May 24, 2016

 Bondo.  We have recently received photos of a prize giving at the school opened by the Usenge Development Initiative.  This is approved by the national government and a recent phone call to Winnie has revealed that all is well with the community in Bondo.

There are now 9 teachers in the school and the curriculum includes English and Christian education.  Due to the recent rains the kale programme is coming on well and will result in food and finance for the community through the sale of this produce.

Michael’s daughter Sharon, who has already been supported by our brownies, is in improving health.  With sponsorship from one of our members, she is able to have a diet of fruit and vegetables and monthly medication.

The thriving environment encourages small businesses to develop further and in every communication we receive there is an appreciation of our continuing financial support.  This is thanks to our church members and friends which has enabled the World Church Team to forward approx £50,000 to the community over the past 9 years.

Alternative Christmas Gifts

February 17, 2016

Many thanks to everyone who generously donated towards our appeal for Christmas gifts to help Kenyan Education Projects.  The sum of £1,000 will greatly help this year’s funding in Mathia and Bondo.

John, on behalf of Rev. Harrison, sends greetings and best wishes for 2016 to Maxwelltown West Church members from the congregation of Mathia Church.  Their students include special thanks for the help they receive.

Winnie and the community in Bondo are still progressing well with their little businesses.

The new building extension provides space for classes up to Grade 5 and the building is also used for Sunday School.  Our latest funding will provide the children with Christian books in their own language.

The World Church Team is very grateful and humbled for the success in our two Kenyan projects through God’s guidance and the continued support from our Church members.

We wish you all a very healthy and happy 2016.                                                                                                                                                                                                              A D

November 23, 2015

It is now nine years since Maxwelltown West started supporting the community in Bondo, initially supplying reed mats for the four nursery schools and then medication for an outbreak of cholera.  Things have moved on since then and during recent years our Church has enabled the community to gain access to clean water, toilets and water from Lake Victoria for irrigation, all resulting in improvements to health.

Village people have started small businesses, profits being directed back to the community.  A Primary School, now running up to grade 5, has been established and this is licensed with the government.  Each class has three periods set aside each week for Christian Education and Winnie has recently asked if we could supply some Christian books with Bible stories for children.

Through the efforts of a group of our parishioners we are able to provide monthly support to the feeding programme for the children.  The charity – Usenge Development Initiative – set up by the community in Bondo, oversees all the projects and Winnie continually expresses appreciation for the support that Maxwelltown West is providing.  A recent email from her states “All is well here thanks to your continued support since 2006.  Thank you for routing for us!’

The WCT could not have undertaken this project in Kenya without the prayers and support from our Church members and this is very much appreciated.

December 12, 2014

Education; this is our Kenyan friends’ greatest concern.  Our Christmas Gift Catalogue this year is an appeal for your help to support this.  You should have received this flyer with your Contact.

Winnie in Bondo sent her annual report stating how well they have progressed since the beginning of our support in 2007 and now the children are healthy, better fed and enjoying school and Sunday school.  She is planning more classrooms and hopes for more books and other educational help.

Book Stall – The World Church Team is planning to have a Book Stall to raise funds for the Kenyan projects.  Donations of books, preferably paperbacks, would be much appreciated and can be handed to any WCT member or picked up by I Slack.           A D

May 28, 2014

Bondo News
Good progress has been made in Bondo since we last wrote for Contact. Winnie reports that the kale project is doing well despite the long drought which has resulted in returns being down by about 22%. However from the proceeds of the kale sales, two teachers have been employed at the Happy Tots School (set up by Winnie) and they have also managed to pay off the roof debt for the building for classes 1 – 3. The school is being registered with the Kenyan Government at a cost of ksh 60,000 (approx GBP 500) and this will be paid by instalment from kale sales. Each child in the school has also received a pair of plimsoles from the Red Cross through their anti-jigger campaign!!
Sharon is now improving after a spell of illness/hospitalisation and back to school although her performance has suffered as a result of her absence. The World Church Team is still supporting her by sending money to assist with her medication.
There has been a decline in the fishing project and this is causing major concerns regarding the livelihood of some of the locals.
Funding has been supplied to assist with setting up a library in the school and Winnie is keen to buy a selection of books, especially Bible Stories for the children.
We continue to value your support, as without this we could not keep assisting our friends in Bondo and we thank you for this.    R S

Kenyan Visit to Bondo


Winnie Owuor visited Maxwelltown West Church in August 2006 where, over tea after the service, she related the problems being experienced in her community in Kenya.

