Water Blogged

Kenya School visits-is your project featured?

Posted by Patty Hall on June 6, 2013

Today we left Nairobi for a drive to Central Kenya to visit 5 schools. Sadly, we missed one school as it began to rain and the roads turned into a slippery, muddy, mess. We visited: Mutamaiyu School, Ndururi School, Njonjoro School and Matuiku School. After many hours in the car we stopped at our first school- Mutamaiyu School.  The parent committee, teachers and students were eagerly awaiting our arrival, as we were about an hour late.  Can you imagine anyone in the US waiting for an hour for a group to show up? They were gracious and welcoming.  I guess that the road conditions are so unpredictable that delays are always expected.

The projects that KRA, our implementing partner, is providing to the schools are truly amazing.  In each school we saw rainwater catchment tanks with wonderful access to drinking water, latrines that were sturdy and clean, and hygiene education was evident from speaking with both the parents and students.  Due to access to plentiful water, the schools all had gardens to supplement the lunch programs, and one school had a fish pond and are beginning to add fingerlings for food production.  Tree planting is taking place at all schools, with environmental and agricultural classes as part of the curriculum.

In all 4 schools that we saw, changes have been dramatic.  Some of the schools have been completed for several years and the results are in.  One school won “Best in the District” for the first time in over 20 years!  Each school displayed improved test scores and improved attendance.  Teachers and parents related that now that students don’t have to carry water to school, everyone is more relaxed and ready to work. Before the intervention of water, if a student came to school without their required water, they were sent home.  Often the gerrycan had been lost or misplaced and the student was in trouble with the teacher and their parents!  This is no longer a problem.

All of the schools performed songs, poems and dances.  We presented each school with 2 soccer balls and frisbees. They had never seen a frisbee before and by the time we left they were having a great time tossing the frisbee around.  The soccer balls, of course, elicited huge cheers. During the visit of school #4- Matuiku Primary School- it was raining and getting very muddy.  We huddled in a classroom- all 196 students, teachers and parents, and had a wonderful gathering.  After a quick snack of chicken, and fruit, we headed to our lodge near Thompson Falls.  We had hoped to be back in time to at least take a glimpse of the water fall- but it was dark and will have to wait until morning.

Due to the storm, our hotel has no water- my feet are caked with mud, but I’ll scrape off what I can- AND the lights went out at 10pm.  I’m finishing this post in the dark.  It was a fantastic day.  I learned many new facts about rainwater catchment and the wonderful projects provided by Kenya Rainwater Association.  For all of you that may wonder how YOUR funds impacted your partner school, I can say with no reservations that the projects are life changing. In one school 2 boys were invited to National Secondary School placement.  This is something that has never happened in this district.  The changes came after facilities improved and students were spending time in class, not time walking for water.  So- Thanks for your support.  Nothing would change without schools that take action. Tomorrow, Christopher, my friend and driver on this trip promised me that the sun would shine and “It will not rain.”  But that’s what he always says!  We’ll have to wait and see.


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