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Supporting childcare in Kenya

Thursday, 10 February 2022

BWANA JACKO FLINT - A MIDDDLESEX MASON SUPPORTING CHILDCARE IN KENYA

It was Steve Jobs who once said 'If you are working on something that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.' For Jack ("Jacko") Flint, a member of Hampton Lodge No 6435, along with his Brother Michael for 55 years, the source of his vision was an article in the East Africa Nation that he had read whilst on holiday in Kenya in late 2019. It stated that the mortality rate in children under five was 290 per day, or 108,000 per year which, for perspective, is 10x the rate in the UK. Jacko resolved to help and with his friend and fellow Freemason, Lee Flint, visited he Timboni Clinic, which specialises in pre-natal and post-natal care in the community to understand how they might provide assistance. There, Dr Joseph Katana explained that they needed three pieces of equipment, each of which would save lives - firstly, a baby warmer to help new-born infants; secondly an autoclave, essential for the sterilisation of equipment used in childbirth; and finally, a foetal heart monitor.

When, shortly after returning to the UK, Jacko was advised to lose weight for health reasons. He saw the opportunity to generate pounds by losing pounds through a sponsored diet. He unveiled his plan at a meeting of Prince Michael of Kent Lodge of Mark Master Masons No 1720 in November 2019 with a target of raising 500,000 shillings (£3,300) for at least one piece of equipment. Within a year, that target had been surpassed to the extent that by the end of 2020 all three pieces of equipment had been purchased and donated to the Timboni Clinic - an astonishing achievement for which the clinic and its patients are extremely grateful.

THE NEW ROOF PROJECT

The story does not end there. The total raised by Jacko is now around 2,000,000 shillings (£13,000) which has enabled him and Lee to extend their support to other children's charities in the region. This includes the Jua rescue centre, the Angle Trust and Dawn Gobells, all of whom care for girls in the Watamu area who have suffered sexual abuse, mostly from close relatives. So, the good work carries on, sparked by a newspaper article and fanned by the desire of Middlesex Masons to help. Jacko provided an example: 'One project was a new roof on the outdoor-living area at the Dawn Goebbels Trust, which is used by children for socialising, homework, washing clothes and bathing babies. Every so often it gets a spring clean when it is to be used for counselling sessions for sexually abused children and their affected families. This is an all day event with people coming from as far away as Kilifi. There is also a plan afoot to hold regular parenting classes in this area. The old roof was letting in too much rain and sunshine, so it had to go. They had no idea where they were going to get the money to pay for it - with the cost of materials and labour it came to just slightly more than the 50,000 Kenyan shillings - which was paid for from the donations of Middlesex Masons.'

At time of writing Jacko is still in Kenya and plans to return later in March. His Mother Lodge, Hampton Lodge No 6435, will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary on the 27thApril at TDMC. Jacko was there for the 25th and 50th Anniversaries. Indeed, his father was the 2nd candidate of the Lodge which was consecrated in April 1947.