We visited her in 2007, learned about the problems in detail and submitted a report to the Session who decided to start a project to help her.

She is still supporting approximately 250 orphans in three of the four adobe built Nursery Schools constructed before our involvement, taking in children between the ages of three – five years.  Over the past five years the World Church Team (WCT) has supplied reed mats for the floors of the schools, books, shoes and toys and has supplied funding to build toilets at three of the schools.  Three dozen of our congregation have faithfully provided £250 per month to assist in a feeding programme for the children.

From a suggestion and finance from the WCT a few years ago, she initiated a fund to provide interested parties with a loan to set up their own businesses. This has been a successful venture and from the proceeds and revenue from selling water from the first Well (£0.02 for every five gallons of water) she is able to proceed with her vision which is to:

a)     provide education  to the orphans

b)    sustain a supply of food

c)     improve the lives of the community.

When we visited Winnie four years ago, we worshipped in an adobe-built church that they had constructed a few miles from her home and we also saw the first stage of a brick build church.  With assistance from Max West and income from her Business Enterprises this has now been completed along with an extension, which has enabled Winnie to start another school using the Church and extension to provide an educational facility for an additional 250 children.  She has three nursery classes and two primary and five teachers, only one of whom is fully trained.  Nursery education is not provided by the State so it is a considerable disadvantage to a child if they start primary education without the benefits of a few years at nursery.

During our tour of the school entertainment by some of the children included a song:

‘The sun is there out in the sky
When I wake up in the morning
I wash my face and brush my hair
I put on my uniform, I take my bag
I run to school.

Winnie told us that there is no mention of breakfast as this is not part of the routine, so every lunchtime she provides all the children with a cup of porridge and a doughnut.

Also in the quadrangle (field!) are two toilets and the second Well financed by Max West and part of the old church is now used as a classroom.

With advice from the Ministry of Education Winnie and her colleagues in the Usenge Development Initiative (the charity set up six years ago by Winnie) intend to teach children up to primary 6.  This will entail additional classrooms and to this end they intend to use land adjacent to Lake Victoria to grow kale and sell 100 kgs per week to a local Secondary School.  Our WCT has undertaken to provide the finance to purchase the necessary equipment – a water pump, tank and pipes.  In addition, the installing of fish cages in the lake is well under way and this will allow them to sell fish to the community and gain more income.

Winnie has included in the curriculum a period of Christian Education per week. The community at large is so entrenched with local and traditional customs that she feels it is better and easier to introduce this to the children who can absorb this along with their other subjects.  At weekends the Church reverts to a Church! the services conducted by Michael, her deputy and a devout Christian. Every Sunday evening there is a Bible Class at Winnie’s home attended by about six of her colleagues.

As with Mathia, when asked how we can continue to support her endeavours Winnie told us she requires

a)     kale seed

b)    fish and fish food

c)     books in English (Christian and otherwise) to form a library

The WCT feels that Winnie and her colleagues have achieved a great deal and that we should encourage them in whatever way we can.

Luke 18:16   Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

The Town Band is providing a concert in Maxwelltown West Church for our Kenyan Projects on Sunday afternoon of 8 December 2013 at 2.30 pm. 

No tickets required but there will be a retiring collection.                                                          I & R Slack

September 4, 2013

Since 2007 our Bondo project continues to develop well and the community is progressing to become self sufficient.   Our Christmas catalogue gifts resulted in £140 to purchase more beehives.  The bees were provided by the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture and the first honey is expected in December.  The Sunday school benefited by £110 for new books.     From their little businesses mainly the sale of tomatoes, cash has been raised for second water pump which they aim to complete soon.    The Ministry of Education has now officially registered the school which Winnie has set up.  They were impressed to learn she has support and assistance from the Church of Scotland and that Max. West is sending a monthly donation to provide food for the children. Our World Church Team is indebted to the sponsors who have constantly over the past 4 years enabled us to send £250 every month to the Usenge Development initiative, the charity set up by Winnie to assist in feeding 300 children and now approx 500.  Recently two classrooms and a kitchen have been added to the church building and we forwarded £260 to complete the roof before the rainy season begins. This donation was funded from a funeral collection which specified it was to be used for the benefit of the children of Bondo.

