Tuesday, July 17, 2007

KENYA 2007

As most of you know, I have recently returned from my third trip to Kenya. The group I went with was called Reach the Children but is now World of Difference. We have been working on the same school every summer and I must say that it is really coming along. I have included 2 pictures from the first two years so you can see the difference.

Summer of 2005-The first year I went to Kenya we arrived to find a mostly empty lot (we had to take down a little structure) where we were to build a school called Vessel of Hope. We spent our time working on the foundation and then the walls for the first floor.

Summer of 2006-The second year we worked on building the second floor.

Summer of 2007-This year we worked on cleaning up the two floors. We put a roof over the second floor, plastered 3 rooms, built shelves for the library, cleaned up the outside of the school, cleaned up the upstairs classrooms so they could be used, and fixed the road in front of the school.

Why Kenya?

Some people me ask why I keep going back to Kenya. It is hard to put into words but these pictures help explain. My first year we met a girl we all called "Green Dress" only because no one knew her name. She wasn't in school so she didn't know any English. We found out later her name was Sarah and her parents were dead. She was being taken care of by neighbors. I didn't see her smile much that first year.

My second year she was in school and was a totally different kid. She was always smiling and had learned some English. This year she was all smiles and has learned so much. It has been awesome seeing her growth.

The Project

This year we plastered 3 rooms. We thought we would be able to help but it turns out that plastering Kenya style is not easy.

I have to be prefectly honest, I sucked. So, it was obvious that Kenyans should plaster and we would be support.

Plastering has many different steps. There are like 6 different layers of stuff and then they smooth it out.

As support we had to sift the sand because it had been sitting out too long. Kids had started to play on it so it was clumpy. Sometimes in Kenya you do something just to do it again later. Here is Joe and me working hard sifting sand with our hands.

After seeing the kids playing in the nastiest water I have ever seen, we decided to fix the road with the dirt that was everywhere upstairs. Jeff and Chevy helped make a slide so that it was easier to move the dirt from upstairs to the road.
The slide really helped. Notice the nasty green water and yes, the kids were playing in it.

We tried to make a canal system so the water wouldn't go everywhere. We were really proud of our road and the lack of stagnet water.

We didn't make any desks this year but we fixed them. I decided to use child labor and I put the kids to work. They were always eager to help and they are really fast.

Another task we worked on was chiseling the outside bricks so that they can fill it in again but make it look nicer. It is a little random but that is how they do things. Here is Joe and me working on the front of the school.

Here is Bo and Chevy working on the side. They worked on that wall for most of the day.

This is the finished product.

We only had enough money to cover 4 of the 6 rooms with a cement slab (the ceiling for the second floor) so we had to make a roof to cover the last 2 rooms. Here is Amy aka Danger and me sawing the wood beams that we used to build the tin roof..

After the walls were plastered in the new library room Brian and friends built shelves for the books we have brought over the last 3 years.
The last day at the site several of the girls on the team organized the books. It looked totally amazing afterwards.

Electriciy is now close enough that the school will have it soon. An electrian came in and hooked up the bottom floor so they can have light!

Here is one of the second floor rooms with a concrete roof. They hold up the slab with wood planks. We cleaned up the 4 rooms so that they could have class as soon as the slab is dry.

This is a claasroom on the second floor where we built the wood/tin roof. We cleaned up the two rooms so that they could have class in them the next day. Here is Bo and Michelle aka "Jessica" after we finished setting the room up.
The second floor rooms are bigger and have natural light so they were excited to use them. We fit as many desks as we could find so that all the kids would fit. They put at least 3 kids in each desk, sometimes 4.


stacie s said...

Cat... I love it! These pics are amazing. I want to go. I can't wait to hear more details! welcome home and stop living such an adventurous life.. it makes the rest of us look bad.

whitney said...

what you wrote about "green dress" made me cry. this is so awesome! i love all the pictures of these amazing kids and i love all the fun videos... especially "hairy ape" and the cute giggle. you're awesome cat.

Jacob said...

Love, love, love, love, love it. Thank you for updating us. We can't wait to meet up with you there again one day.
-Maren and Jake

f*bomb. said...

Little Green Dress always struck a chord with me. To see her smiling like that...my eyes welled up. I wish I could hold her and hug her again! Thank you, Cat!!! Thank you.
That library is FANTASTIC! So colourful...I bet the kids went nuts for it!

Rachel said...

wow, you amaze me. I have always wanted to do something like that!