News & Events

A letter from Joni

It started with a kisssss.  Do you know that song?  I had just finished the last coat of varnish on Freya’s toe rail, slapped her hull and given her a kiss good night.  Jumping down from the ladder I thought, this can’t be right?  I need more.  Driving back to the apartment warmed by the glory of that beautiful Turkish sunset I dwelled on that thought, and Bingo, it came.  Phone Maura and Dorian.   No no…can’t do that, I’ll email.  Mmmm email. That will give them a chance to back away? But… they didn’t squirm, as we all do when we’re at a loss as to what to say because we really really don’t want to hurt someone, instead they suggested that if I  really felt I had to ‘still’ this desire in me to help someone other than Bru the family, why didn’t I go to Bala?  And that…simply, is why I’m here!  Packing for Bala was hurried;  lipstick a must, ummmm face serum, yep another must, makeup of course, and a few clothes.  Oooo yes, buy things for the children, mustn’t forget the children.  Done.  OK that’s it.  Put on your pearls Joni and Go.  I met Maura at Heathrow, we nearly missed the flights needed to get here and all of a sudden my eyes bulged.  Here we were.  In Kenya!, bouncing down the long dusty African rocky road off the C19 towards the Bala Mercy Children’s Centre.  We, well Maura really, got a resounding Welcome, sung with full lungs and a mass of clapping hands and swaying hips.  I think I was more with the 3-4 year olds who looked a bit bewildered.  It definitely went both ways, I mentally assured them.  The children that had sponsors were delighted to receive their sponsor’s gifts and letters.  A quiet delight of children who obviously were not used to receiving anything ever – touching.  Maura left at the end of a week and I came to live in the Centre with Everyone. I wobbled.  If you want, you can jump on a motorbike taxi (no car taxi’s here)  and get yourself to the nearest airport 3 hours away, I told myself firmly, which stopped my chin quivering.  But I’m lazy so stayed the night.  And then the next 25 nights.  Being the only white girl in the village comes with a lot of gentle pinching, stroking of arms, hair texture testing, and high fives.  Everyday, most of the day.  We all wash in our buckets, ourselves and our clothes (which we drape on bushes to dry – our clothes not our bodies), we eat beans maize curly kale and little fish.  There is no champagne at all.  None.  No booze no fags – it’s no wonder I wobbled, but I don’t miss them at all.  Weirdly.  There is one tap at the centre which gasps out dirty looking water.   It concerned me at first, but it’s ok.  The school has 12 teachers and 170 pupils, give or take… both numbers.  All children from 5/6 up speak 3 languages.  I vainly thought I’d help with simple maths.  Forget it.  They’re already on complicated fractions.  I’m way out of my depth.  Up at 04:30, their day begins then.  Theirs does mine doesn’t!  Lights out in their dorms at 22:30.  The days’ start with prayer and enthusiastic gospel singing and ends with prayer and enthusiastic gospel singing.  The Centre’s faith is strong and true.   Each and every pupil has an unquenchable thirst, to Learn.  It must be every teacher’s dream school?  All these wonderful kids want is a chance to Learn all they can whilst they grow up here, which will take them onto a scholarship which will take them to university or college and ultimately their collective desire is to earn sufficient money to help their own communities.  The children refer to their communities as Tribes.  It’s all so selfless?  I thought we all went to school, either to be a damn nuisance like me, or to learn enough to get us to uni in order to qualify us in something that makes us big bucks to buy houses eat lots have lovely kids and drink champagne.  But it obviously isn’t.   What do I do all day?  Good question. I hoped you wouldn’t ask.  Mmmm let’s think.  OK, because it turns out that I’m not a very good teacher; my focus has become English reading.  As some children across the age range have just joined the school, their reading skills are inhibiting their progress in learning, and that’s where I have found my niche.  I take 1:1 reading with those children and IF I leave knowing that I have improved their chances of keeping up with their peers, I’ll be made up.  Chuffed to heck.  Job Done.  And, I want to teach the children Rounders!   Anyway I have another 30+ days to go before my already extended visa kicks me back home to my family and Freya, so if you’d  like, I’ll write again.

Cheers.  Joni.  Kiss kiss (O:

 

Bala Fête – Saturday 22nd August 2020

Dear all,

We are glad to announce that the Bala Fête is going ahead this year!

By the kind permission of Paul and Ana Gifford Nash, the Fête will be held at Barton Farm, Upper Siddington, GL7 6HH.

Please come and support if you’re able.

We look forward to seeing you!

 

A letter from Clinton O. Were – My Story

Dear Bishop Dominic,

I am greatly impressed to share the good tidings that have filled my life’s journey brought about by our beloved BMCC.

