There and back again by Christian Mario Lohr

A lot of things can change in three months.

That was the first thought that passed through my mind as my taxi dropped me off at the entrance of the slum leading to the Hanne Howard Fund.

I’m pleased to report that it’s all for the good though. When I was told that Hanne had already left for Canada for her yearly trip I was curious to see the changes the last few months had brought and also how things were holding up without Hanne’s guiding hand. Diego, Riyad and I had often discussed the implications of Hanne leaving for a longer period of time and had agreed that there was a danger of things unravelling without her presence.

I know a lot of people will think that this is a discriminating statement towards the local staff but sadly there are certain truths that cannot be refuted. An outsider is resistant to certain pressures that a local person would be faced with and receives more respect. That doesn’t mean that it’s easier. There are incredible cultural barriers that have to be overcome and there’s always a chance of things going wrong. But for a Fund that is just starting out the factors mentioned above are incredibly important. I’m sure that in years to come the Board will be perfectly capable of running the HHF but until then Hanne is vital for the survival of the center.

To my relief our fears were unfounded. The HHF is in great shape. So many things have improved over the last three months that it was almost impossiblegate to take it all in. The first thing that struck me when I arrived was the new look of the gate. Now with the words “Hanne Howard Fund” written in bright and friendly yellow letters on the black gate it is finally possible to find the HHF. Before it was almost impossible to find the HHF without knowing exactly where to look for it. A small change but an important one. To further increase public awareness there are plans to put up signs along the main road.

Christian is part of a team that is making a documentary on Lenana and the HHF called “Kenya’s Path”. To read the rest of Christian’s story, click here

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