TEACHING-EMPOWERING-MENTORING-BUILDING OPPORTUNITY Mission: to partner with individuals and communities in Western Kenya to support entrepreneurial activities, education and health through training programmes, scholarships, water and sanitation projects

Friday, November 11, 2011

Two weeks of silence!

So much has been happening that I had no idea it is nearly two weeks since I posted.

Rod has flown to Canada for his medical appointments. He is booked to return Dec 4 but we are hoping it could be sooner. So I am alone and busy boiling & filtering water and taking care of all the other little tasks that need to be done when you live in rural Africa. Our agent, Nancy, has arrived and settled in to her cute little apartment on the compound. maybe pictures later.

Johnstone, our medical student, passed his exams and went to Nairobi for
his certificate. He has an internship at a public hospital about 30 minutes away and not too far from his home. Here he is proudly showing his qualification.
We have contracted six water projects, three shallow wells and three protected springs, bringing in all clean,safe water to about 2,000 people. Next week we shall start to visit the communtities who have to set up a management committee to take care of the well. The shilling has dropped against the dollar, so we are hoping to have enough remaining funds to put in eco- san toilets in a school where the girls' latrines collapsed. The school cannot reconstruct in another spot because the water table is too high and the latrines will contaminate the ground water.
The news here is full of the rise in prices. Our Advisory Committee chair says he has never seen anything like what has happened in Kenya over the last four months. Prices of basic foods have tripled and those already constantly hungry are in a desperate way. There are real fears that hostility and violence are on the rise and that next year's election could go badly. We are putting together a plan with our Kenyan facilitators to expand Virtues training to more communties to promote Civic Education and peace. We very much need funding for this effort.
There was a scathing article this week about the public universities and the so-called parallel program. Anyone with enough money and a mediocre pass can get into any prgramme including the formerly tightly controlled medecine and engineering faculties. There is a low fee subsidized program for 'A' students. The universities are coining money but have not added staff or facilities. Instead they are investing in commercial enterprises. Classes run to the hundreds and lecturers pay others to teach the class. There is little research anywhere. Now the professors are all on strike, students have been sent away, graduation ceremonies (usually in Dec) will probably be cancelled and exams have been interrupted. All this only reinforces our focus on job training for those who ahve not been able to continue their education.
Our meeting with our Advisory Committee this week set our dates for the next few weeks:
Pace of Grace (advanced Virtues) seminar Nov 12; Read for the Top at Mwiyenga pri (their own initiative) Nov 14; Visit to Isecheno to set up Read for the Top and hopefully a feeding program Nov 17; Dedication of our newly painted Virtues Centre Nov 16; Business training for leaders of the groups Nov. 26, soap making for the Youth Group Nov 25 and interviews for job training scholarships Nov 30.
I think I'll leave December's plans for later!

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