I can testify that I can’t imagine how my life would have been when BMCC would have not been there for me and all those that have passed through her. What BMCC has provided to me in terms of academic life, social life, and meeting day-to-day needs, is worth unestimated amounts of cash that I could have not afforded if I were to go it alone.

In my primary school education at Bala Mercy Primary School(2001-2008), BMCC gave us the best trained teachers and trainers who nurtured us in most of the life’s skills like sports, community supports, and more specifically, on knowledge-based education. The well-trained teachers had a great zeal to impart deeper knowledge in me, the kind of knowledge that could be afforded by only the rich in the expensive National Schools. I got this expensive knowledge freely because of BMCC. Acquiring this knowledge made different best county schools to allocate me a chance in each after scoring 370/500 marks, quality marks that could not be found in other local primary schools. Since my parents were still unable to pay the huge amounts of fees on these county schools, Downe House High School, through BMCC, gave me a chance to join Form One to start and continue with my secondary education (2009-2012). The quality of knowledge here was much amazing since we got best teachers and good resources like the practical laboratories that aided much in the provision of such quality knowledge as the one I could have gotten in those expensive county schools. This rejuvenated my energy to put more effort and to believe that I have everything to make me pass my exams after four years and proceed to the university. This dream was accomplished.

With the quality of education that BMCC offered me cheaply for the four years in Downe House, I was able to gain a better grade of 68/84 points that gave me a direct entry in to the public university under government partial sponsorship programme. This was a great achievement that helped me define my future in a hopeful journey. Just before I joined the university in 2013, my beloved dad passed away few months to me joining the university and this tragedy almost left me hopeless since I couldn’t see what next. BMCC had done her best to transform my life since childhood to when I finished my secondary education and passing my exams and I thought the family could pick it from there and unfortunately our hope was gone. But amazingly, BMCC was still very ready to come in to my rescue on few terms with the family and I successfully joined the university for four years (2013-2017) where I pursued Bsc. Information Technology (IT) and graduated. In March 2018 after graduation, BMCC still got me an internship programme with an international company in UK called Cohesion Digital( currently merged to Cohesion Boutique) which was owned by Alistair Macneil, one of BMCC friends, which ran for 14 months until May 2019. This programme made me emerge as a junior software engineer with different experiences on the software development, majorly on e-commerce.

From January 2020 upto date, I have been in a government sponsored intership programme that is running for one year, ending December as initially planned, in the Ministry of Health Headquarters, Afya House, where I am gaining different skills mostly on networking, networking troubleshooting, computer software troubleshooting, helpdesk services and other day-to-day IT challenges. After the internships I believe I will be in a better position to compete in the job market since I will be having relevant skills needed in the job market by different employers. On the other hand, I have the mind of sourcing income some day to start my own businesses like ecommerce store and/or software development company, IT hub, or any other IT-related businesses.

BMCC has really transformed my life sincerely.

I would have not been the way I am today if it were not for BMCC. From darkness and poverty I can now have hope of greater light and better tomorrow because BMCC has made me have a changed mind on approaching the future. I will not let this act of kindness to end with me but instead I will have to return back to BMCC some day when God would have made my dreams true, and I will also hold the hands of my little needy brothers and sisters who are still finding their way to a brighter future at BMCC. God Bless BMCC fraternity.

Yours Sincerely, Clinton O. Were

 

A letter from Molly Sharone Orinda – My Story

Dear All,

My name is Molly Sharone Orinda. I am 25 yrs old, and I am a beneficiary of the Bala Mercy Children Centre program(BMCC). I joined Bala Mercy for my primary education in 2004, and I was put in the program where I was supported with Tuition fees and food. BMCC catered for all my basic needs, giving me a chance to focus on my studies. Despite coming from abject poverty, I was able to dream big!

In addition to the provision offered at Bala Mercy, The administration ensured that we had highly competent teachers who inspired us to love the subjects from Mathematics to social studies. Our school always ranked first, and this motivated us to keep the hard work going.

By the time I graduated from Primary school, I had scored 373 points out of 500 in the Kenya National Certificate of Primary Education. This gave me a chance to join Asumbi Girls’ High School, which is a National School in Kenya. The spirit of hard work that was rooted in me did not die, and I continued to later finish high school with grade A of 81 points where I was the first girl in the whole of Homabay County!

Both my primary and high school success paved my path to later, join a prestigious university in Turkey (Middle East Technical University) where I was admitted on a full scholarship in 2014. I graduated in 2018 as an Electrical and Electronics Engineer with Honours. I decided to pursue a Master’s in Sustainable Energy systems, and I am currently researching renewable energy systems and energy harvesting for health monitoring systems.

