Improve Home Conditions
Many of the homes we visit are in a state of bad repair if not actually ready to fall down. One of Abigail Ministries main tasks is to renovate homes or even to rebuild them.
In the Uplands Community we visited families living in makeshift shacks perched precariously on the railway embankment. Families living there were in particular danger during the rainy season when the banks become mud slides and the trains hurtled past just yards above their unstable homes. In late 2009 we purchased a piece of land nearby and by July 2010 work began to build secure, stone houses for 12 of these families. It was a day of great rejoicing when they moved in to Shena’s Village in September of that year. Each family now OWNS a three roomed house and a shamba where they can grow their own vegetables. It has become a thriving community where everybody is living in harmony with each other. Piped water has been directed to a tap in the middle of the village and there is also a well, so the villagers never have to go searching for water and each block of three houses has its own toilet and shower block.
Each family owns the land immediately in front of their house which has become very productive due to the good water supply and the seeds and manure we bought them to start them off well. We have heard that the Villagers all presented their ‘FIRST FRUITS’ to New Hope as a way of thanking Anne and Tirus for the important part they played in making this all possible.
Most of the houses in the Seiyo Community are built of mud. These are very well constructed originally and offer a cool shelter in the heat and a warm one in cold weather. The grass roofs, however, soon attract ‘visitors’ and the mud walls soon crack in the unrelenting heat if they are not regularly daubed with water and dung. It was an exciting project for a group from Abigail Ministries to help build a new mud hut on one of their visits.
When they moved from their old homes, the families had practically no furniture, just a few broken chairs and small tables. Being given a new home didn’t mean they would have money to buy new things to adorn their new homes. Moving day was simple. All their belongings could either be carried or transported by donkey. Clothes for a whole family were carried in one sack on the mother’s back.
Improving Living Conditions
Having to depend on finding casual work, it would have taken a very long time, left to their own devices, before they could have thought about improving conditions within their homes. We wanted to complete their joy of having lovely new houses and so Abigail Ministries have provided comfortable improvements for them in three ways. We sent out an appeal to people in the UK to give Christmas gifts of furniture and other essentials to Shena’s Villagers on behalf of friends and families in the UK who already have all they could wish for. We had an amazing response to this appeal and as a result, although Christmas came six weeks late we were able to give these gifts of beds, bedding, cookers, suferias (cooking pots), couches and cushions to the Villagers when we visited them in February. It really was like Christmas with a great deal of excitement amongst the villagers as they received their presents and children sampled real beds for the first time in their lives. One little one slept so well that night that her mother had to shake her awake in the morning just to make sure she was alright!!
An Abigail Ministries team visited Shena’s Village in February 2011 to help build a kitchen for every house in the village. These are substantial corrugated iron structures which are vast improvements on the makeshift sacking that served as kitchens before these were built. The villagers were delighted with their new kitchens and soon set to work digging the earth to make hardcore floors.
The colour scheme may not have been to our taste but it certainly pleased the village ladies who were delighted with their bright pink painted walls which cheered up the insides of their houses considerably. The project served as a good training session for many of them who wanted to help because they had never done anything like this before. Most of them had never had walls which were possible to paint before.