Written by Sue Hilliard
I arrived at Double Joy on 30th January this year. Double Joy is home to 90 orphans from the local area, and situated south of Kisumu, on a peninsula of Lake Victoria, close to the Ugandan border. The main purpose of my visit was to celebrate my Mother’s 80th birthday with her, [the photograph below is of us], the children and staff.
When I arrived I was aware that there had been a fire in the children’s houses 15 days before my visit, caused accidentally by one of the children. This fire had caused significant damage, which meant that the children had had to sleep and eat in the main hall and classrooms, until the roof could be repaired and solar power restored to their houses.
When I arrived the roof had been repaired and solar power restored and the children were sleeping and eating in their own houses. This was good to see, but there were rooms which were black with no beds, as the wooden beds had burned and possessions had been destroyed. Thankfully no one was hurt in the fire or in the extinguishing of it, as there are no fire brigades. The Manager had been contacting local organisations for help, and a local Agricultural company had given money for some beds, clothes, shoes and food for the children. One of the old boys who is a priest gave money from his congregation.
In the 23 years Double Joy has been providing a home and education for these children nothing like this has happened, despite these events the children were cheerful and friendly. We celebrated my Mother’s birthday on 4th February, with short speeches, singing, dancing, a football and netball match against a local school. Double Joy won both matches. In the evening I gave my Mother some gifts brought from home, she declared that it was the best birthday she had ever had. This made me feel very happy that I had gone to Kenya to share it with her.
During the rest of my stay, I visited Kisumu and the local market, I attended a branch of the African Inland Church with one of the staff and some of the children. The children all drew a picture which I then put in an album for my Mother as another of her birthday presents. I gave this to her before I left for home.
If you would like to know more about Double Joy, please speak to me or visit the website at www.double-Joy.org.uk