Volunteers in Kenya!

The following is an article By Liz Darlington , who along with her daughter Emma, spent two special weeks volunteering in Kenya at The Dennis Marshall Foundation, Peacemakers International during Easter 2015. If you can cover the costs of your airfare and would like to volunteer with us, please contact Brenda for a chat. It’s an opportunity you won’t regret.

When a random conversation with Brenda`s daughter Kim, last year, leads to an offer from Brenda to visit The Peacemakers International charity project in Kenya it was too good an offer to turn down! At Christmas my daughter Emma, and I met Chrissie and straight away we knew that this trip was meant to be and we had already started planning our “projects” on the journey home!

So with weeks to go we got more and more excited in anticipation of what lay ahead…and we certainly weren`t disappointed! Firstly the welcome we received was truly amazing, Chrissie is just the perfect host, so generous and so caring and such a special person. The Kenyan people share her gratitude and warmth and we were greeted everywhere we went with smiles, waves and shouts of welcome! It was humbling to see just what is being achieved out here at The Dennis Marshall Foundation, supporting the local community providing jobs, support and fellowship to the young, old, disabled and needy.FuntimeThe buildings were in constant use and everyday there was somebody new to meet. Among the people we met were the HIV ladies who were so delighted with arrival of more balls of wool, the craft ladies who insisted we learnt how to make beaded bags, the Nursery team who are growing the most amazing plants , the cheerful cooking  team and of course all the lovely builders so busy working on the buildings, the internet café, the craft room and the restaurant and with these in the process of being finished even more exciting times lie ahead.New Friends

So then to our project, this was to support Chrissie as she introduces a reading programme to children from the local school. Forty six enthusiastic and very well behaved children came along to the centre over two days and twenty six of these we heard read as part of a reading assessment. During this time Emma also played drama games and encouraged the children to participate in a drama production of “Wangari`s Seeds of Peace “. We also hosted two Saturday training days whereupon we showed local teachers and older youth how to support young children in their early reading skills. This is an ongoing project and we hope to keep in touch with how it is progressing and maybe even return to Peacemakers one day to see its impact.ReadingOur stay certainly proved to be as exciting as we`d hoped it would. It`s an experience that we will always treasure and we feel truly blessed that we were able to witness such a special and inspiring place and meet such welcoming people in such a lovely country.

A huge thank you goes to all that we met but especially to wonderful Chrissie, Brenda and of course to Kim, for having that initial conversation with me!!

Please Click Here to view the gallery of great photos Liz & Emma took.

Easter Fundraising Thank you

Due to ill health the Peacemakers team are a little behind with admin. tasks but the show goes on! A very big thank you to the Staff and Parents of Ardeley Village School who got together at an Easter Egg Fundraiser and have made a fantastic donation of £291.95. You can see some of the egg cosies that were made and sold below. A special thanks to Sue Jones for organising and making the event such a success.

Easter Sale

Christmas Letter 2014

Pamoja Restaurantholly

hollyTo all at Christmas time and throughout 2015

“We bring you good tidings of great joy”

This has been a good year where money has been donated to start the construction of a restaurant project as photo’d above. We are about 2/3 of the way into its completion and it will house a clinic, a craft activity training room and a porridge mill under the makuti roof. This work has currently stopped as money has run out and while Christine comes home for a Christmas break.

Then came a different miracle – we had applied for French embassy funding and was successful. It will help us to develop existing structures to enhance lifelong and accessible learning opportunities. Full details in our next e-bulletin. We will be supported to restore and extend (more toilets) Kisimani house, which was damaged by fire in 2013. The building comprises; a study room, community library and reception room. In addition it will have an office and a Cybercafé.

We are so excited about this new development in our programme. As you know the communities in Kenya are already benefiting from our many existing facilities. These include training courses, education, employment and micro enterprise opportunities, all of which have been funded through your loyal and generous support over past years. Let’s thank God for his blessings and allowing us to be part of the answer to many people’s needs. 

