St Joseph’s Catholic Church Wetherby started supporting the people of Katangi in 1999. Since that time we have provided funds to help them complete ‘Churches’ ‘Schools’ ‘Community Workshops’ and various other projects to help and improve the lives of the local communities.
Over the past 2 years or so the children of St Joseph’s Primary School have exchanged correspondence with children of their same age with a school near Katangi. This direct link between young people living in totally different worlds should help develop a better understanding of the reality of living in a third world.
Katangi is located approx. 3 hours drive South East of Nairobi the capital of Kenya. It is located on a high plateau and sadly over the past ten years has experienced severe droughts causing great hardship and difficulties for the locals to survive. The majority of people in Africa live as rural subsistence farmers and have done so for centuries. This means they own and farm a small plot of land surrounding their house and produce sufficient basic foods to live on.
The western way of life as we know it just does not apply in Katangi with no electricity, gas, water, telephone lines and toilets (as we know them). A picture of a typical rural house and plot is shown opposite. All the roads out of Katangi are very bad dirt ones with large pot holes and boulders to negotiate so it can take an hour to do a few miles. There is little in the way of private employment with the bulk of people working for a wage employed by government.
A lot of community life centres around the local school and education is a high priority to everyone giving them the prospect of a better life. For the past 5 or 6 years we have concentrated our efforts on supporting Aids Orphans with food, clothing and education. We currently have 77 orphans in our scheme which supports them from infants until they finish school at 18. These orphans are placed with a near relative, not in an orphanage, usually an aged Grand-mother who may already be taking care of several other children and rely on neighbours to help with food. Some of our help has gone to expand the very remote school facilities as shown in the picture gallery below where the school in question is now a fully registered Junior School.
WATER—THE STAFF OF LIFE
Community activities centre around the nearest school and as water is vital for everyone’s survival we are help-ing with water projects to ensure the children have clean drinking water and hopefully enough to help grow crops. It should be noted that it can take some people several hours to reach the nearest water supply point which is usually from a bore hole. No local transport is available in the areas we are talking about so water is carried on donkeys or bicycles as shown in the picture.
Sunday Mass in the bush. Some of these people will have walked for hours to get to church. They would have carried their babies and little ones together with food and drink for the day. Notice the Church is made of sticks and mud and the roof is old hessian sacking with more holes in than hessian. It won’t keep the rain out but does help to provide a little shelter from the burning sun.
With the Parish’s continued support and other future projects we can help these people become self sufficient with water, food and education, thus fulfilling the many requests in scripture to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and take care of the orphans.
For more information contact Jim Hill via e mail:- firstname.lastname@example.org