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My Experience in Lodwar

INTRODUCTION

It has been tough to experience a stay in Kenya generally and Lodwar particularly. I come from different background and have to adapt to a situation where I have never been before. I struggled to go on well with the people at the beginning but due to patience and persistence, I manage to understand the people very well.

Turkana (Lodwar) is one of the counties out of 42 counties in Kenya. It has been growing rapidly in terms of economic, social, and culture. Most importantly the education activities have helped the entire Turkana (Lodwar) to become the most and fast-growing town in the next ten years to come.

I came to Lodwar in October 2009 and served in two places, Nadirkonyen center and Anna Nanjala center as part of the orientation period. At the beginning of 2010, I attended a comprehensive English course in Nairobi (Capital city of Kenya) for three months. Upon the completion of my course, I was appointed to serve in Nadirkonyen center mostly known as Street and exploited children project. I spent one and a half years in this project and letter was transferred to Anna Nanjala Education Centre where I still and currently serve as my workstation to date.

NADIRKONYEN STREET CHILDREN PROJECT

As explained above, I spent one and a half year in Nadirkonyen that was May 2010 to December 2011. I closely worked with Brother Hans and Alex and local staff to change the life of the most vulnerable children in Lodwar. My role in this project varies and I was very flexible to give my time and myself if need be. My works can be explained below:

  • Librarian:I supervise children who get access to the library and taking care of materials in the library.
  • Staff of the education department:I supervise children during class work and help children in remedial room teaching. Apart from that I also assist in sports activities such as organizing football, volleyball, and basketball competition.
  • Guitar tutor:I also teach children who are interested in playing the guitar.
  • Mobility officer:I help in the transport section when it is needed, I do collect and drop children and the boxes during closing and opening of the school and help in administration movement from the office.
  • Storekeeper:I also take care of the store and keep good records for outgoing and incoming goods in the store.

ANNA NANJALA EDUCATION CENTER

This is my second workstation after Nadirkonyen center. I was transferred to Anna Nanjala Center due to the departing of Brother Tommy (the previous manager) back to Indonesia. I was left with the task to continue carrying out the activities that Anna Nanjala Center had been providing to the teachers and students in Lodwar and Turkana at large.

I was fully in charge of the place as from the middle of 2012, and as a young and energetic brother, I had hope and full of ideas on creating more and dynamic activities in the education field as the main objective of establishing the Anna Nanjala Centre. However, since then Anna Nanjala Centre has been experienced financial constraints due to lack of funding from well-wishers in Ireland.  This affected our activities and we had to reduce and eliminated some of the activities like; teachers training, movie show, and game activities in schools. Currently, Anna Nanjala remain as a library for tertiary level, secondary, and primary students and apart from that we also sometimes conduct a symposium activity as well as indoors game at the center which does not require a lot of expenses.

Since 2012, the Management also has been trying to write a proposal to support the Anna Nanjala Centre and all is in vain which made me as manager to look other ways in order to continue supporting the education activities in Anna Nanjala Centre.

D.O.L CAFETERIA

The project was established in 2014 with the aims of supporting the educational activities and diocese of Lodwar as a whole. It serves as an income generating activity to Anna Nanjala Centre and meets one of the five pillars of the synods of Diocese of Lodwar and that is SELF-RELIANT. The project offers:

  • Provide food and soft drink on daily basis to Diocesan staff as well as outside customers
  • Provide conference packages (hall hire, meals, drinks and other equipment for workshops)
  • Provide outside catering
  • Provides WI-FI to customers and to the students in Anna Nanjala who want to carry out their research or assignment
  • Provide a space to a group of students who come from nearby college for their discussion and at the same time order food or drinks from Cafeteria

My staff and I have been managing the Cafeteria since 2014 up to date and we manage to continue buying books for the library, paying the bills, and sometimes conduct game activities between students in the center from the profit that we generate from D.O.L Cafeteria. In addition, the project also for the last three years can be able to support the Diocese not only Anna Nanjala Centre. The project is able to contribute for the family day (fundraising day for the Diocese of Lodwar) which happens once in a year and projects in the diocese which do not have fund.

Bishop and the top management really appreciate what we have been doing in the cafeteria which can be able to support back Anna Nanjala Center and Diocese as a whole. This could be the reasons that the top management requests me to run additional two projects that are D.O.L Eliye spring and Lodwar fuel station.

D.O.L ELIYE SPRING CAMP

In 2017 Bishop and top management of Diocese of Lodwar requested me to manage the Eliye spring camp, situated along the lake of Turkana. This project is mainly for retreat of the staff and a recreational place for the staff of Diocese of Lodwar and outside customers. The place has been functioning very well despite challenges and it is also part of a Self-reliant project of Diocese of Lodwar. It can be able to support the Diocese and the community in terms of creating employment for the locals.

LODWAR FUEL STATION

In January 2018, Bishop and the top management also requested me to manage Lodwar fuel station. It provides fuel to the vehicles in the diocese, NGO’s and other customers. It was established in the late 1970’s and it has been providing very good quality of fuel up to date. The top management realized that for the last five years the Lodwar fuel station has been struggling to maximize the profit which means there were frauds from the existing management at that time. Therefore, I was appointed to manage in order to provide close supervision and build a system to minimize frauds in Lodwar fuel station. As I said, in the beginning, this project also serves as Self-reliant activity in the diocese at the same time helping diocesan vehicles move and spread the gospel in Turkana at large.

CONCLUSION

In general, I run four projects as explained. It requires persistence and a good attitude to run these four big projects. Anna Nanjala Centre is the only none profit making project which is supported by DOL Cafeteria. The three remaining projects (Cafeteria, Eliye Camp, and Lodwar fuel station) is a profit making projects. The diocese mainly relies on it to support 27 parishes in the diocese as well as to support the running course of the offices in the diocese that do not have funds from the donors. In addition to this, the profit can also be used by the diocese to invest more so that it can act as a backup in case the donors pull out their funds and at the sometimes creating employments for the locals in Lodwar and Turkana at large.

Personally, I would like to say that it is a good challenge to manage four projects at the sometime. I really build my personality and attitude and get more experience in management. I would also say that perhaps, my management skills and knowledge that I gain from Mount Kenya University is the main key to the success of these projects. I believe that there are more ways to educate young people or community not only teaching in schools. D.O.L Cafeteria is situated in Anna Nanjala compound where we daily welcome youth from nearby village and to me the youth learn a lot on how to manage business and be a hard-working person which may help them in their future life.

Therefore, this can be related to our constitutions chapter eight; “From the church the congregation accepts the task to care for young people on their way of life. If conditions demand so, we will be ready, in the service of our fellow men to take on other assignments as well”. In addition, our mission as BHK brothers is to educate and enlighten young people as well as the community at large. According to my personal reflections the three profit making projects acts as a lesson to the local people how to run the business and teach them about management in various field like how to manage their money in the family, how they manage their own small businesses for additional source of income, and enlighten them to know the culture of hard working.

Brother M. Donatus, BHK

(The writer is a missionary, lives in BHK Brothers, Lodwar, Kenya-Africa)

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