New 'un-breakable' footballs.

Newsletter June 2014

Question – How many Kenyan children can you get into a boat or a school bus?
Answer – At least one more.  108 children and 7 adults were shoe-horned into two 26 seater buses  for the annual  school trip to see the Nairobi wildlife.

School trip - at least 3 children to a seat.
School trip – at least 3 children to a seat.


How do teachers throughout Kenya instil the need to speak English and only English in school?
Simple: hang a rotting bone around a pupil’s neck as a punishment for speaking mother tongue until the next child slips up! We don’t do that at the Osiligi school.

We are always pleased when projects are going well, but even more so when they happen without our help or input. In the past, the Charity has raised the money to pay for the project then we heavily supervised the projects to ensure all is done correctly. Now, we are finding that we can have a much lighter touch on the management side. Here are 5 examples:

Agriculture plot at the school – Harry’s Garden. Thanks to a donor, we have fenced an area for growing vegetables and to teach the children how to grow food. David Minisa, along with Florence have done an excellent job of training the 2 school caretakers, George and Amos how to care for this plot. From about 2 months’ time, we will have  a couple of days food every week from this plot and the children will have the knowledge to grow food at their homes.

Swiss Chard and Kale in the nursery, ready for re-planting.
Swiss Chard and Kale in the nursery, ready for re-planting

Inside the school grounds, we started building the clinic for the community in April following a donation from a Rotary Club. After 2 months it is almost finished. The builder Gitonga has done an excellent job. UK builders would have struggled to have done it better. It will soon be ready for the American Charity Medicforce to equip the building with medical supplies and nurses. As well as building the clinic, this charity will supply water and electricity to the clinic. We look forwards to improvements in the healthcare of the community.

The clinic on the right, inside the school grounds.
The clinic on the right, inside the school grounds.

Two years ago, we started teaching adults how to grow food at a local church. Once the money finished, the project stopped. We are very pleased to hear that this church has now built a fence, installed water and is about to provide a community food growing area. From little acorns ………..

Similarly, the number of people who use solar lights rather than harmful kerosene continues to grow, now without our input. We like to think that our project 2 years ago to introduce solar lights was the catalyst to this change

In 2011 we built 6 classrooms, with 1 being used as an office. Now with 5 classes full, we have run out of space. Gitonga, with no supervision needed, is building a classroom and office, so giving us 2 more classrooms. The money was raised in The Big Give Xmas Challenge over the past 2 years.


Two more classrooms will be ready for 2015.
Two more classrooms will be ready for 2015.

Some things do need help to change. We continue to have problems with some boys putting piles of excrement on the urinal floor. The children have no toilets at home,  are not used to toilets, and are scared to stand over the hole in the ground at the school pit latrine. They find the unthreatening urinal floors a better place. It is also a struggle to teach the children to wash their hands after using the toilet – at their homes there is no spare water for hand washing. We try to avoid touching the children’s hands!

Everyone imagines that it is hot and sunny in Kenya but in June and July it is cool and cloudy. In June there was a smattering of rain but not nearly enough to change brown to green. Rain has been scarce since March and everyone’s cows have been moved – some to Tanzania, some to the Nairobi outskirts where it’s greener. Life is fragile here and it won’t rain heavily again for another five months. Our borehole is a life saver for the community as other sources of water dry-up. Moving cattle has its problems especially when tribal land boundaries are crossed. A Maasai friend’s cattle strayed onto another tribe’s land and his shepherd was threatened with the police unless an £80 settlement was paid. He agreed to pay £30 – a fortune.

Collecting 40L of water from the school.
Collecting 40L of water from the school.

And for the future? There is still much we must do to complete our projects and work in the area. More classrooms mean more teachers and hence more houses to accommodate them. We must build more teachers’ houses by the end of this year. The clinic does not have a toilet, so we want to build a composting toilet near the school and clinic. There is still a big educational achievement divide between Kenyan schools and Western schools. Modern technology may be one way to close this gap. We want to install high speed internet and many more computers running educational programmes. And finally, we add one more class of children each year, so we have to build 1 more classroom yearly until we reach 11 classrooms. Still so much to do………..

The Osiligi Warriors’ tour starts in late August. The dates are here.

As always, thanks to all the donors and sponsors as without your help, all this would not be possible.

Helen & Roger Pannell June 2014.


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4 thoughts on “Newsletter June 2014”

  1. Wonderful to hear such positive news of all these projects. I visited Kenya and the Massai Mara in the 70’s, so it is very near to my heart!

  2. So, beads are back on the agenda again are they? Still have a few strings languishing in the barn so would you like them? (It would save me making another trip to Nawlins next year to get some more!

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