Winnie continues in every mailing to thank the people of Max West “for sowing the seeds hope in her community which allows them to see a brighter future ahead”.

March 13, 2013

Bondo:  The Bondo project continues to develop.  Since starting in 2007, we have assisted in the construction of six earth toilets, two deep wells and a small church with a recent classroom addition.  The initiation of a Credit Scheme two years ago, from funding provided by us, has resulted in numerous small businesses being developed.

The monthly donations from our members is now being used to assist in feeding 550 children and the recent Gift Scheme we introduced this Christmas has resulted in £110 being forwarded to provide Sunday School literature and £140 to purchase beehives for another business scheme.

We continue to seek contributions towards the feeding programme, as well as sponsorship for individual children.  If you feel that you can help, please contact one of the members of the World Church Team led by A Dunbar.  The Gift Scheme continues throughout the year and gifts may be “purchased” at any time.

The hopes and dreams of those in Usenge are evolving and in every message we receive they emphasise their gratitude to Maxwelltown West.

December 5, 2012

Since our involvement with Bondo in 2007, progress continues to be made through the Usenge Development Initiative (UDI), the Charity drawn up and overseen by the committee we deal with in Bondo.

In recent months 2 additional dry toilets and one deep well have been constructed and their co-operative arrangement, initiated by ourselves, has enabled them to start many small businesses, build a small Church and new classrooms.  Among projects contemplated are a beehive business and a library to assist in the education and religious study of the original 300 orphans in 2007 and 250 additional orphans since then, which are currently being supported by the UDI.  A spokesperson recently wrote to us saying ‘Believe me, community empowerment economically and educationally is comparable to nothing else.’

The World Church Team wishes to thank everyone who is supporting our two projects in Kenya and will welcome enquiries from anyone interested in assisting the two communities.

May 2012: This is now our 5th year helping Bondo progress to independence with our assistance and so now it is time to re-assess some future plans which will eventually be approved by the Kirk Session and reported in Contact.

Winnie asks me to convey her thanks and good wishes to all who have made this possible.

Bondo: Winnie writes that they are very happy in Usenge, more so because they will soon have a new well to supplement the first one we provided.  With clean, safe drinking water the rate of water-borne diseases will go down even further.  However, with the huge increases in the price of basic commodities and fuel, together with Kenya’s new constitution and administrative reorganisation, the survey fees, labour costs and materials involved in building the new well will rise sharply.  The second instalment of money for the well was sent at the end of September.  The well is now almost 40 feet deep and it is hoped that it will provide a 10-12 foot water table which cannot dry up even in the drought.

With the profits from small businesses, they have now built three crèche classrooms and are building a church/school, which is now at lintel level.

Winnie says, “I appreciate all that you at Maxwest are doing for us and I can assure you that not a cent donated for the community will be lost or misappropriated.”

World Church Team

Disappointing news from Bondo regarding Winnie’s second visa application refusal, despite assistance from Russell Brown MP.

The WCT decided not to pursue this matter any further meantime.  The money raised for her visit will be used for the food programme and help to reimburse her application costs.

Although I have some bad news due to drought – animals are dying, food costs are doubling and people are again using polluted lake water which brings illness – the good news is that our deep well is the only source to provide the area with clean water, so the whole community queues for hours and Winnie has had to put limits on its use.  The goats and chickens are surviving along with some crops. The Tuc Tuc which was provided lately, is hired out when not required and the profit used to give ninety 3-5 year olds a meal at Winnie’s new crèche.

Many other small scale businesses are making a profit and the money has been used to start a church building.

Bondo is progressing and we are told the people have much higher self- esteem now.  However, as we know, water is of prime importance and when asked, this was Winnie’s next priority.  In view of this we asked for estimates to dig another DEEP well. The WCT are delighted that this was the correct choice last time and we now are beginning to see this community on the road to becoming self-sufficient.

