Jiggers Campaign 2018 – Judavee Youth Project

What is a jigger? It is a sand flea ( aka Tunga penetrans) whose original home was South America but which has become established in East Africa as a major pest.  T. penetrans is the world’s smallest know flea, at about 1mm in length but despite its small size  can it causes one heck of a lot of trouble.

The female sand flea lives in the soil and when mature burrows into the skin (most commonly between the toes) of its human host where it lays eggs and causes intense itching. The burrow site often becomes secondarily infected leading to severe complications of ulcers, tissue loss and gangrene.  The worst case scenario is septicemia (blood poisoning)  and even death.

Jigger infestation, once established in the home, affects the whole family.  The root cause is poverty and unsanitary living conditions. Families who have jiggers often have dirt floors which allow the parasites to lay eggs and multiply.  Treating the jiggers with lotions or solutions that kill the fleas works temporarily.  However, the next rainy season the eggs in the floor will hatch and start the cycle again.

The Judavee Youth in Esabalu took this on as their project for last year (2018).  All the Judavee members received training in how to identify jigger infections and in the proper treatment of the infestations.   They formed into 2-3 person “jigger squads” and visited the homes of poor families who were known to suffer from jiggers.  All the affected individuals were treated with antiseptic footbath solution (and re-treated if necessary) until the whole household was jigger free.  Then the floors and lower walls of the huts were sprayed with ovicide to prevent any eggs from hatching in the next jigger season.  The ovicide treatment and jigger inspection of the inhabitants was repeated for 3 cycles to ensure that the adult parasites would not come back.

In total, 179 families were treated at a cost of about $5 per home.  Thanks Judavee for your  time and effort to scratch one terrible  itch from the lives of everyone in Esabalu.  And thanks Amesbury for Africa contributors for providing the funds to get the job done.

Street Children of Esabalu – Combating Stigma

In the spirit of the Holidays, the Jidavee Youth Service Group in Esabalu hosted a “Jamhuri Day” event for the street children of Luanda, the small market town which is walking distance to Esabalu Village.  Jamhuri Day, December 12th is Kenya’s national Independence Day.  Jidavee youths from Esabalu were joined by UNICO, a service group of Maseno University students, in hosting the street children.  The theme was “We Live to Save You from the Street”.

Jacktone Ambole, the president of Jidavee Youth, writes of the event:

“The street children are out of their home because they have no parent or anybody who will take care of them. They are orphans and runaways who have often been mistreated by step-parents or relatives.  They have no homes, sleep outside and eat thrown away food from dustbins. Most of the time they are harassed and even beaten by police or other local people who believe them to be bad.”

Clothes distribution to street boys

The all-day event was designed for the street children to get to know other young people, reduce the stigma of being a homeless child and begin the process of re-integration into their community.  Participants received a home cooked meal, used clothing and blankets in good condition, and a chance to share their stories.  There was counseling on an individual level and in a group.  Other group activities included singing, dance and sports/competitions.

“We learned a lot from them!” says Jacktone.  “Most of them are good people and can be rehabilitated. They want to go to school.  Some of them never use drugs or alcohol.”

The next step in dealing with this problem is to learn more about problems of street children and the programs that are available to help.  Amesbury for Africa has connected Jacktone and the other Jidavee youths with Capstone Ministries in Kisumu.  Americans, Patty and Dan Schmelzer, have run this ministry for two decades with a goal of rehabilitating street boys to their families of origin.  The number of children reconciled and brought back from the street now stands at 492.  Jacktone and Samwel Ayula will be going to Kisumu on Jan 7th to talk with Capstone Operations Supervisor, Isaiah about how they can cooperate further to help the street children of Esabalu.  For more info on Capstone and its unique approach to rehabilitation of street children in Western Kenya please visit www.capstoneministries.org

African Story Books for Esabalu

Imagine that you are a six-year old child who has never been to school.  You are thrilled and excited and a bit scared to be starting first grade at last. 

Now imagine that when you arrive at your first-grade classroom you find that all the books at your school are in French and German!    There are no books in English which is the only language that you and your family speak at home. 

Impossible right?  Sounds like a bad dream.  Unfortunately, this is exactly the situation that faces every new learner at Esabalu’s Ebussamba Primary School and all the other primary schools in the Esabalu area!  At home, parents and siblings speak only Kinyore which is a dialect of the Luhyia language, the mother tongue of Esabalu village and surrounding areas.  All the schoolbooks are in English or Swahili (the 2 national languages of Kenya).

Now, thanks to a South African Publisher www.africanstorybook.org and the efforts of kids and teachers in Amesbury Middle School this situation may be remedied.  African Story Books can take text and illustrations in electronic manuscript form and produce durable books for early elementary students in the childrens’ mother tongue. 

Charlie Wright, a British teacher who works with the NGO Vibrant Villages to improve teacher training in Esabalu and surrounding villages, has been contacted by Amesbury for Africa and will be meeting this month with Dorcas Wepukhulu who represents African Story Books in Nairobi, Kenya to work out details of the project.

Charlie writes, “We actually have a fabulous young artist and storyteller, Maxwell, on our staff as one of our Education Field Officers who has been crying out for an artistic outlet and this kind of project would be perfect for him!”

As to funding, Librarian, Lori Byman and social studies teacher Kristen Bilodeau will be planning a fundraiser with students and staff at Amesbury Middle School this spring to raise seed money for the first Kinyore books!  Mungu akubariki (God willing).

Please vote for AFA to help us get Provident Bank funding

Prov_OCYEV-LOGOThe Provident Bank is proud to host its annual OUR COMMUNITY, YOUR E‐VOTE campaign with Amesbury for Africa as a potential beneficiary. But it won’t happen without your help. We need to receive a minimum of 100 votes to qualify.

Each year, The Provident Bank lets the community decide how to allocate the $20,000 set aside by The Provident Community Foundation for this program’s non-profit organizations. The Provident Community Foundation has donated more than $4 million to local charities since 1998 and it continues to provide funding for many noble causes.

How and when does the voting take place?

The voting process is entirely online and requires the person’s name and e‐mail address for each ballot entry. We have created a button which will be on the home page of our website (TheProvidentBank.com) that links to the “ballot”. Only one vote can be cast per e-mail address. The vote is open from April 1st through April 31st, 2015. Email addresses are for the purpose of voting only; The Provident Bank does not contact or retain any email addresses.

Thanks for your support!

PS – Please share this information with your friends; the clock is ticking.