The BBC reported on their website on 17th February 2014 the practice of 'jaboya' on the banks of Lake Victoria in Kenya. This is where women who are so poor, that they cannot pay for fish to feed their children, so they purchase food with their bodies. This is a humiliating and degrading practice which also exposes these women to a high risk of contracting HIV Aids.
There is at least one charity that is supplying some women with the opportunity to purchase their own fishing boats so that they can then employ fishermen to fish for them and the income that they earn allows them to pay the men, pay for their boat, bit by bit, and also have fish for their families.
I was so moved by this story that I want to raise money to purchase as many boats as I can to try and put an end to the misery of these women. I asked the congregation at my church to decide what they thought that I should do to raise the money and they decided that I should kayak along the River Thames. Having only been in a canoe once in my life, around 50 years ago at the age of 14, and never in a kayak, you can probably understand that this is indeed a challenge for me. I have also been suffering with Tennis Elbow in both arms for several months, which is adding an extra element to this event.
I am a supporter of The High Five Club, a charity that works with those in need in several African countries, including Kenya, and they have agreed to match fund what we raise, up to another £500.00 which will enable us to provide even more boats.
So I am appealing to you to help me raise some money to support these women and allow them to lead a life where they can support themselves and provide food for their families in a dignified manner. Please dig deep and make my canoe trip a success for the women of Lake Victoria.
My friend Mark Bottomley, who goes to St Peter & St Paul church, Shorne with me, is providing the kayaks and will accompany me, along with my friend Neal Welch who also kayaks regularly. Mark is also going to set up the account where donations can be made, or they will be able to be made via the High Five Club who will have an account. Please do not send me donations direct.
We are going on our first training paddle this week on the River Medway. Wish me luck! At that time we will try and decide the final route on the Thames.