is Kimilili ?
Kimilili is a small market town in Western Province, Kenya in
the highlands around Mount Elgon close to the Ugandan border.
The town itself has a population of slightly over 10,000 although
some 67,000 people live on tiny farms and small-holdings within
5 km of the town centre. Most of the population are subsistence
farmers – they grow enough to eat but have little by way
of cash crops. There are normally two rainy seasons a year and
starvation is not a problem but the majority are very poor.
In common with most of sub-Saharan Africa there is a major problem
with HIV+ and AIDS and deaths are frequent. Many children are
orphaned at a young age and live with foster parents, grandparents
or distant relatives. It is not unusual to speak to an adult
and for them to say that they have, say, five or six children
of their own but that they are caring for a total of, say, twelve
or thirteen. This places enormous burdens on families that are
already close to the poverty line.
Many schools in the area were founded by a church or missionary
group but over time the contact with this original group may
have become tenuous. However sometimes the contact is still
maintained and the original founding group or church does still
offer support to a school in the form of pastoral care or by
making proposals for membership of a board of governors or similar
body. Teachers are government employees and are liable to be
transferred sometimes at short notice, and without regard to
the religious affiliation of the sponsoring body.