Happy Christmas and a prosperous new year to you all.
holly  Brenda & the team holly

e-link bulletin No.5 Sept. 2014

Restaurant construction

Restaurant construction

Restaurant Construction is well under way with the completion of the foundations including the supporting retaining wall. The pillars, walls and ceiling have been cast and plastered plus the setting of bases for the wooden posts which have been soaked and treated prior to wrapping in tin sheet for protection. The Drainage and plumbing has begun. Chicken sheds have been made. In addition there has been work to excavate material for the tree nursery and banana plantation planned for the lower field with steps constructed for access.

Sammy & Chrissie at the Resource Centre

Sammy & Chrissie at the Resource Centre

Funding needs in many areas continues including for a sty to house the several pigs currently on site. Chrissie would prefer them not to be in with her!! In addition we need funding for the restaurant roof (£3000) and to complete the drainage.
Meanwhile, Brenda’s son in Australia is currently producing and selling ‘Home Brew’ (don’t tell Fosters!) to raise £1200 for a porridge mill. The porridge or Uji is a traditional drink made from grains and enjoyed by many at all stages of its fermentation. It can be bitter and the ultimate Kenyan smoothie. With a mill it can be mass produced and marketed to schools etc. or sold on site in the proposed café.
We already hire the facilities currently available but our aim is to complete these outstanding buildings and other works which will bring us closer to making the project self-supporting and to advertise it more widely.

A Funding Event by the UK team is planned for Saturday 25th October. This will be a ‘Race Night’ held at St Peter’s Church Hall, Broadwater Crescent, Stevenage, with a fish & chip supper included in the ticket price of £10. There will be a raffle and the opportunity to buy tickets for any of the eight horses in each of eight races with the takings divided up amongst the winners. Please bring your own drinks + glasses. A tick order slip can be printed from here. Please reply ASAP so we have an idea of the numbers for organisation and catering purposes. The funds raised will be used to kit out the kitchen in the restaurant.

Windsor Half Marathon

Windsor Half Marathon 2013

Another Sponsored Half Marathon Run by Jess Walker will take place on 28 September at Windsor to raise funds for a building to house the Porridge Mill machine. If you wish to support this please confirm to Brenda how much per mile (total 13 miles) or a one-off donation if the course is completed. Sponsor Forms are here!

College sponsorship for Moses has been provided by Matt, a post graduate from Australia who visited the site earlier this year. This will enable Moses to study for his first year on a Biomedical course which will enable him to make a difference in the health and well-being of his community.

Sponsor Disabled Children

Sponsor Disabled Children

Eight disabled students are currently being supported through their schooling by sponsors from the UK who have discovered their needs during visits to the Runyenjes area. They are either physically or mentally disabled and many are making good progress with some able to write touching thank you letters. There is great need for this kind of support but it can be a long term commitment and is not to be entered into lightly.

The Annual Report to Links International has recently been completed by the UK committee to confirm our funding to Kenya and our proposals for the future development of the site at Runyenjes. Links International acts as our partners and administers and processes the gift aid on funds raised. Details of the report are available on request.

News from the site! Chrissie is reporting great progress and a renewed enthusiasm on site and things are really beginning to run more smoothly after a number of problems last year. The Peacemakers Kenya Team is also fund raising at the Resource Centre on 18th October. The needs are great but the Centre is offering wonderful support and a definite community spirit is building. Abram, brother of Isaac who died in 2012, has become Chrissie’s right hand man and is a valuable asset around the site. He is organising a traditional ceremony to resolve his ‘dowry’ from his future wife’s family, which who knows might be anything from cash to cows!

** DON’T FORGET TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS FOR THE RACE NIGHT: Saturday 25th October at 7.00pm. Ticket Slips Can Be Printed From Here!

** THE RACE NIGHT ADVERTISING POSTER Peacemakers Race Night Poster

** DON’T FORGET TO SPONSOR THE NEXT HALF MARATHON – Please contact Brenda, Sponsor Forms can be printed from Here!


Please help us to fundraise:

Please help us to faise funds for Peacemakers work in Kenya by obtaining sponsors for Jess Walker, who’s going to complete another Sponsored half marathon run on Sunday28th September in Windsor. It’s looks like a fantastic venue for the event, see for yourselves by clicking here. Jess Walker is running for Peacemakers and will be wearing the t-shirt shown below, so that people will recognise him amongst the other competitors.

