Kenya Restrictions and Honoring One of Our Ladies who Passed Away
It’s been over a year now since I’ve been to Kenya to see the ladies of Baskets and Beads. I had a trip planned in November, 2020. It has to be cancelled due to too many restrictions. I was hoping for February, 2021, but the restrictions were still tight and we were waiting for the President of Kenya to make an announcement on March 12th about lifting or extending the restrictions. He decided to extend them and this week they went back to really strict restrictions. then March and the restrictions in Kenya were extended until May.
Now the cases there are rising at a rapid rate and everything is shutting back down. At this point, I’m unsure when I’m going to get back to Kenya and when the ladies will be able to earn income again there in Kenya.
Some of the ladies who are physically able would walk the streets of Kitale with beads in hand and try to sell some that way or they would set up on the street in the street market area. That had all stopped but with some of the relaxing of restrictions, some of our ladies were walking the streets again with beads but that has stopped again.
We continue to raise funds to provide food packs to ensure they do not go hungry and are able to feed their kids. We also place small orders and are working on developing new products to sell for the home.
This has been a strain on them to not be able to earn income there in Kenya.
This past week we were informed about the passing of one of our ladies. Joan (pictured far left) was in her late 30’s, born in 1983 and had 8 children and 3 grandchildren. She was married but her husband left her and married another leaving her to take care of the children.
She was a hard worker and often did menial jobs to make ends meet to take care of her children. She joined our Baskets and Beads group and we helped her with a chicken coup to help with the family. She lived very far from where we would meet, but she and 3 other ladies would leave early in the morning and walk miles to get to the weekly meetings.
In February of 2020 one of the other 4 ladies, Phostine (pictured next to me) had her house washed away from a flood. Donations provided for a new house to be built and supplies and bedding plus food packs to help her get going. Joan was there to help out and provide support for Phostine during that time.
This was during the build and Joan came to help out. She brought us 3 chickens as a thank you for our help for Phostine.
We recently helped her son by providing uniforms and school supplies so he could attend school. With opportunities to earn being nearly non existent, she was unable to handle all the costs for school. We have also provided food packs to her for her family over the last year of the pandemic (along with all our other ladies). She was very thankful for the food.
Joan started complaining of headaches about 2 weeks ago. She did not go to the hospital until it was too late. We are so sad that she is no longer with us. We are raising funds to help with funeral and other costs. At this writing we have raised half of the $450 funeral and burial expenses. If you would like to donate specifically for that or for the food pack program click here.
If you believe in the power of prayer, please pray for her family. She has many younger children and at this time we do not know how they will be cared for.