by the creek.


To get to our next visit we had to walk along the railway. The absence of clips on some sleepers was a little disconcerting (others were noticeably loose).


Rubbish dump across the tracks.


Christine, Edu and a baby (the lady we were due to visit had gone to hospital)


Not just a view of the railway for Julian: more improtanly, a young boy picking through the previously pictured rubbish.


We met the Assistant Chief. She was a feisty woman, and well intentioned, but we were somewhat alarmed by her attitude that the slum dwellers were all squatters and they should return to their homes – sounded too much like UKIP for my taste!


We addressed a women’s group meeting before we headed home.


Community Light Programme Update

Community Light Programme (CLP), founded by Edu Pondah and TJ from the USA, aims to improve the lot of HIV+ people and their dependants around Shanzu. They take a multi-front approach, through support, education and empowerment.

When I visited in April 2013, CLP was based in the old Bush Bar club in Shanzu, a ramshackle collection of buildings with space to house the office, posho mill (to grind maize), handicraft workshops, rabbit rearing, small-scale vegetable growing, etc. They had a borehole and electricity, which enabled them to pump water to irrigate the 3 acres of land across the road which has been loaned by Shimo La Tewa prison.

Sadly, the owner of the Bush Bar has reneged on the agreement (rumour is that he was squeezed for cash, and his bankers want him to realise the value of the property). CLP are squeezed into a single store room, and the power is off. Although the project continues, its activities are dispersed, and some suspended.

But it’s not all doom and gloom: Bamburi Cement have agreed to drill a borehole across the road (on the prison land that CLP use), which will allow them to pump water for irrigation again, and resume cultivation of the land. Some buildings will be erected to house CLP on that land too.

Meanwhile, CLP’s support for the community continues, with kids in school and so on.

But Edu told us of some challenges they face:

  • It’s important for the clients to take their medication regularly, and to attend hospital appointments, but timekeeping is a problem. A company donated some watches with alarms that could be used as reminders, but it’s too tempting for the clients to sell the watches for some ready cash!
  • Sponsoring children through school is important, but there’s a risk that the parents simply assume the kids will be taken care of, abdicating responsibility for their wellbeing.

Life’s never simple! But Edu and his team keep smiling and doing their best to help those in need around them.

Community Light Programme Visit


It rained heavily overnight, changing our plans. We walked into Shanzu, meeting Robert on the way.


We had to take care round the puddles.


In Shanzu, Joyce was doing the washing – a toddler in these conditions gets through a lot of clothes!






Edu,Nick and Gloria took us round CLP.


We paused at a shop selling an array from cereals and pulses.


And animal feed


At the nearby school we were welcomed by John, a teacher and part of CLP


In one of the classrooms


And another


Little ones taking a siesta


The school compound


Playing skipping games


Just watch this… please

Follow this link anfd watch the video:

Today we eventually met with Edu who runs the Community Light Programme in Shanzu. He told us a bit about the programme, about the work that they do, the challenges they face, and he showed us this video.

I could say more, but Mitchell Besser says it better. Please watch the video – this is what CLP is trying to do locally.

I’m sure you’ll hear more of CLP in coming days.