I am very happy with the chance I was given in BMCC, which helped me build a strong foundation for success. I wish one day when I am stable, I can give back to this incredible fraternity.

My heart goes out to everyone who has invested in this great cause, and may they be blessed tenfold!

Sincerely,

Molly Sharone Orinda,

 

A letter from George Odhiambo Ojwang – My story.

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m George Odhiambo Ojwang an alumni of Bala Mercy.

I thank the Lord for you and our Director Rev. Bishop Domnic Ochoo for the far I have come.

Bala Mercy has been helpful & very key to my upbringing. In the late 90s early 2000 when I lost my parents, I lost hope on how the future may be for me and other siblings (3). This is the time we saw God’s hand through Bishop in early 2000 when BMCC was initiated to provide education to the needy in our community.

I remember when it started we could only carry a plate, a mug and a spoon, studies were done orally, more of play, good food & sleep.

The best meal was rice & beans.

As Bala Mercy graduated from one level to another things got better.

Free education, with qualified teachers & support staff. We thank God for your sponsorship, we got free quality education, free good meals, boarding facilities, clothing and through the church, good spiritual nourishment by the resident pastors who were posted in the Bala mission.

Being the pioneers of Bala Mercy, it was a nice moment being there till we did our standard 8 exams KCPE.(2000-2008)- Primary level.

Thank you.

After the primary education, I was worried on who could pay my secondary fees & again through Bishop, a secondary school was initiated, Downe House High School, for the four years, we got quality education  we got good grades to the university.(2009-2012)- Secondary level.

After the secondary level, the university level demanded more finances for the four years, this made a little delay in proceeding to this level & again through Bala Mercy after 2 years of delay I was able to proceed.

In September 2015, I got a chance to be admitted in  the university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Arts & Social Sciences (Ba Sociology, Criminology & Community Development). (September 2015- December 2019)

Graduated last year 6th Dec 2019 with a Second Class Honors Upper Division. Currently giving back to Bala Mercy as a teacher as I’m waiting on the Lord for a job.

Bala Mercy made me to forget I’m an orphan, I received quality education that others strived hard to get.

Thanks be to the Lord who planted us at your feet and that of Bishop Domnic Ochoo’s , you were our feet when  we were lame, eyes when we didn’t know the way to go, & have fed us this far.

We thank the Lord for you, your continued support has been key to our upbringing. You have educated & fed us, we’re glad. I pray that granted opportunity by God, I’ll be able to give back more to our sisters and brothers who are still there at Bala Mercy & the entire organization.

We love you, cherish you and in our prayers always.

Thank you for your support & God bless you.

Proverbs 19:17 says…He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

 

 

Ezra Omollo’s story

My name is Ezra Omollo. I’m 24 years old having graduated from the University of Nairobi on September 14th 2018. Coming from a severely disillusioned family with less than a dollar a day income and 9 other kids, I was taken into the Bala Mercy Children’s Centre with the help of Bishop Domnic and was sponsored by someone in the U.K. When I completed high school in 2012, I passed and earned an admission into the university. Juggling between assistance from Bishop Domnic, other friends and earning while I was on holidays, I managed to complete uni. (However, some of my friends who scored university grades but were not eligible for the government loan found it even harder to get into the next level of education-university- as they couldn’t raise a relatively higher amount required for the self-sponsored students). Getting to pass through the university has been a great blessing as I now hold in my hands a teaching certificate which will feed me and my family, friends and will help me create an impact in Africa and beyond. I have currently founded a soccer club through which I help the youth find purpose in their lives. From their eyes, as they look at me, I find how truly they are inspired by my story. They can’t believe that I have passed through university and this is a dream come true to me and to them!

 

My name is Ezra Omollo. I’m 24 years old having graduated from the University of Nairobi on September 14th 2018. Coming from a severely disillusioned family with less than a dollar a day income and 9 other kids, I was taken into the Bala Mercy Children’s Centre with the help of Bishop Domnic and was sponsored by someone in the U.K. When I completed high school in 2012, I passed and earned an admission into the university. Juggling between assistance from Bishop Domnic, other friends and earning while I was on holidays, I managed to complete uni. (However, some of my friends who scored university grades but were not eligible for the government loan found it even harder to get into the next level of education-university- as they couldn’t raise a relatively higher amount required for the self-sponsored students). Getting to pass through the university has been a great blessing as I now hold in my hands a teaching certificate which will feed me and my family, friends and will help me create an impact in Africa and beyond. I have currently founded a soccer club through which I help the youth find purpose in their lives. From their eyes, as they look at me, I find how truly they are inspired by my story. They can’t believe that I have passed through university and this is a dream come true to me and to them!