Jess for action t-shirt front 











A Sponsorship Form is available to download from here. Please try and help Jess raise as much money as possible for the Kenyan Porridge Mill Building Fund. A facility which will be open to use by the local cummunity in Runyenjes, Kenya, and one which will help the resource centre become self sustaining.

e-link bulletin No.4 April 2014

Patrick’s Funeral took place on 21st February and was attended by over 1200 people. In Kenya, everybody feels part of the family’s grieving and a great procession was formed to view the body via a glass panel in the coffin. It was placed on a bench in the prayer house within the Peacemakers site and Chrissie tells us that many ladies were overcome and were carried out weeping. Chrissie found the continuous singing very uplifting, confirming to her the passing of one who had gone to live with his Lord and Saviour.  The coffin was then carried to a field where there was a photo session with his wife Harriet and various groups followed by the valedictory speeches from colleagues, church and family members, the eulogy; which included reference to his love for peacemakers and finally Pastor Moses who preached and Bishop Salesio who spoke. There was African singing and dances and a time of prayer before the burial on family owned land. There were further hymns and a sermon at the grave before, and as tradition requires, the soil was placed over the coffin by the same youth who had dug the grave.  Wreaths were placed and those remaining fed with rice and stew before leaving. It had all taken 7 hours.

 Chrissie reported it had been an emotional day as the whole community and Peacemakers had lost a teacher, a preacher, a seeker of the lost, a helper of the addicted, an advocate and intermediary, a dear husband, a father, friend and brother in the Lord.

 A full account of the funeral and a “last memory”can be read below on previous posts.

Patrick’s Vision for Peacemakers was expressed to Chrissie only days before he died. He had a burning desire to help those who had missed out on life’s chances and to extend our current Bible Study classes and create a Bible School. Chrissie still half expects him to appear around a corner shouting, “Hodi! (Swahili for “is anyone home?”), is there a cup of chai (tea) there?”

Tributes: Thanks for all the tributes to Patrick from Peacemaker friends which have been collated and together with all the pictures we have will be presented to his wife Harriet and family.

 Jess-1Jess-2Sponsored Half-Marathon Run by Jess Walker has raised £322 for Peacemakers projects. 1500 took part and Jess completed the race in 2hrs 2min 56 sec. Congratulations to Jess who’s set himself a further challenge to beat 2hrs. at another half-marathon event at Windsor in September. He will be wearing a Peacemakers T shirt as before.    Watch this space……………..




Building Work.  A good start has been made on the foundations for the restaurant, bakery and clinic with £6000 approved by the committee for materials and labour costs for some of the continuation works. The materials include hard-core, ballast, sand, cement, bricks and timber which need to be on site before the heavy rains come.

If there are any fit and able people out there who would like to give of their holiday time or even a longer period, to visit Kenya to get involved in the above building work, or any other project, it would be fantastic.  I’m afraid you will have to pay your own fare and expenses, but the reward you would receive from living and working in the community, outweighs the cost.  The accommodation would be very reasonable as you could stay on site.  If you are interested please get in touch.

AGM for Peacemakers Kenya has elected Peter Wagakindi as chairman with Lucy Ndwiga and Grace Kauma re-elected as Treasurer and Secretary respectively. Sammy Gitunga (an original Peacemaker with Patrick) was made an honorary member of the committee.

John Musiymi is now 24, is mentally unstable and lives with his grandmother. His mother had died of aids years ago and his drunkard HIV+ father in December 2013 having refused for years to take the anti-retroviral drugs. John had TB in 2010 and lots of other sicknesses but has made good progress socially. He attends school with the children but needs training for simple tasks to get a job. He also needs a home of his own.  Peacemakers are caring for him at the moment.

As we have mentioned before, there is no ‘Special Needs Care’ in Kenya, so certain individuals in the UK are sponsoring children and a few adults monthly by Direct Debit for them to receive education and medical care.  You will see fully grown adults sitting with a class of young children and handicapped children attending schools.  John is a prime example of the difference you are making to these unfortunate and deprived people. In fact John is beginning to come alive and claps his hands in excitement of being able to walk and talk a little now. 

Thank you for your support and care.


