Karibu! I would like to invite young people from our diocese of Argyll and the Isles to join me in working at the Live With Hope Clinic in Kenya. I will be going for approximately four weeks in July 2018. I can promise you a fantastic experience. This trip is unique because far from staying in a hotel and encountering the people ‘from a distance’ you will be constantly living and working among the locals.

Over the month you will be privileged to engage with a beautiful country with a completely different culture. You will participate a little in people’s poverty and struggle for survival. You will marvel at their sense of joy and living faith in God. The experience cannot but challenge your values.
However, travelling to Kenya for a month is a very serious proposition. Our preparation will demand effort, the trip itself will be hard work and you will live in basic conditions. Strong discipline will be demanded. The trip will be great fun but it will not be easy. Please read the information below and if you are interested please let me know!

 

DIOCESE OF ARGYLL AND THE ISLES YOUTH TRIP TO LIVE WITH HOPE 2018

BASIC INFORMATION

INTRODUCTION

Karibu! I would like to invite young people from our diocese of Argyll and the Isles to join me in working at the Live With Hope Clinic in Kenya. I will be going for approximately four weeks in July 2018. I can promise you a fantastic experience. This trip is unique because far from staying in a hotel and encountering the people ‘from a distance’ you will be constantly living and working among the locals. Over the month you will be privileged to engage with a beautiful country with a completely different culture. You will participate a little in people’s poverty and struggle for survival. You will marvel at their sense of joy and living faith in God.  The experience cannot but challenge your values.

However, travelling to Kenya for a month is a very serious proposition. Our preparation will demand effort, the trip itself will be hard work and you will live in basic conditions. Strong discipline will be demanded. The trip will be great fun but it will not be easy. Please read the information below and if you are interested please let me know!

 

1 GENERAL BACKGROUND

 

WHAT IS LIVE WITH HOPE?

Live With Hope Centre is a HIV/AIDS Clinic in Kenya. It is based in the town of Kericho, Western Kenya.

WHO RUNS LIVE WITH HOPE?

The leader of Live With Hope is a Scottish nun called Sister Placida McCann. Most of the staff, including management, are Kenyan.

WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF LIVE WITH HOPE?

It is a faith based, community project. Its origins lie with Benjamin and Samuel who were both parishioners of St Mary’s parish in the slum area of Motobo, Kericho. Almost twenty years ago they noticed that many people were dying of a mysterious illness. Ignorance and fear allowed prejudice to grow and the sick were shunned by family and neighbours. However, inspired by the Gospel, these two men informally cared for the sick. Their parish priest sent them on a course to the capital Nairobi where they learned about HIV/AIDS. Others in the parish and wider community now joined their effort. There was no cure available for the disease but they wanted to help the terminally ill patients live with dignity. This is why they named the project Live With Hope.

Within a short period of time the numbers of those seeking support increased dramatically. The Bishop of Kericho invited Sr Placida and her fellow Franciscans to help in the development of Live With Hope. Sr Placida and two other sisters moved to Kericho in 2000 and built a small convent. Initially, the project was run from the convent itself but as the clients (and nuns) increased a separate convent was built close by. The Live With Hope Clinic has since expanded but it is still on the original convent grounds.

WHAT WORK DOES LIVE WITH HOPE DO?

Live With Hope has four main departments:

  1. VCT (Voluntary Counselling and Testing). This involves the promotion of voluntary testing for the virus and counselling across the town and countryside.
  2. OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children). Live With Hope cares for over 3,000 children. They run support groups for children with the virus, visit struggling families and provide residential care for troubled youth. They also run several projects among street boys including transitional residential care.
  3. Home Based Care and Haart Clinic. Social workers and nurses visit the sick at home. Food is distributed to those too weak to work. At the Clinic medical attention and medication is provided daily. There is also a weekly support group for adults.
  4. This raises awareness of HIV/AIDS in the community. A prevention programme promotes abstinence and fidelity among the youth.

Live With Hope is also building a Sports and Training Centre for unemployed youth, runs a project for disabled children and another project tackling drug and alcohol addiction and child prostitution. It has also been prominent in promoting peace within the area by an end to tribal violence.

WHAT IS KERICHO LIKE?

Kericho is a town within the Kenyan West Highlands. The population is about 70,000. The surrounding countryside has many small farms as well as large Tea Estates. The climate is hot but with frequent rain which makes for fertile soil.  The town itself is very poor with many slum areas. Those working on the Plantations and most of the farmers live in poverty too. The local tribe is the Kipsigis (branch of the Kalenjin) and they form the majority in the countryside although in the town the citizens originate from many different tribes.

 

2 ARGYLL AND THE ISLES YOUTH GROUP

 

MEMBERSHIP OF THE GROUP

The trip is open to young people from the diocese of Argyll and the Isles who will be aged between 18-25 on July 1st 2018. Bishop Brian will be the leader and this will be his seventh trip to Live With Hope and his fourth bringing a Youth Group.  Angela Kelly will be the assistant leader. Angela is greatly experienced in such trips. She has twice volunteered on similar projects elsewhere and has also twice been assistant leader to Kericho on previous trips run by Bishop Brian.

