The above photo shows 2 of our school children with their mother outside their hut. As you can see, it is a traditional small mud and stick hut. No light, no toilet, with just a small cooking area and space to sleep. We are expecting many of these children to have some of the best exam results in the county – amazing when you consider the background of most of the children. Their sponsors should feel really proud of the opportunity they are giving these children. In most families, these are the first generation to have an education. This causes problems with homework as there is no light and the children have to do household chores as soon as they arrive home, such as find the goats (boys) or collect fire-wood or look after the younger children (girls).
A Dutch charity donated these brand new water pumps – 60 pieces. They are more complicated and expensive to install than the normal pumps available in Kenya but they are expected to be more reliable. We put them in important locations such as school, health clinics etc. We are still repairing broken hand pumps and have now exceeded 700, but where the pump is irreparable we now have the option of these new pumps.
The pumps come from Holland in a shipping container, complete with all the pipes and pump rods. Hidden inside the pipes are drinking bottles so each of our school children are now the proud owners of a personal drinking bottle, as are children in many other schools.
Kajiado County health authority is taking part in a World Health Organisation project to treat every primary school pupil with antibiotic syrup for the eye disease, Trachoma. The project has been a great success with a reduction in the disease from 60% of the population to 20%. They hope to eradicate the disease in 5 years. We were wrong to assume that the many red or opaque eyes in Olepolos were due to smoke in their huts from cooking fires. The disease is transmitted by flies or on hands. If caught early the drugs are very effective. If left, an operation is required but with only 40% success rates. The photo shows our school children lining up to take their medicine.
Kisames, a small shanty town about 1Km from the school has long been filthy with rubbish. It improved about a year ago when Kenya banned plastic bags (it is illegal to have a plastic bag in Kenya) but it was still a disgrace. Our school is trying to be a shining light in supporting the local community. A few weeks ago the children took food and water to some of the elderly and recently they had a litter picking afternoon in Kisamis. We are hoping the locals of Kisamis have been shamed or encouraged by the efforts of our pupils to keep the place clean.
Norah is matron of the orphanage/safe-house. The numbers of children here keep going up. Death and family breakdowns are common. Snakes and scorpions can get in through the gaps under the doors. With 14 children at home and no adult around to help, Norah nervously overpowered a cobra the size of her broom – with her broom.
Our learning through computers project is fortunate enough to be supported by 2 schools. Both St Joseph’s from the UK and Sha Tin Junior from Hong Kong have donated computers. Thanks to them, we now have 45 computers in school with a further 15 in transit from Hong Kong. The extra computers is causing our school solar electrical system (we have no grid electricity) to creak so it will need upgrading soon.
It is not all hard work at school. One of our sponsors generously donated a treat for every pupil and staff member: a mandazi (African doughnut). Everyone chipped in to make 800 mandazi in the school kitchen. It was too hot for such mass production but well worth the money at 2.5p per mandazi. This was big news in Kisamis, the nearby town.
Finally, a few videos of the children performing in the school dining room.
Our thanks as always to the many kind donors and sponsors who make all these projects possible.
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Helen & Roger March 2019.