NAIROBI LODGE - THEOSOPHICAL ORDER OF SERVICE Report – 2007
The Theosophical Order of service is the service arm of the Theosophical Society. It was founded by Dr. Annie Besant, the second International President, in February 1908. So, as you can see, the T.O.S. is in its hundredth year of existence. The year beginning February 2007 to February 2008 has officially been designated as the Centenary Year of the T.O.S.
In Nairobi, the T.O.S. has been operating for almost 50 years. Several people have been involved in this charitable work. However, mention must be made of the Late Mr. Rattanjibhai H. Patel who was our first T.O.S. Director. He worked dedicatedly for many years to alleviate the suffering of the needy in various fields. He was a very kind and generous person and personally gave alternative medicines to the sick. Another person who brought dynamism and fresh ideas to our work was the Late Mrs. Mavis Earnshaw. We remember both these great souls for their very big hearts and dedication.
As part of our T.O.S. Centenary celebrations, this year the Nairobi Lodge organized a truly amazing and eye-opening seminar on “Service for Sustainable Economy”. This was beautifully conducted by three young ladies: Dilshad Murji, Heena A. Shah and Naomi. The central idea was that if you give a needy person fish to eat today, tomorrow also he will require fish to eat. Instead, if you teach him how to fish he will be able to fend for himself and you can help other people to be self sufficient. So this year, we have paid special emphasis on self reliability and education. Last week, our Chairlady also gave a detailed talk on “Concept of Service”, whereby several motives and avenues for service were discussed.
The year long Centenary celebrations of the T.O.S. kicked off on 17th November 2007 which is incidentally the Foundation Day of the International Theosophical Society. Following donations were made on this day. Our assistance was divided into 3 categories.
1st – VEGETABLE KINGDOM.
Some of you may remember that in the years 2005 and 2006, we made a substantial contribution to the Aberdare Forest Electric Wire fencing project. As you are all aware, the forest cover had been greatly depleted at the Aberdare forest due to the massive cutting down of trees. This was checked and stopped by the construction of an electric fence all round the perimeter of the Aberdare forest. Once the fencing work was almost complete, several groups like
• Aberdare Conservation Action Group
• Friends of Environment
• Giants Group of Lotus and
• Kenya Environment Forest Research Institute
swung into action and started a mammoth tree planting exercise.
The cost of planting each tree is K.Sh. 100/= (Kenya Shillings One Hundred only) which includes the tree sapling, digging the hole, watering twice or thrice a year and de -weeding four times a year until the roots are firmly secured on the ground.
Last year we helped plant 170 trees. We are pleased to report that the survival rate has been 98% which is truly excellent. These excellent results have been mainly due to good rainfall in the areas. This shows that the massive tree planting exercise is already showing results and the rains are back!! This is no mean achievement. Aberdare Forest is the major rain catchment area for Kenya and the groups involved in this tree planting exercise have been successful in reversing the damage caused by years of neglect and deforestation.
Mrs. Priti Himanshu Shah of the ‘Aberdare Conservation Action Group’ received a cheque for K.Sh. 25,000/=. Next year, we intend to divert our attention to the Ngong Forest which has also been a victim of Man’s insensitiveness and the massive destruction of the forest.
It is said that the trees thanked one and all from the bottom of their trunks for such wonderful care.
2nd – ANIMAL KINGDOM
We like “Happy Ever After” stories. One such story concerns a little bitch that lived in Limuru. She is just the average little brown local breed dog. One day she was trotting through a shamba and got caught in a snare. A man came over and poured paraffin over her and set her alight. She managed to escape from the snare and ran off screaming and, rolling in a puddle, put out the flames. A good Samaritan phoned KSPCA and an Inspector rushed off and collected her. She had quite nasty burns and was obviously in pain but when we looked at her she wagged her tail and licked our hands. The vet shook his head and said “Lets give her some time but I don’t have much hope”. She was cleaned up and made comfortable. Within a day she was eating well and after one week was following the vet around wagging her tail. One of our members saw her at the clinic and will give her a home when she is better. In the meantime she is staying free of charge with the vet as her wounds heat. She is a brave little dog and deserves a second chance. We never cease to marvel at a dog’s capacity to forgive the cruelties the human race inflicts on them. We have a lot to lean from them. Unfortunately the man who set her alight ran away and has not been caught.
