Thursday, 7 May 2009


I continue to love my and the people at Shalom City. With my departure date starting to approach my mind starts to wander to how i will feel leaving this place. This place that depicts much of what is wrong with the world; a place resulting from jealousy, a thirst for power, corruption and fear. Yet it equally symbolises everything that is right and good- the endurance of the human spirit, community and hope.
I've grown attached to many of the young people- as i hear their stories my heart aches. Although i will not allow myself to cry in this place- as the last thing people here need is an over emotional mzungu. There is something groaning daily within me for a better world for these people. Hope is what they cling to- hope is what i cling to- hope of a better day and life. in the middle of this waiting camp- people continue to laugh and their smiles are contagious.
Although i can not speak for all the people in this camp and dont even fully understand the experiences of those that i am closest to; for these people i feel frustration. People who have been used to another way of life. people who had been enjoying a simple life. Know everything is on hold and is on hold indefinately. Young people who had dreams and plans and a future a head of them, now wait although they do not know what it is that they are waiting for.

There are many need here... to many to explain; fresh water, food, shelter. All of them are urgent. Within all of this the thing that i fear the most is peoples spirits being broken- that they stop hoping, hat the frustration overtakes them and they surrender. Young people who had such bright futures- who had finished high schol with excellent grades; hopes of becoming doctors and accountants, of starting a small busines to care for their family, of farming the land their fathers and grandfathers had farmed- have all been stopped in their tracks. Unable to afford to continue with education, business being destroyed and land being taken. Existance now takes place within a small tent.

These people are forgotten, kenyan governement denies the magnitude and realiy of their existance. The world is busy with the next new crisis and they cntinue to wait. Wait on the miracle. And while theye are waiting theye are busy- they cultivate the land around them, they try to grow crops, they work the land for others getting Tsh 100 a day- enough to buy a small bag of flour. The cosest town costs tsh70 a luxury few afford. They are isolated. Waiting- hoping that a truck will drive up the rod with food.

Some of the donations that people have given have been put towards renovating an outshed to a place that yuong people can use. Some may wonder why put money in that direction when there are other needs and this is something that i have contemplated. THe donations would have been enough to feed 400 people for one day a drop in the ocean, amognst 14000. Something neds to be done i this area, but we decided it was best to get a base were we could educate, motivate ad care for the young people. Very basic- but in the hope that future volunteers can educate them even on clubbing together to rent a piece of land, on the risks of HIV/AIDS, to provide an alternative and relieve boredom, and to provide aspace were text books could be bought and help with education. Ths project started really well, with much excitment amonst the young people. However, frustration entered again when the previous owner of the land arrived and took all of the tin sheets and timber frm the previous structure claiming that it was not bought with the land. These materials were essential so the project is on hold momentarily- but a good foundation has been built.

I need to go although i could write on with many stories. Thank you for your prayers. I believe that even in the most remote and darkest places we find God and His light shines brightest.

You are al in my thoughts,


Wednesday, 29 April 2009


hey guys
this is just a quick note to let you know that i am well.
things are busy and still overwhelming.
Starting to gather resources and people to convert an old shed that can be usede for the young people to meet in. Trying to get it waterproof.
The local politicians have said that they will bring a food package in the next couple of weeks- pray that this may be the case.
I have blisters on my hands from helping one of the lads with his small shamba Piece of land) that he is trying to get ready to plant some seeds.

Thanks to all who have been in touch,

Will write soon,


Monday, 20 April 2009

Shalom City IDP camp

Picture of tents within shalom city
(soz only phone pic as cant get from cam)
I have arrived in the city of peace on friday morning. Shalom City is an Internally Displaced Persons camp- that exists as a result of the post 2007/08 election trouble within kenya. It resulted in many (mainly)kikuyu tribes people being forceably being removed from their homes in the rift valley- during this time many were many tortured, raped and murdered. Many of the survivors arrived in Nakuru and an emergency camp was set up for them in a showground. They were then moved to an area just outside of Gilgil which they have named Shalom City. Each of the IDP families where given a token from the governement of 100 pounds sterling with which to start a new life. A group of people decided to pool their money and have bought an area of land now known as Shalom City.

