My blogging career in Kenya was short… I hadn’t factored in how tired I would be at the end of each evening when I started….
Home yesterday after two weeks and miss it already. Yet again a fantastic amount of work was done in just two weeks. We had our 23 Irish volunteers and approx 30 Kenyan tradesmen on site. It was great to be able to employ locals who were very happy to get work and who love working for “Mister Paddy” and amazing to see how hard they work and how skilled they are. In Kibiko Primary School we got electricity into the assembly hall and painted 23 classrooms which had never been painted, the difference that painting the walls made to the classrooms was unbelievable, dark classrooms looked bright and fresh when painted and the kids and teachers were really happy. We also were able to provide 30 new benches and beautiful coloured chairs and desks for the nursery class who previously had no desks at all. The Headmistress, Josephine and her staff really appreciated what we did for them, as did the parents. We look forward to keeping in touch with this school and working on small projects with them in the future. We were able to present the school with two football kits and played a game against them, it was great fun for everyone. We also had a laptop to present to school which they were delighted to receive.
The Girls Refuge centre was really exciting to work on and the building which had been left very dirty was completely transformed. This centre will be home to girls ages from 4 to 12 who have been removed from their families and who need temporary accommodation. The reasons for removing them from their families will vary – some will have been abused or raped, others will be victims of female genital mutilation- all will be kids who really need help and a safe place to go to and will be referred by the childrens office.
The entrance gates, which were provided by Nancy from kenyahelp, were moved and painted. The two huge dormitories and dining hall were divided up into smaller rooms. The building now has a house for the Director who will run the centre, two bedrooms with beautiful new white bunk beds fitted with new mattresses, duvets and lovely coloured covers on them with toilets and electric showers off them , a kitchen, dining room, TV room, Office, and three other rooms which can be used for meetings/workshops/ counselling. There are also three rooms for overseas volunteers, these volunteers pay a small amount to stay in the rooms and then help out in the centre for the duration of their stay. Many people from all over the world do this as it is a great way to help children while at the same time getting to see Kenya on a small budget. The entire building was painted inside and out and looked beautiful when in was finished. A playground, flowers and a roundabout planted with lovely plants finished off the front of the building which we hope will bring happiness to the girls who will live there.
It is vitally important that the centre becomes self sufficient as quickly as possible so before we went over we had decided to provide a greenhouse tunnel to enable the home to provide their own fruit and vegetables and also to be able to sell some to market. However when we got advice from the Ministry of Agriculture- thank you Jimmy- we realised that a fish pond and chickens and rabbits and eventually pigs was the better way to go..
Water shortage is always an issue in Kenya- the rainy season where everywhere is flooded followed by serious drought. This has been an issue which Paddy has always been keen to address so this year with his usual enthusiasm and drive decided to build a reservoir – this was dug out and lined with suitable plastic sheeting (sorry Paddy for the lack of the correct technical terms). During the rainy seasons the water from the roof is collected in huge plastic tanks, however these can fill within an hour and all the rest of the rain water is wasted, now when the tanks are full the water will flow into new overflow pipes and be piped into the reservoir, this water can be used for drinking for a period of time after which it can be used for watering the vegetables in the garden or on to the fish pond which is being dug out this week… exciting times ahead .. when the fish pond is complete and stocked we hope to be able to afford to start on our chicken project – buying day old chicks and rearing them until they are ready for sale… then eventually onto to pigs when finances allow… We will keep you posted …
There are so many people without whom our 2012 project could not have been so successful – you all know who you are and we thank you for your encouragement and help, without you all there would be no project. Finally thank you to Paddy… without you there would be no Cara Projects and children and volunteers would have missed out on so much .. keep that enthusiasm going.. I will thank our Kenyan workers, Kamau our foreman, John the carpenter, Dave the painter, James the electrician and all the guys who worked with them, your skills and capacity for hard work are amazing!