Julie Smith and Sharon Fyall’s Charity Run in aid of our two Kenyan projects raised a wonderful total of £850.00.  Congratulations and grateful thanks to both ladies.

A D, WCT Convener

March  2012

Bondo is very happy, with their second well supplying more people with clean water.   A party for the children was also enjoyed on the same day as the well opened.  Pictures of this were seen on the screen along with the latest news.
Winnie is keen to finish building their new church which will also serve as a school and community centre.
The WCT hopes to be able to help with this project also in 2012.
We thank everyone who supports us with our two Kenyan projects and hope you are happy with the excellent progress which has been made in a few years.  Those Kenyan friends send you their blessings and good wishes for the year ahead.
The collection on Christmas Eve gave £434.00 to our Kenyan projects and the same £434.00 to Cancer Research.  Grateful thanks to all who donated.           A D

December 4, 2011

Bondo: Winnie writes that they are very happy in Usenge, more so because they will soon have a new well to supplement the first one we provided.  With clean, safe drinking water the rate of water-borne diseases will go down even further.  However, with the huge increases in the price of basic commodities and fuel, together with Kenya’s new constitution and administrative reorganisation, the survey fees, labour costs and materials involved in building the new well will rise sharply.  The second instalment of money for the well was sent at the end of September.  The well is now almost 40 feet deep and it is hoped that it will provide a 10-12 foot water table which cannot dry up even in the drought.

With the profits from small businesses, they have now built three crèche classrooms and are building a church/school, which is now at lintel level.

Winnie says, “I appreciate all that you at Maxwest are doing for us and I can assure you that not a cent donated for the community will be lost or misappropriated,”

May 20, 2011

Although we are now almost in summer, I would like to convey to you the Easter greetings and many blessings sent to all at Maxwelltown West from our friends in Mathia and Bondo.  They greatly value their connection with us.

Grateful thanks to everyone who supported our coffee morning in March to assist with travel and the visit from Winnie in Bondo.  The excellent sum of £850.65 was raised.  We hope to receive Winnie on 5th June and she will stay with I and R Slack, as their guest.

A programme is planned for her to meet as many church people as possible at her request.  We hope you will be free to come along and hear her latest news.  The date of a social evening will be announced through the church intimations quite soon.  The new Mathia Church is progressing slowly and it seems our donation has helped to install the windows.

The BB members should all have hats now, bought as our gift after our visitors to Kenya reported that only a few of the boys owned hats.  They like to raise their hats and cheer when required.  A photograph has been promised soon.

The World Church Team hopes you will be able to meet with Winnie very soon.                                                                                                         A D, WCT Convener

Booming Business in Bondo

This is our humanitarian project which we have now been supporting for 3 years after Winnie, a lady from Sondo, Kenya visited Maxwelltown West while on holiday with family from London and asked for help. Now a widow and retired from business, she returned to her home village to help the people in extreme poverty. She has started 4 nursery schools with 300 children, mostly orphans as a result of HIV Aids.

After Rosemary and lan visited the first time and confirmed the community had absolutely nothing, we set up a feeding programme, followed by a deep well which provided clean water and more healthy people. Next were 2 toilets for nursery schools, shoes, mosquito nets, books and games. Following this was the water pump which now helps 15 farmers to irrigate and grow crops such as beans, tomatoes, onions, and melons. They keep half for family and sell the rest locally. The goat project is very popular and now 16 families benefit. The agreement to donate the first kid back to the project has worked well and is “self funding” without using actual cash.

LATEST NEWS: Many small businesses are prospering now with the money which was donated to them by Max West this year. For example: fishing boats and nets, provision for drying the fish for sale, food stalls and more. They are borrowing a little money, given 3 months credit which Winnie controls and recycles the profit into other projects. She hopes eventually to save enough to buy a Tuk Tuk to transport the produce to a market in a town near Bondo which would give a greater profit than locally. She also hopes to grow fruit soon and now has banana plants. The toilet for the 3rd Nursery school is almost finished and we hope to provide the 4th soon.

