**Trigger Warning – Extreme Violence Towards Children**
Stories from Kenya
I received this update this morning from Kenya and it made me smile for so many reasons. I hope it gives you the same reaction this morning! Welcome to the family, Nice! 😬
Our cow gave birth to a female calf at the farm yesterday at around 0945Hrs. The children were very excited to see the cow which was very heavily loaded offloading her burden.😳
The children unanimously agreed on the preferable name to be given to the new calf. The sweet name was arrived at because of the following reasons:
-The calf is very beautiful, attractive and well decorated 🎀
-The calf was born at a time when people are stressed and have less hopes and worry about the spread of Covid-19, the coming of the calf gave them hopes of success and prosperity again 🕊️
-They are very happy since they will be getting additional litres of milk for their morning tea, a drink that our children love so much 🥛
-The birth of the calf has brought joy to them since it is an addition of a member of our family at RAFIKI MWEMA the number of the entire community has increased 🌐
-The birth of the calf came at the time when the rains are pouring down every day, the grass grows and the cows get their food easily and in plenty, so the mother of the calf will ever be satisfied and strong enough to feed the calf well 💪
Because of all this reasons that made her name to arrive at. The children therefore name her ‘’NICE’’ 😍👌🐮
With 20 of our staff members in lockdown on the farm with our children we asked for a bit of an update for everyone on what it is like on the farm with our family at the moment. We hope you enjoy this update and images from one of our staff members…
Covid -19 cases in Kenya are increasing rapidly. Currently there are 110 cases, 2 recovered and 3 dead and many more people, both Kenyan and foreigners, are under isolation and self-quarantine in several quarantine facilities in the country yet to be tested so the number might increase further.
Since the first cases of Covid -19 were diagnosed in Kenya, all public gatherings, schools both public and private, Church crusades, bars and nightclubs, open markets, large crowds and selling in the major towns have been closed.
Because of this, the Rafiki Mwema Management Team have decided on a total lockdown so our children and staff can stay safe during this period. There are now staff who are living permanently inside the farm and not returning home each day, this includes day staff and the night staff. The supervision of our children becomes very easy and we are bonding well because the children are with staff at all times, being watched over and cared for. They feel so much love and care from the staff as the staff have left their families to come and stay with them at this time of need which is a serious commitment.
We are now ensuring that our children stay home on the farm at all times. They are now not allowed to go outside the gates, not able to go swimming which they normally like, or play soccer which our boys used to love. No walks during weekends which our children cherish so much since it used to enable them enjoy outside air and nature as well, no going to feed our street families which they do every Sunday, no going to church which our small girls enjoy, no going shopping for our snacks and other food the way they use to.
Everyone in the farm is extra vigilant on the maintenance and adherence to the guidelines on how to combat this virus, we have plenty of sanitizers and our water flow is regular so we wash our hands with soap and water every 10 minutes. We keep to the social distancing rules whenever we talk and cough below our armpits, we also regularly test our body temperature to pick up on any illnesses which may have been picked up.
Our children and staff believe that they are safe and that they have strong immunity and they are much safer so long as they embrace and accept hygiene as their daily routine.
Our children have medicines within the farm in case anyone feels unwell,. Our children pray every morning before breakfast and every evening before dinner and pour out their hearts to the Lord to keep on blessing the sponsors, Directors, Managers and the entire staff of Rafiki Mwema, and for them to be kept safe from this virus. They also pray for their families and the street children in town with no food and shelter.
Our children also have a well-planned revision and reading time schedule which they follow so they can always be at the same level or better than other children in terms of academics, Our candidates both class 8 and form 4 are conscientious with their studies and revision so that they can perform well in their national exams when school resumes, so that they can join secondary school and university.
Our children from small girls through to big girls and our boys are keen to hear the daily news bulletin to be alert and to have the breaking news from our media outlets concerning Covid-19. They want to understand how it’s being fought in other countries and extra measures that have been put in place to fight it.
Our boys and big girls believe they are champions and that they can read and revise from home and still will pass their exams when school resumes. They did well in their co-curricular activities just some two days before the schools were closed. They participated in the inter-school athletic competition where they represented their various schools in different athletic activities such as relays, 100m sprint, javelin, discuss and long jump.
To avoid boredom here at the farm, our boys have organised their time well for studies, playing of Play Station, volleyball, football and marathons around our pitch. The big girls are also giving time for volleyball, football, morning physical fitness and yoga. Our small girls are doing physical exercises every morning and after their snack time at 10 am they always have general play as well as in the evening after shower when they coloring in or do their beading work.
Our children who are in grade 3 through to standard 4-8 up to secondary school, are following the lessons provided through the media and extension services by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development keenly since this was the platform created by the Ministry of Education to help pupils and students go through their syllabus during this period of Covid-19.
Our security personnel are all living within the farm to tighten the security regime to ensure safety of both our children and staff living on the farm. Our general farm staff are not coming into contact any of the staff or children living on the farm. The general farm staff come in the morning from home and return in the evening so to ensure total safety of our children and staff.
Thank you for your continued support during this time of uncertainty. We are doing our best to keep our children and staff safe and our staff employed during this time. We will do our best to update you with how things are going at Doyle Farm and we are so grateful to those people who continue to support us even though times are so uncertain for them also. We need you now more than ever. Thank you for your trust 🙏🏻
If you would like to sign up to sponsor a child with us or make a one of donation you can do so on our website. All donations are fully tax deductible in Australia.
