Dear family and friends,
I hope that you all had a great Christmas and a good start to 2019. I am very thankful that Christmas and New Year here were celebrated with friends of mine; it was full of fun and laughter. It was such a blessing as many of you know I was dreading it a bit! So thank you for all your prayers and thoughts.
Finishing at Neema…
It has been a busy start to 2019 as I have decided that I will finish working here at Neema in April. I will have done two terms with CMS, so six years, and I feel that it is the right time for a myriad of reasons. It has not been easy making this decision but now I have made it I feel at peace.
Chipe always said she will leave when I do. When I told her my decision she also started making plans and for a number of personal reasons, mostly around schooling for her daughter Glory, we decided it best for her to leave at the end of January. So although I am very sad to be continuing without her, I understand that this is right for her and her family. Please pray as she also looks to the future.
It makes it more complicated planning the future of the therapy department with all our children and families. We at Neema don’t want to lose the children or the momentum we have worked so hard at creating in engaging parents, families and communities. Please pray for us as we speak to the bishop and make plans for the therapy department at Neema.
We had a big farewell and told children and parents on Wednesday 30 January. We felt that as Chipe was going, it was the right time to do this and I am now continuing for a few months – hopefully time to work out a handover plan and get as much sorted for the staff as possible.
My brother is coming to do some travelling with me in May/June time. The plan is that I will be back in the UK at the end of June or beginning of July when I will have time to catch up with family and friends and visit my link churches. I am not sure what the future holds for me but I trust and know that there are many different options and opportunities. I want to be here and now while I am still here, and will think about my future when I am back in the UK.
I want to thank you all so much for all the different ways that you have supported and encouraged me in the time I have been here. I appreciate it all more than I can say. I am really looking forward to being back in the UK again to catch up with many of you.
These last few weeks have been busy doing all the community visits prior to Chipe leaving as it is difficult to do them on my own. There are a few that I will do now that Chipe has left where I am familiar with the route, so please do pray for my car (which is increasingly falling apart) and for safety.
I want to briefly share with you stories of three of the children that we have recently been out to visit.
• E. is a little boy who has cerebral palsy. He lives with his grandmother (on his father’s side) as when he was born, his mother left because of his disability. As you can see from the photo below, his grandmother is quite old and getting frailer and they live quite far out in the villages. We have been wanting to provide E. with a wheelchair for a long time but the house they lived in was totally unsuitable for this. We were so happy to hear that the grandmother had moved while we are still able to go out and provide a wheelchair which will help so much.
• L. is a young man who has a degenerative condition. His mother came a few weeks ago to ask for help as she was struggling to care for him. We did a home visit and saw the condition of his current wheelchair so provided one that was sturdier and enabled him to sit a little better. We gave the mother a lot of advice (much of which she probably won’t follow) and know that in providing a wheelchair, we have made a marked difference for L. and his mother.
• M. is a five year old little boy whose parents initially came asking for a wheelchair for him… but I said no! I explained that I wanted him to learn to crawl, move around, strengthen his upper body and learn to be independent in personal care. We spent a lot of time with the parents explaining why this was so important for him to learn and develop early on, and that he would be left sitting all the time if we gave him a wheelchair with have very little opportunity to develop. This would be to his detriment later on as he got older. I have been waiting for him to be big enough, strong enough and confident enough to use a hand pedalled PET* cart and am privileged to still be here at the right time for this to happen. We adapted the seat and brakes a little for his size and strength and he was able to manoeuvre it around a little at home. The plan is that he will start school next year and (hopefully) be able to ride to school each day.
(*Personal Energy Transportation)
Many thanks and may God bless and keep each one of you.