Visitors from Turkana Desert

Scholastica,Lenny with New Ways supporters Stuart Garner, Peter Dunn

Scholastica,Lenny with New Ways supporters Stuart Garner, Peter Dunn

Two workers from the St Paul's Missionary Community on the edge of the Turkana Desert northern Kenya, in equatorial Africa,  have been visiting a chilly UK this week.

Nursing specialist Scholastica Wamalwa and agriculturist Lenny Jilo have been attending fundraising events,  visiting parishes and meeting members of the New Ways charity, which supports their work.

Based in Nariokotomo, Scholastica,  is in charge of health projects which include four dispensaries and a mobile clinic that attends 21 villages over an area of more than 11,000 square kilometres.

"There is a population of about 50,000 people," she said. "Their main health problems are getting enough clean water and food. Malaria, respiratory infections, snakebites, skin infections are common. There is a growing problem with HIV."

She said: "We have two nurses and eight nursing aids - but no doctor. The nearest hospital is three hours away - but that is not so well equipped. A larger mission hospital where we take serious cases, is six hours drive away. They are both quite expensive."

Lenny, is in charge of agricultural projects, teaching mainly the women and children how to grow their own food. "The land is very fertile" she said. "But farming is a new thing for these people because they are pastoralists, used to moving from place to place with their flocks. Now they are having to settle more and learning how to grow watermelon, mangoes, spinach and papaya - many kinds of vegetables and fruit."

"Our dream is to turn the desert into a garden," Lenny said.

Both Scholastica and Lenny come from different parts of Kenya: Scholastica is from Kitali and Lenny is from the coastal town of Hola. They go back to their families about once a year. "At first they didn't like us going so far away but now they understand what we are doing, they are quite proud of us," Scholastica said.

Westminster  diocesan priest, Fr Albert Salvans,  is working with the community. Besides health and agricultural programs, they run many water projects, building dams and lakes for irrigation and fishing.  They also run schools and adult education projects, Fr Albert's parish extends over thousands of miles.

If you would like to contribute to the work  of New Ways send cheques to: New Ways, 47, Cumberland Street, London SW1V 4LY For more information on New Ways visit:

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