When I last saw Patrick…

During the previous week before Patrick was taken to Nairobi for hospital care, he had visited me twice in the evenings, following his day at Kianginga Primary school, to where he had transferred just in January this year, from Kivuria School. The first time, he brought a colleague, Mbogo, who had been his deputy at Mufu Primary School twenty years ago. “Imagine,” he said,” things have turned full circle! When I started, he was my deputy, and now he is mine again as I finish my last few terms in teaching!”

We also met with another young teacher as Patrick was in a hurry to start a School at our site for those who did not complete formal education due to lack of school fees. It was one of his burning desires to help those who had missed out on life’s chances.  He had talked to several colleagues, some already retired, to offer their services. He also talked to the Education Dept and they had told him to register, as it was such a good idea. The following evening, he discussed some future plans for Peacemakers to extend our current Bible Study classes to being a Bible School as soon as possible. In his inimitable way, he also wanted to see a two storey accommodation built where we grow a few humble vegetables at the moment. I allowed him the enthusiasm and vision for the future but also reminded him about the gaping hole and the tumbling walls in the house where we sat. “All in God’s time and planning.”

The following day, I drove him to Runyenjes to have a blood test as he was feeling a bit un-well. Then we dropped to Embu. He sat in the back of the car talking politics with Peter Tum all the way, each of them becoming louder and more excitable as they agreed and debated current affairs. That was the last time I saw him as he was taken to Runyenjes hospital the day after, then transferred to Embu, then Nairobi; all so fast that the news of his ensuing death has shocked the whole community. I still feel he will come around the corner shouting, “Hodi! (Swahili for “is anyone home?”), is there a cup of chai (tea) there?”

In loving memory of Patrick, Chrissie.


The funeral of Patrick Kavungura Nyaga.

Patrick Kavungura NyagaPatrick Nyaga (Kavungura) died on February 15th at the Kenyatta Hospital, Nairobi. He died following an operation to correct a blocked vein, a burst vein and a non functioning valve. He had already had a minor surgery on a hole in the heart that week. The cost of the operations came to half a million Kenya shillings (about £45,000); it was a huge sum for the family to collect during those last few days. They took loans and gathered gifts from well-wishers and family members.

The day before, he talked to his son, Eric, to say he had already been a good soldier with God’s help; he raised his arms wide to Heaven and praised God for being with him throughout his life. But the shock for Harriet was immense when he did not recover from the operation. She kept telling him to wake up even after she had signed the papers for the mortuary. She had been advised that it was a simple procedure. But it was God’s plan to call him that day. When somebody dies, the local community gathers each day to have evening prayers at the home of the deceased and to start a collection for funeral expenses; everybody feels part of the family’s grieving. Early on Friday 21st February, my pickup, carrying the camera man headed the cortege of cars, the Hospital hearse and those who had travelled up from Nairobi. We had tied red ribbons on our vehicles; then made our way slowly through the town and up to our village. As we approached our site, the hearse was playing triumphal hymns and sounding its horn. There was already a great crowd streaming though the gateway. The coffin was placed in the centre of the prayer House on a long bench as it is customary for the body to be viewed. The queue stretched back up the drive but there was a sound of glorious singing from the many pastors and church leaders there that stood as one great choir around the edge of the prayer house, surrounding the coffin. I followed in line, being now used to this ordeal of looking through the small glass window which reveals the dear face of the deceased. Many ladies were overcome and carried out, weeping. I found the singing very uplifting, confirming the passing of one who had gone to live with his Lord and Savior.

The coffin was then carried to the field and was laid on a bier shaded by a marquee for a while. There were three large tents shading the mourners but hundreds sat under the scarce tree and banana palm shade. It was estimated that there were over 1200 people there to give their respects. Next comes the interminable photo- session. Harriet stood bravely as group upon group joined her for the official photos. This took over one hour in the scorching sunlight. After this came the valedictory speeches from colleagues, church and family members, the eulogy, which mentioned how much he had loved and served Peacemakers…and then the preaching of the Word by Moses, preceded by a speech from Bishop Salesio. 