It is hard to explein the journey to Shalom, you arrive in Gilgil and you begin to drive up a very rough bumpy road; as you take this journey you try to imagine what you are goinjg to be greeted with. How there can be so many people awaiting you at the end of this road that appears to lead to nowhere. Then suddenly you are there- a small house and then beyond it a sea of deteriorated tents. 14,000 people are recorded to be living in Shalom, the youngest i have seen is a three week old baby who has been named after one of the volunteers here. The next day i took a walk through the camp- you walk for about 20 minutes at a steady pace and it is just tent after tent- each one packed with people; holes covered with any materials that can be found. It is a breath taking sight and i have never experienced anything like it.

ONe of the most heart breaking things are the stories that you hear from people. How they arrived in this camp- the journey and difficulties they have had to overcome a nd the wickedness they have endured. Watching family members be murdered, rape and as a result getting HIV, watching all of your possesions being burnt to ashes and then fleeing for your life bringing only what you can carry. On talking to some of the young people, people who are smart and educated who are used to an extremely different lifestyle, yuo find that they no longer want to think of what was once home- the life they lived that is now a distant memory, family members that have been taken from them prematurely. how quickly it all happened. Yet you talk with them and from somewhere deep within there is hope that immerges- where it comes from i do not know; but is there and it is vibrant. people who are dtermined not to quit or buckle.

The conditions that these people are living in are dire. The rainy season has arrived late as a result people are drinking bathing and washing clothes from a stagnant pool of water that used to be a river. Now that the rainy season is arriving and there is incresaed risk of flooding, the tents cannot withstand the conditions and people who are cold, damp and malnurished are at incresaed risk of disease. Even within their limited resources the people are welcoming and make the best of what they have. These people are a strong and determined people.

There are no international aid organisation based at the camp; actually the only non-idp here are myself and two other volunteers; one who arrived with me and another who was here two weeks before. The goverment gave each of the idp families a 100 pound donation at nakuru to start a new life; this meant that these people were now integrated IDP's and the governments responsibility towards them appears to have weakened. Up until last month the Red Cross which is somehow contracted by the government was providing food distribution; it even distributed food from other organisations. however the Red Cross is no longer allowed to m,ake such deliveries. THere is enough foof in storage for another two weeks. Although the camp chairman who is a 28 year old idp says that they have a reserve of maney from the initial payout- this is set a side to buy more land which will ensure long term that each family has somewhere to live when they eventually move out of tents. If they use this money to buy food it will mean that the people will be left to live in this condition forever as the reserve of money only pays for a 10% deposit for the needed land. As you can imagine they are extremely reluctant to use this money to buy emergency food and medication (required for the high proportion of HIV sufferers). I know that you my wonderfu;l friends are much smarter and better connected than me, so i was wondering if you could link me to any emergencty aid organisation for short term and then maybe long term developmental agencies that can be involved in creating a town for 14000 people from nothing. Your help would be greatly appreciated. The pressing needs are food, water, medication and shelter.

On a personal note i am keeping well. i am feeling alive being here and even in the past few days have loved engaging and interacting with these people. A lot of my time will be spent working with young people and kids- helping to raise spirits and listen to their stories. Alongside that thrying to raise local and international awareness of the need here- if you no other people who would be interested in this please link them to this blog that i will try to keep updated weekly if at all possible. One of the IDP's has adpopted us aher own and feeds us and looks after us, i have perfected my aim on the long drop toilet and im getting used to being sat upin even squashed beside a chicken in the matatus (basically a camper vans) that are used for transport. That reminds me, we have chicken flying in the room of where we stay, which i think is dinner tomorrow. We are isolated but quite safe, the elders of the camp keep and eye out for us. We have electricity a few hours each night and our water comes from the river.

Thank you for all of your prayer support and encouragement.


Thursday, 9 April 2009

Africa Part One

Okay so i havent been great at keeping everyone up to date. For those who i have not been in contact with i'm having a greta time and doing really well. Have loved the past three weeks, they have given me time to relax and unwind and allowed me space to think a bit more creatively and get some clarity.
I have been living in a tent, althoui i have have upgraded to a bed twice, we travel in a truck called Helena. She is equiped with everything and i've grown to love her, even when we have to push start her. We have quite a mixture of nationalities uk, denmark, holland, newzeland soth africa, iceland, autralia and a mixture of age ranges. We are with each other constant. WE have our own cook from Zimbabwee called Dougie, he's amazing- greta food every night.

