I am back in Kenya with our 3rd World Tech team and “partners”  - helping our schools.  What a difference the last year has made!!  After many visits, our community committees have embraced comprehensive plans for each school to be an oasis and laboratory for the development and implementation of “off the grid” technologies.  This was exactly the plan we initiated.  It is coming to fruition.  Our communities have expressed both gratitude and astonishment that we have listened to their ideas.  Community leaders told us that other aid organizations just come in and TELL them what to do, without listening. One organization came in and built a second health clinic building and then left. The village already had a clinic. It needed a nurse or doctor. The new building is now abandoned… and there are no doctors or nurses in sight.

We now have a water conservation board for each school. Communities have calculated minimum water requirements for drinking, washing and irrigation.  Each school now has energy efficient cookers that burn 85% less firewood and use smaller sticks….resulting in fewer trees that are cut… and children carry books rather than firewood to school each morning.

Our first 200 student gardens have been planted and 2 tons of manure and mulch have been delivered by the community to enrich depleted soils. The communities have laid pipe at Elangata Primary to irrigate a kitchen garden. By the end of this year we plan for this school to be able to grow all if it’s green vegetables (which eliminates the expense of having to buy these, freeing up precious funds for other necessities. At Ol Donyo Primary we are building a kitchen greenhouse and bringing in soil from the nearby lake (which incidentally we have repaired so it now holds water for irrigation, hopefully even in the dry seasons).

We are adding an additional 30,000 liters of water tanks at Elangata. Each dormitory, therefore, will now have water for bathing.

Last week solar panels were installed on 6 buildings in one of our schools - which formerly had no electricity. These will provide lighting for all classrooms, the boy’s and girl’s dorms and teacher housing.  Our women’s beading project has provided income to about 25 mothers who formally had no income. We are trying to initiate beekeeping projects for our communities with Lanstroth hives. We would then be able to sell pure honey to the game parks nearby and thus create awareness of our school and community projects.

By the end of this year we hope each school can be a learning center where other students and teachers can come and get ideas and learn methods we have developed.  We are working on a top to bottom business plan as to how each school can be independent and self sustaining….each can obtain and implement these technologies and, as much as possible, pay for them on an ongoing basis.  SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT !!!

BUT WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP.  Currently 3rd World Tech pays for all of the more expensive infrastructure. We do this because the projects at our first 2 schools need to be completed quickly enough that our local communities are not discouraged. Once it is working, we teach others how to pay for as much as possible themselves.  Please support us…our plans are becoming “contagious.”  Thousands are now watching this come to fruition. We think we have strong plans for some of the very first successes in these arid land regions.

SADLY ALL THE NEWS IS NOT GOOD.  The Kenya government has allocated 3 teachers for 700 students. That’s a 1/233 teacher student ratio. Elangata is so far from a road, a store or nightlife that teachers assigned there find any reason to be transferred somewhere else.  We have no teacher housing, and our “borrowed” housing (the new clinic building) has no electricity or water. The community has hired 5 more teachers but has little money to do so.  All the community can pay a teacher is 8000 shillings ($100) per month (less than half of what the government teachers make). TURNOVER IS ASTOUNDING!  AND WE ARE TAKING MEASURES TO STOP IT.

Here is our plan. First we want to increase community teacher salaries by 3000 shillings for each teacher - a total of roughly $185 per month. We have also gotten the community to donate the now abandoned missionary houses for teacher housing. These have been abandoned for years and need a lot of repair, but they are on the river, with a separate water tank and even a very old septic system. We are obtaining estimates to repair them. WITH INCREASED SALARIES AND MUCH BETTER HOUSING (housing essentially non-existent at present), WE HOPE TO RETAIN OUR MUCH NEEDED TEACHING STAFF, THE LACK OF WHICH WOULD SURELY SPELL FAILURE IN OUR EFFORTS TO HELP THESE CHILDREN.

That’s it for now.  I’ll be here for another week and will have more to report once I am back in the States.

MANY THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT.  Please help and pass this along to anyone you might think would be interested. THESE ARE AMAZING PROJECTS AND APPARENTLY THE FIRST OF THEIR KIND.
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