Written by Lox:
For the past couple of months the world has had a big pandemic surprise, COVID-19. Africa hasn’t been spared and with poor medical facilities, few medical resources and those that are there being unaffordable to many, many communities in Africa have either suffered directly or indirectly.
Love Your Neighbour works in a remote area of Kilifi (Bungu area)) in coastal Kenya, one area where Covid-19 has hit the most. Kilifi, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kwale came under lock down after cases of Corona were reported in those areas.
Kilifi depends on most of its business from outside the county. With lock down it has been hard for most people to travel for medical needs, trade or to visit family and this has caused mental, physical and social health and wellbeing effects.
WHO has advised ways which people can combat Covid-19:
1. Washing hands using soap and water
2. Using masks
3. Social distancing
4. Anyone showing symptoms to quickly report them to medical authorities
Bungu community has historically had a major water problem. Most people have to walk a distance in search of water, except for those who have a family well or the few who are able to buy water. Therefore even the simple action of washing hands has been a major problem in fighting this pandemic.
As an organisation we partnered with Sadiki Foundation to provide hand washing stations with clean water and soap in different places in the village. We placed most of these in more populated areas which are likely to be congested. At first they were a bit of a novelty and were attracting small crowds of keen hand washers which defeated the point! But now they are being used correctly and not only preventing Corona but also other sicknesses which are related to poor hand hygiene.
The government of Kenya has made it compulsory to wear masks out in the public or else incur a penalty. Most people can’t afford masks (and definitely can’t afford the fine) so some of the local women who have been training in tailoring at Kivuli Kijijini ventured into making over 500 masks for the community! These were a big blessing to all who received them and because they are made of fabric they can be washed and re-used.
Most people with disabilities are finding it hard during this time due to the social distance rule. Many people with disabilities depend on their family or friends to move them from one place to another as they cant afford mobility equipment.
In May a shipping container full of mobility equipment arrived at the Centre. Although most of the equipment will not be distributed until after this pandemic, over the last month Love Your Neighbour has been able to give resources to some of the most needy in the surrounding community. One recipient had been trying to raise funds for a wheelchair for over 2 years but still didn’t have enough money to buy one and so it was very emotional for them to receive the equipment they needed to be a little more independent.
We are so grateful for the things which we’ve been able to do during this time and yet we’re aware that there’s a lot more help needed and that the effect of this pandemic are going to be felt for some time to come in needy areas such as Kilifi. We would value your prayers and financial support during this time as we seek to love our neighbours around Kivuli Kijijini as best as we can. For more info on how you can help, please see our how to help page.
As for now, stay safe and be blessed