Back in March (2020) Trustees Gerry and her husband Tony Denson were making their first trip of the year to Amani Cottage one of the NLHT homes in Kisumu, it turned out to be a very differnet trip to what they had planned…
“We were planning to spend much of our trip supporting the special needs unit there. Two days after we arrived, Kenya had its first case of Covid-19 and the rest, as they say is history.
Normally each year we spend around 3 months in Kisumu, helping care for the children, working on various projects and supporting the staff. This specific trip, which was planned to be a month long had a special purpose – accompanying us was Ruth, a paediatrician from the U.K. and Heather, a paediatric physio.
The plan for this visit
The plan was to unload a consignment of physio equipment which had been kindly shipped, courtesy of the British Army in Kenya, and then Heather was to train all the Amani staff in its use.
Heather volunteers for a British charity called Physionet which refurbishes unwanted pieces of equipment, donates them overseas and provides training in their use. Heather and Physionet have provided many pieces of equipment to the Amani children over the years and Heather herself advises on suitable therapies for the children. So that was the plan!
Coronavirus hits Kenya
Two days into our visit and the first case of Covid-19 was diagnosed, the Kenyan government announced that all visitors to the country had to go into quarantine. In order to protect the children at the homes the Administration of NLHT Kenya decided to stop volunteers having direct contact with the children. NLHT did an excellent job of putting in safety measures and creating new quarantine areas in 3 of its homes so that baby rescue could continue.
We all had to find a flight home urgently. Many non-Kenyans had the same idea and so we spent many hours in a heaving Nairobi airport, before boarding a packed plane home.
Instead of the planned month long trip we only had only 6 days in the country. It was very distressing
having to leave the children so suddenly and abandoning the much needed training, with no way of knowing when we could return. It was hard for the children as well, they were confused and some of them were crying. We promised them we would come back as soon as we could.
We stay in regular contact with the Kisumu home and had a wonderful WhatsApp video call where we were able to say hi to some of the children. The plan at the moment is for Heather to do some of the training online, where possible.
Visits to the homes are still currently restricted, however you can still help by giving a donation which will go towards the purchasing of vital supplies for the homes and the care of the children.