Had some amazing experiences already- bungee jumped at Vic Falls, Scuba dived 10metres at zanzibar, saw the big 5 on safari in the serengeti. So you could say it has been pretty good.

Africa is breath taking, its my first time on this vast continent and everything that people say about ot is true. It catches you off guard and suddenly capturesd your heart. I have only been here for three weeks and that has been constantly moving around and yet the warmth of the people and the beauty of the place amazes me.

So far i have travelled through Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania and all of this has been an adventure. Fior those of you have given me money to bless people that i encounter, i want to say thank you for giving the opportunity to pass on generosity and i have stories to pass on to you of people whose lives you have touched.

My overland adventure comes to an end on sunday. From there i do my induction training in Nairobi, Kenya before heading out to the Internally displaced peoples camp. I have got my location which in GilGil outside of Nairobi, during this month i will be living at the camp with the camp chair man. As much as i have lovedf the past few weeks I'm really looking forward to being in one placve and connecting with people for longer than a few days. I will mainly be working with kids in a make shift school and also just living in the camp. I have been told to be prepared for whatever needs to be done.

For all you guys who are in the middle of gLo, I am thinking of you. There is opart of me that really wants to be there with you have had the time of prayer in town centre and also for gLo itself (another part of me in happy with being in Africa) if you read this tonight. THen can i just encourage you tro put your all into tomorrow. God is at work all over the world in small corners, people like you are bringuing his kingdom into reality so keep going.

Internet time is gone .
Much love thank you for prayers


Tuesday, 17 March 2009


In just under 32 hours i will be setting out on a journey that I have contemplating for awhile. I head to Africa for the very first time. The trip involves an overland safari and also time to work in an Internally Displaced Persons camp. I am so unsure of what to expect and nerves are building; yet i am excited about the space that is created. A space to be still, to reflect, to be refreshed and re-envisioned. It is an exciting time; with much to see and learn and many people to meet. God is the God of detail and guides us step-by-step.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

sTaY tHe CoUrSe

As you enter into a new year you usually want to enter it with a fresh motivation and determination; a new challenge or resolve. Its an opportunity, even if it is only within our own subconscious; to recreate, to re-engergise to shake the dust off and to try again. All of this is good and a new year and beginning is an ideal opportunity for this. This gets harder to do, maybe due to scepticism; my own ability, experiences and reality of my own weakness. I find myself at a place where I have to dig a little deeper to bring all these things to the surface.

2009, a phrase has been coming to my find. It is used frequently in a great and well known film 'The Patriot', where Mel Gibson plays the role of Benjamin Martin whose strength of character is only matched by his life experience. Throughout the film when things appear to go against him or when he is torn decide between two 'goods', a phrase which his late wife used to say to him is poignantly spoken into his life, "sTaY tHe CoUrSe".

Staying the course. Change excites me, I want to be someone who searches for new expressions of 'doing life'. This excitement is only matched by how much it scares me. Change is essential. But as important as change is there is also something to be said for being committed and stable. For keeping going and continuing to turn up; for not giving in and going the distance. Its about seeing things through to completion, about being someone who finishes well. There is a depth of character in people who continue through the grind and sometimes harsh realities of life, people who are faithful, who are endurers, those who remain. Yes, we can keep going for the sake of keeping going, we can keep going as a result of our pride or even our stubbornness, but i think in the environment that we endeavour to live we are more likely to fall at the other end of the spectrum.

Staying the course. Focused. Determined. Driven. Knowing where you are going and why you are going there. Not just drifting or aimlessly floating. We are to be people who are blown by the wind of God; that expression brings a freedom with it. Yet within it we are also surrendering into an awesome current that is forging its way through history. Rediscovering my passion, being purposeful, being someone whose actions are deliberate. Even to allow myself to dream and to pursue a call and commission. As much as possible to live with meaning.

Staying the course. Checking the compass and seeing what direction I am heading and where necessary allowing myself to be drawn back on course. I drift. I loose my focus. I tend towards comfort and the things my eye can see and my hand can touch. Trying to live with a reality of God and His kingdom all around me.

stay the course