Monday, August 23, 2010


Monday was a day spent at Ndandini Primary School.  Our goal was to finish the solar wiring.  We succeeded and are happy to report that there are now two lights in one of the new classrooms and another light installed in the teachers room.  The teachers and Andrew the principal were very excited and always trying to offer their help.

The school children are off on a break but there were some extra classes being taught today so lots of kids around as well.  Sometimes the four windows of the new classroom were totally jammed with kids trying to watch what we were doing.  We also installed a wall receptacle so that sometime in the future they will have a power source in the classroom to run a big screen projector so that everyone can see the images on a computer screen or perhaps watch an educational DVD.

Terry took a few minutes to check his email with his laptop inside the new classroom - just to prove that we can indeed do email and web access from the school.  Hakuna Matata (no problem).

While the solar stuff was exciting and satisfying, the really big benefits of the day were the opportunities that we had to talk in depth with Andrew the headmaster and Eric the deputy head master of Ndandini Primary School, Kimali the principal of Kyaithani Secondary School (who is also the chairman of the Ndandini water committee), and Japheth the sub-area chief.  Being able to talk to each of them individually for an extended period of time allowed us to talk in depth about the opportunities that the committee and the community can make real as long as they work together as a community and have strong and motivated leadership.  Each of them said that the day was very informative and useful and we all agreed to get together tomorrow as a group to talk about some of the ideas that we raised.

We are continuing to investigate possible locations for the community garden.  There is no doubt that the community garden "idea" has now become a village objective.  Certainly the installation of the drip-irrigation greenhouse at the school has made the community garden concept very real in everyone's mind.  Below is a photo of the headmaster Andrew, and the deputy headmaster Eric (above) and teachers Titus and Richard.

The more we talked today the more they all began to understand how everything can work together to help the community develop and for Ndandini and Kyaithani to become a model for village development.  They told me that the district government and the federal government are taking note of what is happening.  The Management Committee has extended invitations to all the various levels of government to come to the September 5th gathering.  I continue to encourage them to catch the attention of their government officials while they can and while there are exciting things happening in the village.  It is very rewarding to see them begin to become "people with a mission" and so focused on how they can help develop their community.

Some of you may have heard me talk about the Jamii Bora micro-fiinance bank and how they will send out a banking person to remote villages to encourage villagers to save money and help them advance by offering micro-loans.  We had the local manager from Kitui go out and present to the village some 18 months ago but despite lots of interest, nothing really happened following that meeting.  Well, today the key members of the Ndandini Water Project Management committee decided to go with me to visit Jamii Bora tomorrow to investigate how they can get Jamii Bora to begin serving the Kyaithani village and Ndandini area.  They want to start by having every member of the Water Management Committee become a Jamii Bora member (to be an example to the community), and by opening an account for the water project so that the income from water sales and cellphone battery charging can be easily deposited in an account and ensure that proper records are kept.  They are also really interested in how they can encourage the villagers to become Jamii Bora members so that everyone can participate in the Jamii Bora Health Insurance plan (which provides free health care for one parent and up to 5 children, even if one or more of them are already ill).

We live in very exciting times!  For the first time these village people are seeing real opportunities that can make a difference in their own lives and the community.

We have water from the kiosk -  each of the taps can fill a 20 litre jerry can in just 20 seconds.

And we have solar power at the kiosk for light and to charge cell phones for additional revenue for the well.

And this week it is a full moon making for beautiful nights to be sleeping in our 25 year old 25 tent at the well site.  While I am here, Jan and a group of ladies from British Columbia are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.  They too were looking forward to having this beautiful moon to light their way.  The summit of Kili is over 19,000 feet, and they are all hoping to make the summit early Thursday morning.  They will start the last leg of the climb at 1am under the bright light of the moon in order to reach the summit just as the sun comes up around 7am.  On Monday at noon, they had just stopped for a lunch break after what Jan called "an unbelievably hard steep climb".  With the oxygen getting thinner as they get higher, it gets harder and harder to breathe, to take each step, and even to think clearly.  We are all wishing each of them well and admiring their determination.  Yet another example of people setting a goal and putting out the effort needed to reach it!  Go ladies!!  And Go Ndandini!!

Keep watching.  There's more to come!


No comments:

Post a Comment