Tuesday, April 12, 2011



Kaana beams! Photo courtesy Naankuse.
 Kanna is a Bushman boy whose family live on Naankuse wildlife sanctuary, 45 kms east of Windhoek, Namibia. He's a special guy, one of the last in the world to have had polio; almost completely eliminated apart from some outbreaks in impoverished communities in Namibia, and Nigeria for instance.
In 2009, I and my wife Kay ( yes, another good subject for this K day, but I'm not allowed to talk to much about that wonderful lady) met up with our daughter Emma who flew down from the UK, and with youngest Elissa who flew in from Wellington, NZ and we had a family volunteer experience at Naankuse.

 Kanna, along with the other Bushman children were missing out completely on even basic schooling, so Naankuse, with largely the help of volunteers had set up a basic school. The aim was to teach all ages the basics to enable them to enroll at mainstream schools in Windhoek. The plan unfolded with the building of Clever Cubs School at Naankuse. Boy, digging those foundations in the hot sun was hard, but satisfying work! Clever Cubs officially opened a few months after our return.

The building photo courtesy Naankuse.

Kanna along with his friends are now being transported to school in Windhoek. Naankuse provided school uniforms and footwear. But Kanna's footwear needs were special, and that's where I offered to help, being a custom shoemaker, often making surgical footwear. I came home with measurements, duly sending off a pair, which were a good fit, and got an amazing photo of Kanna in return. His huge smile spelt success and all the thanks I needed.

Late last year he was in need again, as growing active boys can soon chop out even the most durable of boots. So we sent him a larger pair, but that pair did not fit- he had grown so much! I was so disappointed.
However, I'm heading over to Namibia in 3 weeks time so I will take him another pair. This time made to much larger measurements. I want to see that big grin on his face again! My time is limited so sadly I will not get to see him at Naankuse, so I'll post them on from Swakopmund.

Clever Cubs opening photo courtesy Naankuse.

Truly is wonderful to see Naankuse offering their Bushman family children the chance of education to enable them to become part of society there and hopefully find employment. Without education their options in life are limited, their self esteem may be low, their smiles perhaps replaced with scowls.
 They deserve a chance.

 For Facebookers- Naankuse volunteer video
Find them on Facebook- facebook.com: I love Naankuse



Roy Durham said...

jim i wish i had the income to help with the needs of the beautiful people you come to report on. all i have got is prayers i give them freely. thank you and god bless, what happen to j

Unknown said...

Jim that is so touching!!! Loved this post. By the way - did I ever tell you that my Dad wears custom made shoes too? He had a surgery as a child that went way wrong, causing his left leg to be 1 and 1/2 inches shorter than his right!! So all his shoes have to be custom made so he does not have to limp. He would have so loved to meet you.

Manzanita said...

Oh Jim, You and your family are doing so much to help these people. And of course, you, of all people can provide them with these special shoes. But I look at those thin little legs that don't look like they will hold up the shoes. That big smile tells it all and that must make your heart melt to know you put that on his face.

Patricia JL said...

Beautiful post. Kanna's smile says it all.

(Found you through the challenge)

Jorie Pacli said...

I'm so touched with this story Jim. It's really amazing to read all the good things that you've been doing and yet even age is catching up faster than you can extend more of your compassion in helping others, your journey continues and your arms remain wide open for those people in need of love and attention. May God be with you always.....xox

Mary Hudak-Collins livingthescripture.com said...

What a touching story Jim. I enjoyed the read:)