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The average per capita income in Kitui is less than €2 per day
 
 
 
 

Cabinteely Parish Page

Visit to Kitui- March 2010

By

Aidan Corless

Kitui is green!!!  The rains have come after several years of drought and the landscape is green; there are flowers growing and blooming; and there are crops. The mood of the people is so much more positive. We can only pray that they will be able to save enough of the heavy rains to help them through to the next rainy season, whenever that will be!

Still, after an uneventful journey, we arrived in Kitui, some 13 months after our last visit.  Not only has the food situation improved, but everything seems to be positive. It was heartening to see a bag of maize in the shambas, (mudhuts) their security against food shortage.

St Michaels School will open in January 2011. Since our last visit, there has been a lot of progress. Not only are they now installing the windows, and electrical fittings, but the kitchen and assembly hall have been constructed, and the Diocese is negotiating the purchase of adjoining land to provide proper playing fields for the children. Pictures enclosed.

It has been slow, but the School is really impressive and all those involved in Kitui are certain that it will provide a significant boost to education in the area. The Diocese, through the Bishop, has also confirmed that a significant percentage of the capacity of the school will be reserved for under privileged children.

When we talk of under privileged children, there can be few more deserving of our support than those in St John Eudes.  This rehabilitation centre, for street children is truly wonderful.  Children, who have been rescued from addiction, violence, both domestic and other, prostitution, and general neglect, are cared for and rehabilitated in the most loving environment imaginable. In their faces, scarred with their personal histories, can also be seen the love given to them by Sister Mary, Sister Paschalia and two young Dutch volunteers.  We spent a most enjoyable few hours with them. It was one of the highlights of our visit. Bishop Muheria has plans to acquire a new site and build a new centre. Kevin O Boyle has €25,000 already raised for this project.

Friends of Kitui has sponsored many children over the past few years and 50 have now completed the secondary school cycle. 
We met with many of them, now looking for support to progress to third level.  This poses a serious question for FoK and for our sponsors.

Resources are limited, all the more so in the current economic climate, and the question arises whether we should ask our sponsors to continue to sponsor the children to third level, at a significantly higher annual cost, or begin the sponsorship of a new group of secondary school children.

In discussion with the Bishop and others involved in education in Kitui, the consensus appears to be that only the highest level achievers at second level should be sponsored through to third level. Otherwise it would be more beneficial, to the community generally, to ensure that another group of children, who would otherwise not go to secondary school should benefit from FoK sponsorship. We told the Bishop that we are prepared to support the appointment of a Careers Guidance person to help the school leavers, as currently they have no advisers.

With the rains having come, one might be forgiven for thinking that the need for water has diminished. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The work being carried out by the Development Co-Ordinator, Antony Mbandi and Jacinta, the Department's Water Technician, is continuing and making a real difference. We met with both of them and continue to be impressed with their commitment, their professionalism, and above all with their results. As a result of the great rains, they are now focusing on trying to save more of the rainfall. Antony is also commencing a honey and beeswax project. He is an impressive, experienced guy and the diocese are lucky to have him.

Lastly, the diocese has appointed a qualified accountant who will help deliver financial reports quicker. It is great to report that every cent donated has been accounted for and has been spent on the relevant projects.

There is no doubt in our minds that the work of FoK has provided a significant benefit to the people of Kitui.  We have assisted many children to a higher level of education than they could ever have achieved otherwise, provided fresh water to thousands of people, and helped provide an environment of safety and love for the most abandoned children of all.

It is a real privilege to see those benefits first hand.

Bishop Muheria asked us to express sincere thanks to you our supporters, and assure you that the people of Kitui appreciate it more than we can know.

 Aidan Corless

Dee Murray

Fr Arthur O Neill

Alice Corless  

Cabinteely Parish

Cabinteely parish first got involved in supporting Kitui  late 2005 when Fr. Paul Healy made an appeal for money to buy motorbikes. Fr Paul, a native of Dalkey, and a priest of the Dublin Diocese, went out to Kitui in 1998, intending to stay for a year or two. Eight years later, Fr Paul was appointed Diocesan Administrator, or acting Bishop, of the Diocese of Kitui. In 2005, Fr Paul returned to Ireland to appeal for support for the financial needs of this very poor diocese.

 In contrast to Ireland, Kitui has no shortage of priests or seminarians- but there is a severe shortage of infrastructure and transport. Because of the very poor murram roads throughout the diocese, and of course due to the lower running costs, off-road motorbikes are the most practical form of transport. In 2005, Fr. Paul, then the Diocesan Administrator, was faced with a situation in which he had newly ordained priests freshly appointed to new parish positions, but unable to carry out their pastoral duties in full because they had no means of transport.  As a result of his appeal the people of Cabinteely donated €13,000 for the purchase of four motorbikes. 

 
Following this appeal, Aidan Corless met with Fr. Paul to see what other help we could give. This resulted in Aidan's first visit to Kitui in September 2005, where he saw at first hand the enormity of the problem in Kitui. Aidan resolved to take on board the challenge of supporting the education of AIDS orphans. On his return, he appealed to the people of Cabinteely parish on behalf of the people of Kitui, for sponsorship on behalf of 100 AIDS orphans.  By Christmas 2005, we had gathered another 25,000 euro to educate 50 orphans.To date (June 2007) the parishoners have donated a total of €93,900  in two years.
At the same time Fr Paul had shown the need for a new boarding school in Kitui, and so Aidan set out to raise funds for this.The School project will cost €500,000 (including land) in total. We now have raised €250,000 euro to date (October 2008).

The parish will continue to support orphan sponsorship as we feel it is most important to educate the youth,and give them opportunity to get out of the poverty trap.

We also want to help in the fight against aids.

Our plans are to get the youth of the parish involved in raising funds, to have cake sales, to have a garden sale. We also want to share the talent of our parish with Kitui, by helping in the various projects undertaken by Friends of Kitui.
The parish council has agreed to twin with the diocese of Kitui.We hope to broaden the scope of our assistance to Kitui and we intend to try to get more Dublin parishes to twin, or partner, with Kitui parishes.

 

We are extremely grateful for the active support and encouragement of Fr Tom O'Keeffe, Fr Arthur O'Neill and Fr Conor Ward, and of course all the parishioners who have supported these projects, whether through involvement and encouragement, or through financial contributions. 

Visit the website for the Parish of Cabinteely HERE  
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