Newsletter June 2021 and new fundraising cycling expedition 2021

Update on the situation in Kenya at the moment

In these extraordinary times, 2020 and 2021 have been without doubt challenging years. I was fortunate enough to go to Kenya on 24th February 2020, before the first lockdown, when there was a lot of discussion about Covid19 and therefore something that was at the forefront of our minds while travelling. However, we all thought, just as with SARS, that it would be contained within China. But I was nevertheless surprised at how often my temperature was checked on arrival at Nairobi airport as well as at the domestic airports I passed through. With hindsight I feel very fortunate to have made that trip as otherwise it would have been a long time before I could go again.


I was also fortunate to be able to get on my bike and cycle from Amsterdam to Rome during the pandemic last year to raise funds for the foundation. I was very lucky to have had the chance to get on my bike, leave Amsterdam and arrive in Rome within that small window of time where infections were low and lockdowns had been lifted. What a magical journey it was, pedaling through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, crossing over the Alps and the Apennine Mountains, and cycling 2520 kms in 34 days.  Many of you followed my journey on Polarsteps, instagram or Facebook and I am, at the moment in the middle of writing a book about this journey titled  ‘Biking the world – Amsterdam to Rome’. Thank you all for your fantastic donations, whether in money, clothes and/or books, before, during and after this trip, which raised 5000 euros for the foundation. We now have 15 children at school, getting taller and school fees increasing the older they get, Judith will be off to college in September which means boarding fees and extra curriculum financing. The foundation needs to invest in the future to hopefully send more of the children on to college and university.


In March 2020 disaster struck and Covid 19 had arrived in Kenya. Although, the Kenyan Government immediately implemented a strict lockdown and curfew, it meant that schools closed. They closed for 9 months reopening in January 2021. This left the children without breakfast and a meal at midday. They had no education at all in those months, homeschooling was unheard of, and online lessons were impossible due to the lack of digital infrastructure. The children’s parent/s lost their jobs; having a job had at least brought in a little income which helped to keep hunger at bay, but the pandemic also caused basic food prices to rise exponentially.


Getting exact up-to-date information whether from newspapers or first-hand is difficult.

Kenya has a population of around 50 million and so far the number of deaths is recorded as, 3,240 and 171,942 have been/are infected. Why are the numbers not as high as scientists and experts expected and predicted? It helped of course that an immediate lockdown and curfew were implemented. But there was no social distancing, nor were there all the strict measures that were taken here in the west. Some experts say this is because the population is young, average age 18 compared to 42 in the Netherlands, the young being less susceptible to the virus. The Africans are exposed to many more infectious diseases than we are which could mean their immune systems are stronger. Another reason given is that it has a large rural population that spends most of its time outside, where it is harder to spread the virus. It is also possible – though I hope this is not the case - that the true numbers are higher than they look because data is not readily available which makes it hard to monitor disease accurately. Let’s hope that what happened in India does not spread to the African continent.



The children

I have kept in close contact with Kenya, especially from my contact Maurice, who has also become a friend, sending me regular updates and photos of the children, their whereabouts and letting me know that they had beans in their tummies. Having breakfast and a midday meal is so essential for the children, it gives them energy which means they can play and learn which makes them happy little people. My biggest worry was with the older girls, Judith, Ruth and lucky, although only 15, 13 and 12 years of age respectively, pregnancies were rife amongst this age group during lockdown and there was no school to keep an eye on them.


Some good news is the children are back at school and thriving, all growing fast and needing new shoes and uniforms. It is wonderful to see the transformation in the wellbeing of these children, giving them an education also gives them hope. Judith who has just passed her school exams and will be off to college after the summer break. She was 10 when I first met her out in one of the villages. She lived at that time with her mother and 7 brothers and was the eldest and only girl. Her father had died a few months earlier of aids. Her mother also has aids but is on anti-retroviral drugs which are given without cost by the Kenyan government, donated by the US government. The family live in a small hut, which slowly erodes in the rain. It has a corrugated iron roof, full of holes and the family sleep on the ground. The house has no windows, no furniture, just a few blankets strewn on the floor and some cooking utensils. My friend Maurice said his family could look after Judith if I would pay for her to go to school. She had gone to the local government school but classes were overcrowded, sometimes with more than 50 pupils in a class and the teachers often did not turn up for days. This was in 2015, and her mother still lives in the same house with the younger boys and earns a meagre income by doing some washing and cleaning. Judith took to her new school like a duck to water, she enjoyed the lessons and learnt very quickly and at the age of 15 she had caught up with lessons and had the same level of knowledge as her peers. She is growing into a lovely young lady who enjoys reading, singing and learning, is happy, confident and hopes to become a diplomat.


The foundation also enables Maurice and Mable, my contacts in Kenya, to send their three children to school. Maurice was our driver when we first went to Kenya in 2011 and the reason that the foundation was born. Maurice and Mable have triggered huge change within their own community, getting the people to help each other, to share food and clothes. It certainly makes their lives a little easier and happier to be able to help one another with just a small gesture. The key to change is getting people to help themselves and they seem to have made a good start.

As Mother Theresa said “not all of us can do great things; but we can do small things with great love”.


I am so proud of what we (you the donors) have achieved in the last few years, most times we can avert tragedy and unknowingly have touched so many lives that without us, would be destined for despair




Fundraising 2021

This year I was planning to cycle the coast of Ireland but due to ongoing travel restrictions have decided to cycle the borders of the Netherlands as a smaller fundraising event.

You can follow my blog on polarsteps and daily and weekly updates on Instagram and Facebook.

Ross Palmer has made a series of excellent podcasts on “Beat the Often Path” should you be interested in watching and listening to this interview of how the foundation started and how I raise money by biking the world then go to youTube and type in Lori Tierney – Biking the world for charity after retirement




You can find more information on the foundation website Should you like to donate; anything is gratefully appreciated and every little counts.


Bank details below:

  1. Tierney (Lori Tierney Foundation) NL16 INGB 0675 3536 96