(a) K.S.P.C.A. Animals, who are our younger brethren, need our Love, Care and Protection. Mrs. Jean Gilllchrist, Dr. Inge, and their dedicated team are doing a sterling job at the K.S.P.C.A. (Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals). They truly pour their hearts out to love and care these animals in spite of difficult and trying times. A cheque for K.Sh. 45,000/= was presented to Dr. Inge, the Chairlady of the K.S.P.C.A.
For those of you, who are not aware what fun it is to have pets, visit the K.S.P.C.A. sometimes or visit the annual Shaggy Dog Show. When you visit the K.S.P.C.A. you will notice a plaque on one of the kennels that says “Donated by the Theosophical Order of Service”.
(b) David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. is world famous for its work of raising orphaned baby elephants and baby rhinos. Mrs. Daphne Sheldrick has done amazing research and experimental work of raising these majestic babies and her success rate is highly acclaimed. She has received numerous awards from all over the world including an MBE recently for her sterling work. We made a donation of K.Sh. 20,000/= to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
3rd – Human Kingdom
In the human kingdom our donations were divided in three sections.
(a) EDUCATION. Assistance was given for School fees/upkeep for the following students.
(i) Christopher Mago, is 2nd born in a family of 2. His father passed away in 2002 while his mother passed away in 2005. His mother, who was a street beggar, used to beg with him in Nairobi’s Westlands area, and he was fed from the dustbin. It was at this point that a Catholic priest came across him and he was admitted to Bosco Boys for further assistance. He is currently a standard five pupil at Bosco Boys. He is a bright, hardworking and a well behaved boy.
(ii) David Njenga, also a second born in a family of 2, is an orphan child. Both his parents died from HIV related disease. He was left under the custody of his aunts who were deeply in chang’aa (local brew) drinking, and their aunt, who was trying to assist him was also struggling to take care of her own family. Soon David was abandoned by the aunts and he was living by himself. He stopped schooling and was left to the streets of Nairobi. It is at this point that he came across a Good Samaritan who took him to the Bosco Boys on 25th March 2003, for care and protection. David is a standard seven pupil at Bosco Boys Primary School. He is an outstanding pupil.
(iii) Bosco Boys is a project for children in need and they cater mostly for former street children of Nairobi. To-day, under the able directorship of Father Sebastian, over 400 children are receiving primary and secondary education. A cheque for K.Sh. 28,000/= was presented to Father Sebastian for the upkeep of Christopher Mago and David Njenga for one year.
(iv) Rachael Wangoi and Emily Akinyi Ochieng are both orphans. After their very basic education both of them started a course in tailoring. This would help them to be on their feet once they live ‘Bosco Boys Town’ institution.
(v) Don Bosco Boys Town is a project to prepare children to face the outside world. After their basic education, children receive technical knowledge and training. A cheque for K.Sh. 28,000/= was presented to Father Babu Augustine for the upkeep of Rachael Wangoi and Emily Akinyi Ochieng for one year.
(vi) Daniel Mativo Nzuki, is a Form three student at the Parklands Secondary School. A bright boy, he has been unable to pay school fees due to lack of financial support from the family. Daniel was presented with a set of books by the Nairobi Lodge.
(vii) Robert Ebei, is also a Form three student at the same school. He scores A’s in English, Mathematics and Chemistry. Robert is a brilliant boy and a future chemist. However, raising school fees is a major obstacle for him. He was presented with a set of books by the Nairobi Lodge.
We are confident that both these students will perform well in the K.C.S.E. Form four examinations next year. Our best wishes are with them.
(viii) Nairobi Lodge presented a cheque for K.Sh. 25,000/= to Mr. David Ngugi, the Headmaster of Parklands Secondary School, being partial sponsorship for these two brilliant boys.
