Yet again, Kenya is faced with drought conditions. 3 years ago, Father Ken’s Vineyard helped secure and pay for the construction of water storage tanks, but now, after years of dry seasons, those tanks are empty. Below are pictures of the former gardens, usually planted with corn and other grains and vegetables, now fallow.
Water is being carried from mud holes further away than the St. Vincent de Paul compound. A picture shows women carrying these 5 gallon containers on their backs. Fr. Linus has some ability to purify the water, but many in the surrounding communities do not, and are forced to drink the mud and disease-tainted water.
Father Ken’s Vineyard still has access to the Uzima Water Filters which use two 5 gallon buckets to purify enough water for 2 families of 5 for 5 years. The Uzima kit is approximately $50 with the shipping to us in California. We are getting quotes on what it will cost to ship directly to Kenya.
There are two individual filtration systems which have a very high rating from Outdoor GearLab and eliminate protozoa, bacteria and cryptosporidium, the major players in Kenyan diseases: Sawyer Mini at $25, rated 9/10 in reliability from Outdoorgearlab.com and the Platypus Gravity Works, for a 2-person clean plastic bladder bag and draining/filter bag at $120 with a 9/10 rating from the same Outdoorgearlab.com review.
The crops around St. Vincent de Paul have withered and died, and very little of the surrounding water is potable. So Father Ken’s Vineyard sent $5,000 to Fr. Linus a few weeks ago to purchase food and water.
Fr. Linus wrote us in great appreciation: “God is good. I have not enough words to say thank you. I just knelt down and prayed for you all. Friends of the Vineyard God bless them all. It is such a hard time when it’s dry, dusty and many problems of lacking clean water. All crops dried after poor rain in November. You came at our time of need. Thank you. God bless you.”
Refugees from South Sudan continue to pour into Kenya and Uganda. In addition to the drought, Kenya is trying to feed tens of thousands of additional people fleeing civil war. Pope Francis has asked that February 23 be offered specifically for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan and invited both non-Catholics and non-Christians to join “in the ways they deem most appropriate.”
“Our heavenly Father always listens to his children who cry out to him in pain and anguish,” he said, and made a heartfelt appeal for each one of us to “hear this cry, and, each one according to their own conscience, before God, ask ourselves: ‘What can I do to make peace?’”
If you are looking for ways to help today or on February 23rd, you can make a donation via our website. Or, on Father Ken’s personal Facebook page, Kenneth H. Deasy, you can see his pleas and those of Fr. Linus for the people of Kenya and especially the children of St. Vincent de Paul school. If you donate via this page, it all comes to Father Ken’s Vineyard via “Network for Good,” which is Facebook’s vehicle to collect donations for nonprofits.
As always, Fr. Ken and the Vineyard Board gratefully appreciate your help. May God bless you all during the holy season of Lent.