Salesio spoke of his shock to lose his dear friend and how many people might say this or that about him but that the results of the faithful man were obvious and he had been a loyal and faithful soldier to the last. Moses preached about how God has an assignment for each of us on earth and that when it is completed, we are called. So, to take heart that Patrick had completed the work assigned to him to do and that it was his time to go. He urged us to know God’s plan for us, what work we had to do, to serve Him until the day we are called. There were some African songs and dances from family members and church groups, then a grand collection into the African baskets. Then after a time of prayer, the coffin passed through our shamba to the adjoining land, belonging to Kavungura’s.

Mourners were fewer by this time as the space at the home was congested. Again, there was a long sermon and many hymns at the grave, which had been dug that morning near to the house. The same youth who had dug the grave traditionally replace the soil on top of the coffin and the family laid their wreaths there. It had now taken 7 hours to this time. Those who remained were then fed with rice and stew, before leaving for their homes. It was quite an emotional day, as the whole community and Peacemakers have lost a teacher, a preacher, a seeker of the lost, a helper of the addicted, an advocate and intermediary, a dear husband, father friend and brother in the Lord.


e-link bulletin No.3 Feb 2014

SAD NEWS from Kenya: Patrick Kavungura Nyaga, a key man in the formation and development of the Peacemakers project died a few days ago Patrick Kavungura Nyagafrom a heart condition. We are all terribly saddened by this and send our deepest sympathies to his wife Harriett and the extended family. Anyone wishing to send a tribute to Patrick’s life please contact Brenda who will forward it to Chrissie who will be representing Peacemakers at his funeral. If you feel to contribute in any way to his family, please forward your gifts to Brenda. A tribute to Patrick and his work for Peacemakers will be produced later and posted on the website for everybody to read.

Sponsored Run: Just a quick reminder that the half marathon run is this coming Sunday23rd Feb. It’s the first one ever held at Hampton court. Jess Walker is running for Peacemakers and will be wearing the t-shirt shown below, so that people will recognise him amongst the 1500 competitors running.  A sponsorship form is available to download from here. Please try and help Jess raise as much money as possible for the Peacemakers Projects in Kenya.Jess for actiont-shirt front

The HIV women’s group that meet regularly at our place are looking for ways to have projects to support their income. They have thought of selling cakes, a chicken or pig project, making traditional baskets or flower arrangements. We have registered them as a group and they were thrilled to receive, gym-shoes for their children, water – guard and some maize. They are now eligible to seek for a joint loan. They are called “Way Forward” self-help group.

 Funding; we are also anxiously waiting for news from Comic Relief about our application for funding.

 Snippets from Kenya. We have continued to repair some of the house to make it habitable and are now blessed by restored electricity and plumbing to the main part. We have not touched the rear of the house where the fire started and although it looks sad, we believe it will rise again. At least the covering is waterproof as this season has been a real test! We have worked hard on guttering and pipes to harvest the torrents of water which has, in the past been eroding the soil and washing away our driveway. We are also constructing two ponds to slow down the flow off the roof and divert it to a pipe. We hope to solve the problem and also gain the knowledge of how to save water for irrigation.

 Recent visits from Sandra Colman, Joan Rushton, Caroline Hutchings and Matthew Birtwhistle have brought such joy and encouragement. They brought lots of useful items. Joan did not suffer too many torrential rains, thankfully, and, for the first time in four visits, managed to see Mount Kenya. She used to time her visit in cloudy June. The wait was worth it! The snow-capped mountain looked stunning! The rain is deafening on the tin roof at night. I was dismayed at the deluge last Friday as we had put up the tent-shade the night before a wedding. It was a sorry sight at 5 am in the morning. Mud across the field from flooded banks and a heap of canvas. However…all credit to our workers! The shade was up again by 10 am, fixed and ready for the joyous occasion. We have another 2 weddings this month. The Kenyans are so surprising!

 Car Repairs; I still use Njagi, a young Runyenjes mechanic, to care for any car problems. His roadside patch was moved recently to a site 100 metres away on the other side of a disused petrol station to make way for a new building started just two months ago. It was huge! Four storeys high and impressive sweeping steps, flanked by colonnades. It was to house a national bank and many other businesses. This is the new developing Kenya. We were amazed at how quickly it went up but flabbergasted to hear it all fell down at night last week- in one big heap. Sadly, the night watchman lost his life.

