We’ve been in Kakamega now for 10 days and only got one day left here before we head back to Nairobi via Lake Nakuru. It’s been a great reminder out here, as usual, that makes you realise how much we take for granted.
We have spent much of the week at the school with a mixture of painting some of the classrooms and teaching the children (and another project I’ll put in another post).
It has been great to see how the school is coming on. The secondary school has a completed classroom and science lab and a number of teachers to teach all the different subjects. Given that there are only 22 pupils at the moment in the secondary school that is a huge cost on RUSH at the moment. They also found out in the past week that one of the teachers (english and history) is going back to university and in fact only used the job as a filler without telling RUSH (meaning that they only got a school term of work out of him) and now need to find someone else.
Illness and death have also been a big feature of the week. Their second son, Eric, came back from school with Malaria and Typhoid and spent three days in the clinic on a drip. Andrew’s aunt died and the husband of one of the girls that they rescued from Kibera slums also died meaning that they had to go to two funerals yesterday. He died of pneumonia leaving his widow (about 28) and 7 children behind.
But even though there is always pressure and struggles it is truly amazing to see the faith of Andrew and Lucy shining out. Always giving thanks to what they have.
Finance is, as always, never enough to do everything that they need. One of the areas that they are investigating is to build more dormitories so that they can allow parents to choose between either getting their child to school themselves or to boarding. They see that this could save a huge amount on petrol and on vehicles.
One area that does look like it may help somewhat is the hall. Sophie and Heidi created some posters for Hall hire and it is one of the largest in the area that could well help to create some income from rental – for weddings or business meetings etc. They have been given a load of cement by someone here who saw their work and wanted to be involved and help – they now just need some more sand – so if you think you can help then do contact David Silcock (at Springfield) or Joan at RUSHUK. We think that about another few hundred pounds would allow the school to concrete the floor and have a great place to rent out (they currently have about 25 bags of cement and a lorry load of sand. They need another 2 loads of sand and 30 bags of cement).
In terms of buildings one of the skills of a friend who has stayed here a few days is that he is an architect. He has given Lucy and Andrew some really good advice on building construction. Two things that he immediately noticed were that the damp-proofing wasn’t to a good standard (meaning that the walls crumble) and that the concrete on the floor needs to be deeper. These two things in new buildings would help ensure longer lasting buildings (it is also why they are short of sand and cement).
There are also some significant steps forward in terms of provision. There is now the basis for a library (but they need more books for it) and for an IT room that needs setting up fully. It’s great to see the increasing facilities at the school
Most of the children have finished the term but years 7 & 8 are still in school (still waking up by 5am each morning!) working each morning on revision for their exams. The exams next term are important for the children and also for the school. As one of the recognised best schools in the area it is one of the key ways that they can get more fee-paying children. They currently only have abut 60-70 fee paying children out of over 300 and they would love to get to a spit of 1:1 on fee paying vs non-fee paying.
Small other details have included a 24 hour water and power cut – we lost them early on Sunday evening and didn’t get them back until about 9pm last night. So, less water to wash in and candles to see by. The days have been glorious but we have usually had to run for cover in the late afternoon.
Indeed on Friday we painted during the day and headed off to get a Tuk-Tuk up at the main junction (about 1/2 hours walk from school). By the time we got to the junction it was pouring with rain. So, we popped into a hotel there (called Jamindas). Never been in therefore – turns out to be a bit of a dive! As we went in I saw a Tuk-Tuk and asked him if he could take 4 of us to Kakamega. He said he would be 20 minutes as he had a fare. That was fine so we went to get a drink. 3 minutes later he had turned up! I suspect he threw his fare out! We piled the girls in to get to the Golf hotel and asked him to come back for Sean and me.
We discovered later that they had a very “interesting” journey. It was raining so hard that they couldn’t see where they were going and at one point were on the opposite side of the road! They were having to hold the flaps of the Tuk-Tuk down to protect them from the rain and they all screamed when someone jumped into the back of the Tuk_tuk (though they said he was more frightened by their response than they were!) – not realising that Tuk-Tuk’s pick up as many people as possible!
In the meantime Sean and I were talking to a guy in Pamindas who turned out to be VERY drunk! All in all an adventure!
Isabella and Becky had their first experience of a motorbike Boda-Boda (they seem to have increased a lot and taking over from the bicycle varieties rapidly) which was great fun to get us back to Lucy and Andrew’s before the rain struck.