The Yellowmen in Kenya - February 2016

The Yellowmen "“ An illustrated update

Rotarian Eddie McCall introduced an update on the work done in Kenya this February and what is intended in the future. With a PowerPoint presentation as a background some of the team spoke about the work they had done and the emotions they had felt. Pat Connor spoke about the start of the new clinic, the difficulties of digging the foundations and how they used a machine to compress lego type building blocks which needed no mortar and enabled a swift build. Mike Stewart is now in his sixth year as a Yellowman and leads the education team. They undertook a number of seminars and assisted in class in several schools. Many of the schools have little equipment and one school has no class room; Grace, the teacher, takes all of her classes outdoors and Mike said it was a priority to fund and build proper premises for the school. Awards were made under the Janet Wilson Educational Scholarship Foundation to pupils and teachers who showed exceptional devotion to education.

Iain Robinson, leader of the Sigor Hospital team, explained how solar power was helping communication in the area and now, even with long outages, the hospital can keep in touch with Nairobi. He told of the folding ladder taken with them that baffled the customs and the local welder who happily took a heavy machine onto the fragile roof.

Eddie then spoke about the medical aspects with Nadia, a new Yellowman, and Hannah, a second time Yellowman, both nurses at the Conquest Hospital, speaking about their roles and emotions of dealing with the local people. Nadia and Hannah spent time helping in clinics and sorting out and explaining the uses of the drugs that had gone with the Yellowmen. They visited Sostin clinic in the mountains where they worked with local nurse, Stephen, a person totally dedicated to his work.

A big problem in the area is the welfare of young girls who start school and then disappear back to their villages, suffer FGM and are put to an early marriage. A refuge has been built at Mtelo which can sleep a number of girls so they can continue with their education at the nearby school. It is now planned to build a small village for the girls and work has already started on the first banda, a traditional type house. But it has also been found that boys are sleeping on mud floors so it is the intention to create a boys’ village too. Eddie stressed that the girls needed role models and people like Hannah and Nadia, young female nurses, provided excellent examples for the girls.

Since the Yellowmen’s first visit they have supported the local HIV patients and given help to buy maize to grow and sell for a profit. On each visit to Kenya the Yellowmen meet up with the group where, sadly, there is only one survivor from the original twenty nine and, just as sadly, more have joined the group.

Overall the trip was again a remarkable success with much achieved and more needs identified for the future.

Rotarian Mike Styles proposed a vote of thanks saying that he had visited the north of Kenya and knew from experience the problems that exist in the area in terms of construction and poverty. He said how important the work was and applauded the Yellowmen for their great work singly out Eddie as the devoted mastermind behind the project.

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The Yellowmen