It’s only been a month since we landed back in Loki following a wonderful Christmas and New Years break with all of our children and grandchildren in Sweden. But what a month – filled with activities and events – making it hard to know where to start and how much to share, without wearing you out!
It’s been exactly six years since Birgitta for the first time met the ”School under the Tree”, with some 100 poorly dressed (mostly naked), dirty and hungry children of Lokichoggio, seated on the ground in the scorching, dusty wind. Nearby, in the open semi-desert plain she went to grabb the hands of some few adults and children and together they lifted the dream of a proper school to the Lord in heaven!
Today, there are more than 450 children, in school uniforms, in what some say is the finest and the best equipped school in the region, being taught by trained teachers, having access to plenty of clean water and enjoying nutritious food for lunch boosted with savoring vegetables from the school green house.
Who could ever imagine that we would be part of this! But there have been so many involved over these years with prayers, financial support and volunteering to come out and help and this proves that dreams lifted to the Lord of heaven can come true! Continue to lift your dreams to the Lord! And you can also help realize the dreams of young children wanting to go to school by becoming one of our School Sponsors. Get in touch and we will tell you how!
Finally They Have Arrived
Jonas and Emma with Hugo, Bennine and Li have come to get exposed to the missionary life for about three months. We know that they have carried this dream for several years and have for a long time been planing and have saved up some money in order to make it possible. And how timely that our friends, the Hurds, are away in the US for their home assignment during this period, so it was only for Jonas and family to move into their house some 100 meters away from us.
The LokiKeA School Desk
Jonas is in full swing with me in the workshop where we have started the production of a new model of school desks, the LokiKeA School Desk!
Our son who is a graduate mechanical engineer knows the importance of precision as he takes on the building of the drilling jig in which the square tubes chassis parts will be drilled once they’ve been through the bending process in my bening tool which I made out of scrap metal parts found here in Loki. (Merriam-Webster definition: jig, a device used to maintain mechanically the correct positional relationship between a piece of work and the tool or between parts of work during assembly).
We’re planning for 60 desks initially (children are seated four at each) and hopefully this new set of desks will reduce the number of times the locally manufactured and poorly welded desks will have to be repaired!
In Emma’s suitcases there were about 200 copies of a new little children’s book which she has designed and produced together with Birgitta – Abuk ang’ide na ng’iturobei ka ng’irora – My first book with words and pictures. Books and reading is foreign to most people in the village but hopefully these highly subsidised books will open some new horizons in the huts around Loki. It’s being sold for only 15 cent!
Emma is also spending time the school with the teachers and students sharing ideas of crafts and arts for different ages. And Hugo and Bennine has a chance to try out being in a Kenyan school as they attend some classes with grade 4.
Only 11 % of the people in this region are litterate – we’re told by Daniel Orongo, the government officer for adult literacy as he launches our two weeks course for adult trainers, a project sponsored by one of our supporting churches in Sweden.
The 10 trainers has to get to grips with a different methodology than teaching children. Daniel’s vivid and well illustrated teaching is highly appreciated.
– A nice certificate won’t make the slightest difference if you’re not ready to put into practice what you have learned during these weeks as you get out to reach those who are yearning to learn how to read and write – was Daniel’s flinal plead with the students.
A PhD in Biology with a Passion for Sewing
Linda Vestermark from Umå, Sweden, and PhD in biology, arrived together with Jonas and family. She got in touch with us through another friend’s blog and she started dreaming of coming out to share some of her knowledge in her favorite hobby, couture / sewing.
With contributions from friends and personal efforts she’s been able to sponsor the investment in 4 sewing machines plus material and she’s now giving four weeks of training to 2 men and 4 women plus another 15 women who are improving their skills to sew by hand.
Are you happy with the rats..? was Birgitta’s question in one of the village meetings lately.
– Of course not! was the unanimous answer. They eat our food, our stuff and they even gnaw on our feet!
– Well then! You’ve got to do something about all the trash and dirt laying around. Look at all the plastic and litter! What about taking a clean up day, maybe?
Said and done. At 06.30 the other Saturday, when it wass still duskish, we, the village clean-up enthusiasts of LEDO Usafi (usafi – cleanliness) together with a number of ”early birds” of children and adults, went out to collect plastic bags, bottles, tins, papers and all sorts of other trash. Very soon there were fires scattered around buring the collected rubbish and some 3-4 hours later there was something of a face-lift of the village!
What is Happening in Loki Now?
Many have asked: Do you notice anything of the conflict in South Sudan? Yes, sadly so! The UNHCR buses and trucks are passing almost daily with loads of refugees on their way to the large camp in Kakuma, some 90 kms east of here! A new and gruesome tragedy in a country which was just emerging from years of conflicts and where hopes of a new future had finally been lit!
Many more relief flights depart from Loki these days and a number of NGO staff have relocated here. MAF in Juba is also very busy responding to flight requests from many organisatons, but some areas are still not accessible due to the conflict.
When we were based in Chad in the 80-ties I used to fly regularly to Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, CAR. It was considered a very friendly and safe country then and we had access to supplies and support which was lacking in the worn-torn Chad of those days.
Today the CAR has been torn apart from yet another horrific conflict and tragedy similar to that of South Sudan, with ethnical and religious undertones. On international news sites there are pictures and reports of massacres and masses of people fleeing from their homes! Please God, when will there be some order and peace in these countries…?
ANA in Nairobi
This week, Birgitta and some of the leading ANA women are in Nairobi in order for them to learn where to procure beads and supplies to their business here in Loki. For these ladies Nairobi will be a totally different world all together with its hectic pace, mega stores, vibrant markets and traffic jams almost everywhere. I’m sure Birgitta has more to share about these few days next time.
Let me finish with some few more pictures from our life here in Loki!
Every blessing 2014 as our friend Francis use to say!
A very happy gradpa!!!
Two beautiful little ladies in front of one of the many termite hills around here
Visiting the sow and the boar in Turkana’s only pig farm
May-be our Easter ham peaking out!
This young man, Haggai Etiriwae, is our new School Principal. Lucy, who has been with us from the start will continue as deputy and we believe they will make a great team of school managers!
Magdalene, another one of our new trained teachers.
Birthday party at the school with cinnamon rolls from the ANA-bakery. We celebrate everybody’s birthday on the same day since most kids don’t know when they’re born. The party was also in memory of our dear late friend Jacob who visited us in 2011.
Juice and cinnamon rolls – hm very delicious!
Check out the sharp eyes of this young girl! Awsoosit used to come to our church dressed in the traditional collars of beads and typical Turkana attire. When I asked her why she didn’t go to school she said: Mom doesn’t want me to! The other day I met with her mother and asked her the same question. – I can’t send her to school because I have no money!- But what if I pay the 200 Shilling (2,50 USD) would you send her then? – Yes, of course, she said with a big smile!
Tale time with Tummelisa of H.C. Andersen!
In the play grounds
Todo with yet another harvest from our Green House!
We all know the answer!
Martin, widower with his two children in front of his hut. He is also the bread-man at the ANA-bakery and comes around every day with fresh bread.
If you can call a boy Birgitta then you can call a girl iPhone, can’t you? – Which is the name of this young lady!
People and animals are thirsty these days when temperatures often soar in the vicinity of 40°C!