Measures the Kenyan government has put in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19
- Provision of sanitizers across the country to public places and to households
- Hiring 6,000 medical experts to help fight against this virus
- Stopped travell throughout the country and so that people remain in their county of resident
- Public service vehicle, boda-boda operators and drivers must wear masks which will be provided by the government
- All Kenyan’s are to follow and adhere to curfew rule of 7pm to 5 am
- All Kenyan’s to follow hygiene guidelines such as washing hands with soap, keeping social distancing and avoid open coughing
- Kenyan government to test the visitors in various points of entry into the country
- However the Kenyan Minister for Health Kagwe reported that the country will not go into total lock down arguing that this might lead to further spread of the virus since locking people down would mean that if one person is sick they may infect the other in their confines of their own home
As we are sure you are all by now aware, the situation regarding the COVID-19 is changing rapidly and we all need to do our best to help manage the situation. While the number of confirmed cases in Kenya is low (currently 7), Rafiki Mwema is treating the threat of this virus seriously. At this time, there is no known exposure to the virus within the Rafiki Mwema community, but we know that the situation can change as more cases are identified.
One of the best things we can do is to try to keep our children, staff and volunteers as healthy as possible. To help with this, everyone at Doyle Farm has been instructed to maintain good hygiene practices, particularly regarding regular hand washing and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or elbow rather than hands. We have installed more hand soap at all washing points throughout the farm for staff and students to use. The small girls will be assisted with this by staff. All staff have been asked to stay home if they feel sick to reduce the risk of infection for the children in our care. Any child who may become ill will receive appropriate medical attention.
Access to Doyle Farm has been restricted to only those who are necessary for the day to day running of Rafiki Mwema. Everyone entering the farm grounds must wash their hands at the gate where soap and water have been provided.
All of the children who have been going to school outside of the farm are now back at Doyle farm full time as the local schools have closed. This places extra strain and responsibility on our staff who are coping with this in their usual professional, diligent and caring manner. The children who would ordinarily be at local schools will be continuing their schooling by participating in the radio lessons provided by the Kenyan Government. The small girls will continue their normal class programs guided by their teachers.
The offsite feeding programme, which is held each Sunday will continue in a modified way as large gatherings of people have been banned. Rafiki Mwema staff have sourced a location where lunch can be served to small groups of children at a time. This will act as a small food stand and ensure that some of the most vulnerable boys that we support will still be able to take part in the programme and the meal they so urgently rely upon.
The outreach program will be modified to ensure our staff remain healthy and are not exposed unnecessarily to potential possible infection. Families will be visited only when deemed as a necessity and assessed on a risk basis.
Because this is an evolving situation, we will be closely monitoring the advice issued by the Kenyan Government and will follow their recommendation in full.
With all of this in mind, we will continue to provide our children with the loving care, education and medical treatment they need.
We thank you for your continued support of Rafiki Mwema. Your support is so valued, now more than ever and is the reason that Rafiki Mwema can continue to care for children who need us.
We will keep you updated with any new information as it arrives and Thank You again for the love and support you are giving us as we manage this unprecedented situation.
On Wednesday we had our Christmas party. What an amazing day it was!
We started off with games where we had egg and spoon races, sack races and tug-of-war! It was such amazing fun. We put our children into mixed teams of small girl small boys big girls big boys and staff and they all competed against each other. Everyone that took part in every single race was given a chocolate medal. I think that might of been the highlight of the races.
We then had the most amazing lunch cooked by a chef from a local restaurant, who supports us in all our functions. It was beautiful as usual, and the children were still full way into the evening so they couldn’t eat anything more!!
Mind you, that might have a little bit to do with the ice cream and candy floss! We went FOUR times over our budget for ice cream!! How can you say no to the most adorable children on the planet when they say just one more!
We spent the afternoon and evening dancing dancing and more dancing. It was so lovely, so family, and everything we needed was there within our family.
Thank you to everyone who made this day possible. In the lives of such traumatised and neglected children, these days live on forever in their memories. These days remind them just how much people outside of our farm love and think about them.
You change lives. Thank you
To sit in front of a room full of prosecutors from the Nakuru courts was one of the most exciting trainings I think we have ever done. We talked about attachment and trauma and linked it to how that might look in the courtroom, with victims who come before the magistrates.
Everyone in the room was fully engaged, they asked very relevant questions, and we were able to help them to understand some of the complex behaviours that are presented before them. One of the questions was about children who smile and seem to be very friendly with the person that violated them. We were able to help them understand, that what they were showing was total fear of the person that abuse them. They felt they needed to keep that person on side in case they weren’t sent to prison, and were able to carry out threats they may have made, about killing them and their families. This felt highly useful to the prosecutors, who often perplexed by smiling children, when there was alleged sexual abuse.
So much excitement from this training.
Lots more work to do, around supporting the team that we met the last two days, and the fact that every single day in their life they listen to and fight for victims of abuse and trauma. They don’t have the opportunity to process this information before they’re back in court again with another new case.
I would like to personally thank Peter and Eric for their amazing contributions to this training. Eric‘s knowledge of the courts and the way that are girls presenting court was absolutely essential. Peters insight into what a child with trauma feels when they’re standing in front of adults who are claiming to want to help you. He talked about how when he’s asked questions his brain literally goes into freeze. This means he cannot even hear what is being said to him. He explained that children in court will literally shut down, and will look like they are disrespectful and not listening. he helped the whole room to understand that these children are in protection mode, and are fighting to save themselves. Literally fighting for survival so they shut down their brain.
I truly believe that this training is invaluable and has had a lifelong Impact to the professionals that attended.
Thank you so much to everyone from Rafiki Mwema who helped to make this possible