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Report Date: December 12, 2019

Report from BHW Kenya Partnership Facilitator Following Visit

Key person: Grace Abanga

In October 2018 I met Grace and her husband Gabriel where they live in Kamulu on the road from Nairobi to Tala. This year I had the privilege of meeting Grace in Nyamasore. Nyamasore is a rural village on the shores of Lake Victoria. It is where Gabriel is from and where the project is based.

good transportAfter changing a flat tyre, we left Kisumu at about 8:30am and headed north and then east to Nyamasore. Grace’s son Polycap met us at a junction and directed us to their home in Nyamasore. 

From Grace’s home, we drove down a dirt road to a school where we left the car and continued on foot. Meeting a couple of young men with motorcycles, we got on the back of their motorcycles and they took us to Polycap’s farm.


Recent Events

transformed livesFarming

Grace is working with two groups of farmers. Each group consists of about 10 farmers. Both men and women are involved with different roles farming, harvesting and selling the produce. 

The farmers in the first group have each hired a plot of land on the shores of the lake. They joined us and we walked from one farm to the next observing how they were getting on. They have had a few challenges with too much rain or not enough, disease, hippos eating their crops and low prices in the markets. On the whole, the farms looked healthy. Grace explained that there is healthy competition between the farmers.

changed lifeWe enjoyed a soda with some of the men and women from the first group and then headed to the other side where the second group of farmers are based. After following a narrow and windy dirt road we parked the car and walked a short distance to where the farms are located. These farmers were harvesting tomatos and we watched as they were picked, sorted and then transported the tomatoes on the back of a motorbike. They were also growing kale and capsicum. One plot had already been harvested and prepared for new crops to be planted (which they will do shortly). I was impressed by their organisation and team work.

Both groups pump water from the lake. BHW has funded two pumps which they share.

The farmers in both groups were motivated and, despite challenges, doing very well. They have a great community. It was obvious that they supported each other and worked well together. This was encouraging to see. 


Women's Water Project (KEN12a)

improving livesSome of the people in the community need to walk long distances to the shores of the lake to collect water. This is very difficult for the elderly women. BHW has provided some funds to install two water tanks at Grace’s home which collect water from its roof.

We met four of the elderly women who are the beneficiaries of this project.

The roof of Grace’s house is not high so the tanks had to be half buried underneath the ground (so the water flows from the roof into the tanks). The problem with this is that they cannot get the water out of the tanks without a pump. Grace intends to get a pump and another tank so that water can be pumped out of the main tanks to a smaller tank from which the elderly women can get water.


giving hope

Partnership's Influence within the Community

The work that Grace has been doing is transforming the community. Previously the women were making an illicit brew (called “Chang’aa”). They put horrible things into the mixture – sometimes including battery acid and other chemicals, and were always on the run from the government so they didn’t get caught from making this brew. 

The men were idle. They would often be drinking and drunk. Any money they got they would drink away. This caused friction and distrust in their marriages and the children were stuck in between. The men have received small loans and used the funds to purchase what they needed to start growing vegetables (mainly tomatoes). Some are now wanting to diversify into kale and other local vegetables.

Their lives have been transformed. The men are now up early, have a quick breakfast and then head out to their crops. They are working hard and no longer idle. They have stopped drinking and making Chang’aa.

lots of tomatoesThe people are also hearing about God – this is another way of reaching the people for the glory of God. Grace is arranging for a group from her church to come to Nyamasore to share the gospel with the people.

The people are so excited and empowered by the money they are earning from their own efforts. They were living in houses without proper roofs which would leak but most of them now have proper roofs.


Plans for the Future

BHW committed to paying $5,000/year for three years starting in 2017 so the final payment has been made.

I asked Polycap and Grace (see photo below) what they thought would be helpful for their community. They mentioned two things. Firstly, a greenhouse would enable them to control the weather conditions and keep the hippos out. They would put the greenhouse near the shores of Lake Victoria (where the land they farm is) so that they can pump water from passion for communitythe lake to use as irrigation. Secondly, a machine which processes the tomatoes that cannot be sold into tomato paste (which they can then sell). When we were walking around the farms we did notice that there was a lot of wastage, partly because the market for tomatoes is not very good at the moment. I like the idea of reducing that wastage and creating another product that can be sold. They will do some more research on the greenhouse and tomato paste machine and send through a proposal for our consideration.

There may also be an opportunity for BHW to fund a pump and small tank so the elderly women can get water, as I have mentioned above.