Maua town is in the Nyambeni Hills, north east of Mount Kenya. A beautiful area of rolling country side rising to 2000ms making the climate like a nice English summer. Volcanic activity of years ago make it very fertile enabling 2 crops a year to be grown, providing the rain arrives on time. Global warming has allowed the Anopheles mosquitoes to breed resulting in malaria being a big problem which has only occurred in the last 20 years
Tea is grown on one side of the valley in neat well tended rows. It is processed locally and much of it is sold in fair trade outlets which has enabled the local growers to send their children to school and have good medical care.
”]Miraa is a drug grown on trees on the other side of the valley. It is a herbal stimulant which is said to suppress hunger. It acts like amphetamines and it is a dangerous combination when used with alcohol. Much violence results as disputes are settled with large knives called pangas which cause much work for the hospital.
Maua is a town of over 80,000 people and has almost doubled in length along the valley in the 10 years we have known it. The population has increased considerably over the same period. The hospital used to be the only structure with two storeys, now there are several buildings with five storeys. The town has at least 5 schools to cater for the large number of children in the town as it is not unusual for families to have more than 5 children. The last rainy season was good but the previous three have been very poor resulting in much malnutrition and even some deaths from starvation.
There are many “street children” in Kenya mainly orphans as a result of severe poverty or HIV/AIDs. Through a partnership of the Kenyan Methodist church, the hospital, local community and overseas money many houses have been built for them so they can live with their grand parents or other relations. This system has been very effective in reducing destitute children in Maua.