So, day 5 - wait, is it day 5? It’s not unusual to lose track of the days when you are kept so busy from one day to the next!
Day 5 was supposed to be me, Andrew and Naggib (the Field Team) going to Mageta Island to review the services and see how they have spent the money we have given them and Norma going to the office for another day going over the accounts. After discussing our days during yesterday evening's review session and some of the challenges that Norma was facing, at 05:30 I decided to change things a little. Andrew and Naggib would still go into the field but I would join Norma.
It is a fact of life that different cultures manage their finances differently. It is also a fact of life that accounting rules are the same the world over. Marrying these two statements makes for an interesting life when you are a Finance Manager and no one should underestimate the complexities of this role. That said; a charity’s reputation is built not just on the services it delivers but the ability to manage the books and so it is always best to tackle problems such as differences of opinions head on rather than try to ignore them. So that is what we have had to focus on today.
The Field Team going to Mageta had a long but fruitful day. They first stopped at our new Youth Centre in Bhondo. Now that this facility is finished the activities have begun. This is a place where the team can reach out to the youth of this community and engage and discuss some of the challenges that they face. Telling youngsters that they must abstain from unprotected sex in order to avoid HIV just does not cut it. Not only will they not listen to you but they will not then come back to you if they contract HIV. The Mildmay Team know this and like many NGOs have had to learn lessons the hard way through trial and error.
The Team then took a small boat over to the island community of Mageta where they were able to view the newly refurbished health centre. Mageta Island is one of our success stories. If you look at the photos of this facility just three years ago you would not recognise it now. This was entirely funded by individual donations from our supporters. It is hard to find words to describe the difference but perhaps a comment from one of the nurses says it all, "it used to be seen as a punishment to be posted to Mageta, now it is a real joy".
After this visit, the team took time out to visit a local school where they had the opportunity to chat with the children and pass on a couple of footballs. They arrived back at the hotel at about 6.15, tired and hungry having not had a chance to eat during the busy day.
So whilst the day began with concerns it ended incredibly successfully and it was good to enjoy a meal together with Elizabeth, the Mildmay Country Director,
Walter, the Mildmay Kenya Chairman and
Revd. Kigali, one of the Trustees.
CEO, Mildmay Mission Hospital