For several reasons the group will be limited to nine youth, preferably three from each deanery (Lochaber, Argyll and the Western Isles). A mixture of male and female participants would also be desired. For safety and organisational reasons it is essential that participants accept the authority of Bishop Brian as leader and Angela as assistant.

WHAT WORK WOULD OUR GROUP DO?

Our main contribution will involve simply being present to people. Kenyans see visitors as blessings and they are touched that we will visit them from so far away. The group will also fundraise before we go and so will financially support Live With Hope’s work. While in Kericho we will do any tasks which the Clinic asks of us. Typically this has included house visits, working at the support groups, visiting schools, distributing food and clothes, supporting homeless boys, sports activities, involvement with local parish, organising Festivals and cleaning the Clinic.

WHAT WILL OUR LIVING CONDITIONS BE LIKE?

The accommodation will be adequate but very basic. We will live in Church dormitories which are about a ten minute walk from the Clinic. The Church compound has only cold showers and our toilets will be outside ‘long-drops’. We will be responsible for the group’s shopping, cooking and cleaning. We will wash our own clothes by hand. There will be very little personal space for the entire trip.

WHAT WILL EACH DAY BE LIKE?

The trip is very structured with a daily timetable. On Monday-Saturday we will get up at 7am and breakfast from 7.30am. Morning Prayer (either as a group or at the Clinic) is at 8.30am. Work begins at 9am. Everyone will be allocated a work schedule with tasks both in the morning and afternoon.  We will return for lunch about 1pm unless our activity is all-day and then we bring a packed lunch. Dinner will be at 6.30pm. People can retire when they wish. Sunday is a free day, After Mass we can go and socialise at a nice restaurant/bar which is just outside the town.

We will be divided into smaller groups for domestic duties. Everyone will take a turn at cleaning, shopping and cooking. Eating breakfast (and the other two meals) will be compulsory to keep strong. There will be no shortage of food. There are local markets and the town centre has several supermarkets.

 

WHAT EXPECTATIONS ARE THERE OF US?

Live With Hope is a faith based project. So is our trip since it is organised by the diocese of Argyll and the Isles. Everyone will be expected to participate in Sunday Mass and well as daily morning and night prayers. The group will also have regular reflections. Mass will be offered each day in the parish (Church or homes) but participation is voluntary.

There will be opportunities for the group to relax with alcohol. However, no excessive use of alcohol or use of illegal drugs or sexual activity will be tolerated.

Four weeks is a long time living in close proximity with basic conditions. The trip is tiring and draining emotionally. Applicants should be mature, tolerant, committed and supportive of the other group members.

 

WILL THE TRIP BE SAFE?

There are two aspects to this question: security and health.

1 SECURITY

Kenya has its security problems. Over the years there have been some serious terrorist incidents but, so far, distant from the Kericho area. The capital Nairobi can bring its own dangers but we do not stay any longer in Nairobi than necessary. Kericho sometimes has inter-tribal unrest at election time but there will be no elections during our visit.

Kenya, and therefore Kericho, can be dangerous at night. Motobo is a slum area and destitution sometimes breeds desperation. Darkness descends at 7pm and we are always home before that. No one must ever go out (day or night) on his or her own. Likewise, you should not go out with anyone, even from Live With Hope, unless Bishop Brian or Sr Placida expressly says so. The compound is safe and there have been no security issues in previous visits. It is important to follow the instructions of those who have good experience of Kenya.

2 PERSONAL HEALTH

Kenya, being a sub-Saharan country, has a number of diseases which Scotland doesn’t have. Motobo, being a slum area, also carries health risks. However, simple precautions should keep you healthy.

  • Visit your practice nurse well in advance to establish which inoculations you need.
  • Malaria is a problem. Malaria is a serious disease which can weaken a person for life and even kill. Malaria is carried by water and mosquitoes. We will visit during the rainy season when malaria is more prevalent. To combat the risk you will order medication, bring a mosquito net, insect repellent (must contain at least 50% DEET) and cover yourself from dusk to dawn. Likewise NEVER drink local water (even from a house tap) and always peel your fruit and vegetables. Only wash salad with bottled or boiled water. Only brush your teeth using bottled or boiled.
  • Hygiene can be an issue for us. Carry gel and clean your hands before eating or touching your mouth. Never eat food from the street. Only drink tea (not cold drinks) in homes.
  • The HIV Virus can be spread by bodily fluids. Therefore, any cuts should be covered with plaster.

If these simple precautions are followed there should be no serious health problems.

WHEN WOULD WE GO?

Our estimated date is very late June to late July 2018.

WHAT WOULD THE COST BE?

The cost will be approximately £800per person. This includes your flights, insurance, visa, transfers, accommodation, food, drinks and trips to Lake Victoria and a Safari Park. We will buy any ‘luxuries’ ourselves. Each group member will also be expected to fundraise at least £800 to cover the rest of the costs. The group will also fundraise for Live With Hope.

WHAT DO I BRING?

A full list will be provided well in advance of the trip.

HOW DO I APPLY?

If you are interested in participating please email Bishop Brian by July 20th 2017. State your name, date of birth and where you live. There will be an Information Meeting for those interested in each deanery. Attendance for this meeting will be essential. Perhaps a parent may wish to come along too at this point for more information. If you would still like to come after the Information Meeting you will be given an Application Form. There will be several further meetings for the whole group before the trip.