MISSIONARY IN KENYA
St. Michael Foundation’s venture in Kenya started just over 7 years ago with an unexpected visit from Fr. George Grima (founder of Moviment Missjunarju Gesu fil-Proxxmu).
He had come to the school when it was still situated in Pembroke, in an attempt to find a way to make both teachers and pupils aware of the hardship and the poverty in Kenya, Ethiopia and Brazil. I can remember the shocking photos he had shown us then; realities that nobody would have told us we were going to confirm later in ourselves.
Mr. Carabot and I thought it too little to help Fr. George just by giving him a donation, albeit a substantial one. It was at this point that we thought that what Fr. George had proposed could be turned into an opportunity to really help these poor children. We thought we could use the three schools as a missionary project aimed at helping the destitute and abandoned children in Kenya.
Fr. George promised us his backing and this was the beginning of a long and fruitful, though arduous journey. That same year, we were offered a project which involved the refurbishing of an orphanage run by Benedictine nuns in Kakamega, a large town in the north west of Kenya. We then decided to go there ourselves to deliver the money we had collected and to follow the works ourselves rather then sending it to people we had never met.
So, in August 2006 we went to this massive land filled with both beauty and poverty. We were given an impressive welcome by both children and nuns. Having two muzungu (white people) living with them was absolutely unheard of! The state of the place we were in, as well as the orphanage, was extremely impressive: very little food with absolutely no nutritional value, practically no hygiene, children sleeping on empty cardboard boxes etc…
I remember that year our students in Malta, together with some benefactors had done their very best to help us raise a big sum of money. However, an even bigger project was yet to come. A year later we collected enough funds to help Fr. George build a boundary wall around a hospital for orphan children living with AIDS and while we were there overseeing the building of the wall, we discussed the possibility of a new school for out little orphan friends. The nuns had already started something with the help of an Italian benefactor but for some reason the works that had been constructed a couple of years back were left to fall apart. We knew that to collect so much money was going to be a big headache, but seeing the good will of our students and benefactors we decided to go for it and build the school ourselves.
What we were aiming at is, quite frankly, not just funds to give a school to people who have no education, but it has always been our keen interest to make our children, who have it all, feel responsible for others who have absolutely nothing in life. It is of utmost importance that our children grow with an awareness that the world is much larger than the things that surround them. In other words, it is not only the much needed money that is a priority here but a keen educational aspect that makes our children attentive to other people’s needs.