I was also fascinated to watch a man near the bus stage fashion me a rubber bush for my shock absorber recently. A stack of bald tyres await their slaughter date. His ramshackle stall is festooned in rubber strips that are normally used for strapping luggage to the motorbikes or fill the cracks in chicken sheds or a thousand other uses.


e-link bulletin No.2 Dec. 2013

dr1   Xmas   dr1

It’s the time of the year when we think about giving gifts to others who are less fortunate than ourselves.

  • The most precious gift you can receive is the ‘Gift of Life’
  • The most precious gift YOU can give is to save somebody’s ‘Life’
  • How can we do this?  Read on:
Thanks Jess and good luck!

Thanks Jess and good luck!

Sponsored Run: Jess, a friend of Peacemakers is planning to run a half marathon to raise funds for us. He’s an English teacher in Hertfordshire and will participate in an organised event for some 1500 runners at Hampton Court on 23rd February 2014. The distance is 13.5 miles and a sponsorship form is available here. The money raised will be used to provide mosquito nets and malarial medication in response to the sad death from malaria of the 19 year old Kenyan Samson Musoyka which we reported in our October bulletin.                                        


The resource centre is currently hired-out for teaching, conferences and a wide range of events involving the local community.

The Committee are looking at plans to develop new projects on site including a Restaurant, Bakery and more Traditional Houses to accommodate friends and visitors of Peacemakers. In the light of lives lost to malaria, the second phase hopes to provide a medical clinic offering emergency malaria support and other medical needs.

We have started a ‘Building Fund’ and our target for the above external building work is £19,000.00

Malaria nets save lives.

Mosquito nets save lives.


Peacemakers has an anonymous sponsor who has thrown out a challenge to all our friends.  For every child, youth and adult who donates £5.00 to ‘Save a Life’ this Christmas, the sponsor will donate £1 to the Building Fund.  The £5.00 will buy a family size Mosquito Net and malarial medication for one person.  One thousand £5.00 donors = £1,000.00 from our sponsor towards building a Clinic; Guaranteed.

Invitation to new young Fund Raisers: Brenda’s seven year old great nephew sold some of his clothes and toys on eBay to help feed the starving children in Kenya.  He is hoping to set a trend and encourage other young people to do the same and sell some of their unwanted toys.  If you do want to join this scheme please contact Brenda on 01920 830317 and your achievement will be rewarded with a Certificate.

Opportunities for Student placements are being explored at the Runyenjes Resource Centre for 2014 gap year or other students to visit and work with the Peacemakers’ Project Director Christine.  This is a great chance to become actively involved with the local Kenyan community.  School teaching, basic health care, Drugs Awareness, Food Hygiene, care of animals, woodworking skills and general building work are just some of the areas in which visitors can be involved whether for a few weeks or months.  Accommodation will be provided free, but each volunteer will have to cover the cost of their flight, transport to site from Nairobi, food and spending money.

Further details from Brenda Marshall 01920 830317.

Local Contact: George Kamau has responded by email after finding Peacemakers on the internet and offered his support.  Amazingly he lives in Runyenjes just down the road from the Resource Centre and has visited our site.  He has just finished his degree at Moi University and awaiting his results and is very happy to serve the Community working alongside other volunteers.  A young Australian graduate Matthew finishing studies in Milan has also expressed a desire to spend some time working in the Kenyan Community; it would be great if the two could work on a project together early next year.  The door is open to all who would like to serve in this way, using their talents and skills.

Students from UK lending a helping hand!

Students from UK lending a helping hand!


We had a real set back in the summer of 2012 when Kisimani House was gutted by fire and Isaac our Foreman died, but I can truthfully say that we have turned a corner and are very hopeful in seeing Kisimani completely restored and other workshops, clinic etc. built in 2014/15.

Thank you once again for being so faithful in your giving and support of our Fund Raising Events in 2013.  We are hoping for a team of volunteers to visit Kenya throughout the year and get involved practically and spiritually.  You know the old saying “Many hands make light work”, it’s very true and at the same time having fun doing it and working together – working towards the same goal of making a better place to live in for the local communities.

You will find great blessing in this as you bless others.  The rewards come from giving. 

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY  from Peacemakers’ Team  And a Prosperous New Year for the Kenyans.

Every Blessing from Brenda