THE SUNDAY SCHOOL now has books for the children in their own language (Luo) bought in Kisumu from a Christian shop which we are glad to know about. This also came from a Max West donation. The WCT are delighted with the progress our funding is making and quite cautious in allocating our hard earned funds. You can be assured that all money received from you is sent directly to Winnie with no middle person involved. We take guidance from Winnie as to the requirements most needed. We receive a balance sheet from her every 6 months and are satisfied with this.

The FOOD MONEY donated still only provides the children with one substantial meal a month. We hope as the community becomes more self-sufficient this will no longer be a concern.
WINNIE’S FINAL WORDS: “Nothing works as well as empowering a community. Please rest assured we will develop and continue to better our lives. God Bless Max. West for giving us so much hope in life.”

PS: The Concert on 20th November by Brighton’s Church Falkirk will be in aid of our Kenyan Projects. We do hope our church members will support this. The last concert by Brighton’s was well received and enjoyed. Tickets £5. per person, £10 for a family regardless of how many children and a light supper is included after the concert. WCT have tickets or pay at the door.                                                                                                                                                                    A D WCT Convener

It is just over two years since a formal arrangement was drawn up to support a community in Usenge, near Bondo in Kenya – an area with a history of desperate poverty that is still prevalent today. The lack of rain in recent years has led to crop failure and huge increase in food prices.

Our primary focus is the 300 orphans attending four nursery schools established by Winnie Owuor and her friends. We have provided books for the Sunday school, schools and shoes for the children. Money from the Bondo appeal fund has financed the following projects:

• The purchase of a water pump & pipes to irrigate crops adjacent to Lake Victoria, which borders onto Usenge
• Provision of mosquito nets for each of the children
• Construction of a toilet at one of the schools
• Installation of a well that is supplying clean water to approximately 500 families

A plaque on the toilet block and well reads ‘Donated by Max West Church of Scotland, Dumfries’.

We have recently released funds to construct a toilet at a second school and provided £200 to purchase goats in line with our policy of helping the community ultimately to become self sufficient.

The ongoing project is the provision of food for the children. Until recently we were providing £130 per month, which enabled the children to have one meal per month. Members of Max West are now generously donating £200 per month, which enables Winnie to purchase food at more preferential prices and thus extend the feeding programme.

Ideally we are hoping that we will eventually be able to send sufficient funding to provide at least one good meal a week for the children.

Report to Congregation at the Family Service on 21st March 2010

At the World Church Team meeting on Wednesday night, 17th March, it was suggested that we should update you on what projects we have undertaken for Bondo since last Christmas, writes Rosemary Slack.

The Christmas appeal for blankets was successful and the final instalment of money has been sent to Winnie and the blankets bought and distributed to those responsible for looking after the orphans. About 300 orphans have benefited from this project and the blankets will help to keep them warm at night especially if they go to bed hungry.

We also sent money for the purchase of goats and these are now in place with 5 families. When the original goats have offspring these kids will then be given to other families in the community thus enabling them to have a supply of milk and meat (if this becomes necessary). However, the main purpose of supplying goats to the families is so that, in the future, they can sell on the goats and have some money to buy other necessities such as food and clothing.

Our main project since the New Year has been to send money for a water tank to be used for irrigation. This tank will hold about 5000 litres of water that will be pumped from the lake and will then allow the pump, which we have already supplied, to be moved to another area for irrigation thus doubling the capacity of irrigated ground for growing crops and vegetables. The people involved in growing the produce will then be able to sell this and hopefully that will be the beginning of self-sufficiency. It is difficult to get a project such as self-sufficiency off the ground as there is very little money available for anyone in the area to be able to afford to buy produce but this has to start somewhere.

With further regard to self-sufficiency, we have now sent £500 which is the first instalment to start a credit bank system which will be run by Winnie and her committee. This will work on the basis that an individual can be ‘loaned’ a sum of money to start up some sort of business eg bee keeping, setting up a stall to sell produce, or perhaps a fisherman may be given money to buy nets or a boat and after a period of time when he has become established and is selling his fish, he will be able to replace the money on a regular basis back into the fund which can then be used to assist someone else to start a business venture.

Once we have established the above is all in place and working, we will then look at our next project for which we will be fundraising later in the year.