Update from Turk on the Kenya Schools Fund projects
I’ve just returned from a 7,000 kilometer drive-and-work tour of East Africa and was amazed and inspired by the progress at all 15 of our Kenya School Fund projects. In the arid lands of Samburu, Daaba Primary is a dream come true. A year ago, fifty students were attending outdoor classes in the dust and sun, and climbing 40-feet into a dangerous open well to fill their water jugs with unclean water. The school now has 8 permanent classrooms and – thanks to a new solar-powered well built with our water partners Well Aware – a safe supply of water for the school and community. These accomplishments are even greater in light of a deadly conflict last Fall that over-flowed into this area from the war against Al Shabab in Somalia, shutting down construction for long and frightening months.
The courage of the community and our contractor has resulted in over two hundred kids enrolled in the school, half of them girls in a Turkana tribal area where girls have rarely received an education. Daaba is as close to a miracle as I can possibly imagine and I will never forget the amazing welcome and thank you’s from this great community. (If you want to visit the school, our partners at the beautiful Sarova Shaba Game Lodge can arrange it.)
A 10-hour drive to the South, the enrollment at Mutaki Primary has more than doubled – 200 students through grade 4. The new classrooms are a thing of beauty, as is the new solar-powered purified rainwater water system. Thanks to the Beebe Family, Mike Mutaki, BR Cohn Winery and one of our favorite bands, The Doobie Brothers, for making this work possible. If you’re fans of the Doobies, you could join the work and help us build a 5th grade classroom at Mutaki.
For the first half of my month-long working tour, I was accompanied by Christy and a group of Nobelity Project supporters who were eager to meet great kids and teachers at every stop. Some of the highlights were – the first permanent classroom at Mugaka Hill Primary, new water systems at numerous schools and site surveys for more to come. and the grand opening of the Joe Gracey Library, Computer and Music lab at Amboni Primary/Simbara Secondary.
Mahiga Hope High School and Primary continue to grow and blossom. Enrollment is now over 600 students in 14 grades from pre-school to Grade 12 (Kenyan Form Four). Our group was welcomed with dance and music performances that have already earned the students special honors in national competitions. We were happy to unpack new AMD/Lenovo computers for the computer lab, and all toured the gardens that are producing at astounding 45 pounds of greens per day, fresh Kale and other veggies that go directly into the giant school lunch pots! These kids are growing their own food and working hard to shape their own futures! The students and the community of Mahiga have become another great building block and a true inspiration in the global work for Universal Secondary Education.
The last stop of my tour was to return to Mahiga with NPR’s great radio reporter John Burnett. Give a listen to his report on All Things Considered that is set at three of our favorite partner schools, including Mahiga.