Isobell Jordan holds up one of the beanies knitted for Angie Wilson and Leanne Hall of Mission Action who are travelling to Africa to help orphans in Kenya.
Isobell Jordan holds up one of the beanies knitted for Angie Wilson and Leanne Hall of Mission Action who are travelling to Africa to help orphans in Kenya. Marc Stapelberg

Beanie run in Kenya

WHEN Alstonville friends Leanne Hall and Angie Wilson head off to Kenya with their husbands next month, only a fraction of the foursome's luggage will hold personal effects.

They will be carting 120kg of donated goods to give to children at the MIA Kenya Orphanage in Nakuru and to children living in surrounding communities.

Taking up a lot of space will be 300 hand-knitted beanies, many of them made by residents at Alstonville's aged-care village, BCS Maranoa.

"Once the sun goes down in Kenya it becomes quite cool - you see locals wearing anoraks," said Ms Hall, who visited the orphanage last year.

"We thought beanies would be useful to keep little heads warm at night."

The idea to take as many beanies as possible was sparked during Ms Hall's last visit, when she went on a "biscuit run" with orphanage founders, former Richmond Hill residents Ivan and Mary Budulica.

"We went out in a 4WD with a big box of biscuits, and drove around the communities and kids came out from everywhere to get them," she said. "They thought it was fantastic. So Angie and I thought a beanie run would be a good idea too."

Ms Hall approached Maranoa with the task because both of her grandmothers were once residents there.

"I was aware that the residents here have got the time and something like this gives them a purpose," she said.

"We came and talked to them about our trip and asked if they would like to help. We had a huge bag of wool and they were very keen to help out."

Isobell Jordan, 83, would have liked to knit some beanies but because she can't use her hands very well these days she asked her daughter to instead.

Maranoa lifestyle co-ordinator Ven Semitecolos said the residents enjoyed the project.

"Knitting is a part of their generation, and it's therapeutic too," he said.

Ms Hall said visiting the orphanage had taught her a lot of things, not least of which was that even a small gift like a beanie can give so much.



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