Hoisting Spirits

On Sunday, 29th March, 2009 we made our way to Ayany in Kibera where we were set to meet the Kenya Youth AIDS Ambassadors group made up of youth living positively with HIV and AIDS.

We turned in, off a tarmac road, to a steep, narrow maram road, which led us downhill passed shacks and stalls on either side of the road. Men, women and children looked on as the big SDV Transami and Kenya Bureau of Standards staff buses cautiously made their way down. The sides of the narrow road had trenches and as if that was not enough, men and women sold their wares on the road while children ran all over the place. There was a deafening silence on our bus. Once in a while someone let out a nervous laugh but that did not quail the anxiety.

No one could hide their relief and joy when we finally got to our destination. We unloaded our gifts and made our way to the shelter where the group waited for us. We delivered enough food stuff to ensure that each member of the group received a month’s supply of maize meal, beans, cooking oil and sugar.

Some of the children performed some poems for us. Their performance was humorous but at the same time thought provoking as they talked about not bowing to peer pressure and lies from people who want to take advantage of us. After this, the leaders spoke briefly to share with us what exactly their support group was all about; providing a pillar and encouragement for people living with HIV and AIDS. Listening to these people you had to admire the structures that they had put in place.

It was soon time to leave but we knew that this was one initiative we wanted to be a part of in future. The positivity of these people left us elated. Though we went there to encourage them, we left uplifted and thankful for the good people of Kenya Youth AIDS Ambassadors group for their great work and the hope that they radiate to the communities around them.

Our next stop was the National Spinal Injury Hospital which is Kenya’s specialised centre for treatment and rehabilitation of citizens with spinal cord injuries and resultant disabilities.

We organised a cleanup of the wards and administration block, and cleaned the grounds using equipment and detergents bought using funds donated by Bamburi Cement Limited and SDV Transami. We also donated a week’s supply of non- pharmaceuticals to the hospital.

This is not the first time that the Bamburi Rugby Super Series and its sponsors have visited the National Spinal Injury Hospital, in fact, we have been doing it for several years now but each time one can’t help but empathise with the patients there. Spinal injuries, we have learnt, most times happen within a fraction of a second. One minute you can walk and feed yourself, the next minute you cannot. It is a lot to take in for patients and their families. There are a lot of changes to come to terms with and we could only admire the patients and staff for their faith and hard work.

By the time we were done at the National Spinal Injury Hospital, we were all physically and emotionally exhausted. We were thankful for the experiences and time shared at the hospital.

The Bamburi Rugby Super Series 2009 thanks Bamburi Cement Limited, SDV Transami and Kenya Bureau of Standards for their immense support in making the tournament’s 2009 Corporate Social Responsibility initiative a success.