(ix) For the last more than twenty years, Nairobi Lodge has been sponsoring 5 students every year at the Starehe Boys’ Centre. This year we sponsored Brenan Maloba (Form 4), Allan Omondi Ochieng (Form 3), Prewtry Claude Were (Form 3), Emmanuel Bwakali Atoko (Form 1) and James Mburu Ngugi (Form 1) who are all under the care of the Starehe Boys’ Centre.
The Starehe Boys’ Centre, founded by the Late Geoffrey Griffiths, is known throughout the country and internationally as an institution of excellence. The discipline, courtesy and mannerism of all the students speak volumes for the high morals and values imparted at this school. A cheque for K.Sh. 10,000/= was presented to Prof. Mugambi, the Director of the Centre.
Margaret Akoth Odhiambo, a 49 years old lady is unable to walk because of a fractured hip. The fractured area is decomposing and she needs an urgent hip replacement. The cost of the operation to be done at the P.C.E.A. Kikuyu Orthopaedic Hospital, which is some 15 miles from Nairobi, is K.Sh. 130,000/=.
Nairobi Lodge presented a cheque for K.Sh. 10,000/= to Susan, Margaret’s daughter, and wished and prayed that Margaret would have a successful hip replacement enabling her to walk again.
© SOCIAL & WELFARE
The need for all forms of assistance to the orphaned, the street children, the aged, the abandoned and generally poor and needy is endless in Kenya. The extreme level of poverty and mismanagement is evident everywhere. The requirements are gigantic and the resources are limited.
In such circumstances, there are hundreds of homes, institutions, agencies and organizations that work to lessen the suffering and misery. Unfortunately, not all such homes or institutions are clean and fully transparent. It becomes extremely difficult, especially when we ourselves have limited resources, to decide, whom to donate what.
(i) However, there are some homes that we have been involved with for years. One of them is the ‘New Life Home’ which caters for abandoned and AIDS infants. They also have two other feeding programmes. Nairobi Lodge presented a cheque for K.Sh. 10,000/= to Ms. Juliet representing the Beckenham couple of the ‘New Life Home’.
(ii) Prisons. We are all aware of the state and conditions of the prisons in the country. Last year, we gave K.Sh. 25,000/= for 25 bags of cement to be used at Machakos Prison. This year we gave 75 blankets to be used for the prison to be decided by the Vice President’s office.
(iii) Imani Rehabilitation Agency is a charitable organization working with children in need of special care and protection in five main categories:
1. Children from the streets.
2. Abandoned children.
4. Children of imprisoned parents.
5. Children whose custody has become void for one reason or another.
Imani Home is located at Kayole, Soweto slums and has five sections on the outskirts of Nairobi. They cater for children from one day old to 18 years of age. Their vision is to contribute to a Society where all children will have a dignified existence.
A visit to Imani Home shows how dedicated they are to their cause. They take in children with all sorts of difficulties and what they do for these children is simply miraculous.
They have 2 children whose case history is painful to listen to. Suffice to say that Wambui came when she didn’t have any genitals and instead her bladder was outside. In our local hospital the ECTOPIC bladder was closed, but it was not possible to have a reconstruction done. Much later and with a lot of effort by the dedicated staff at Imani Home, a hospital in Italy offered to do the reconstruction. Obviously such an exercise needed a lot of financial support. Imani Home worked hard and got the operation done. Thanks to the kind hearts of so many wonderful donors.
About a month ago, when we visited Imani Home, we were lucky to see Wambui with one of those rare smiles.
There was a boy who could not walk. He was in and out of all hospitals and it seemed he would have to spend his life in bed. In came a reflexologist and with the support of and love of all other children at the Imani Home who massaged his legs regularly, the boy is now able to walk!
Nairobi Lodge had the pleasure of donating baby oil, baby powder, baby soap, nappy pads, weetabix, cerelac, milk powder, etc., to this very needy home.
Other charitable projects in the past have included assistance to the victims of fire, flood, drought, earthquake, and also donations to “Help a Sick Child”, “Society for the Aged”, “Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund”, blood donation drives, and several needy Homes for the Aged, Abandoned, the Orphaned, HIV infected, and Street Children’s Homes.
Our effort is just “a drop in the ocean”, but nevertheless we “keep on carrying on” and hope things will improve, one day!