18/05/18. Otange and Ndhiwa hospital primary
Early swim and then changed into tidy clothes as we got ready for the handover at Otange, tidy that is in a clean tshirt. Breakfast, cornflakes, pancakes with pan fried potato in a tomato sauce, bread.
The goodie bag and the filtration pump loaded into the hotel minibus along with some of the tools, we still need to recover the wash tank and stand from the welder and concrete into position. Sam will undertake this whilst the rest of us take part in the handover event. Arriving on site at 10:00 it is encouraging to see several people sat in the shade of the trees. Mrs Lencer greets us and we arrange to move a couple of tables into the stand of trees, one as a demonstration table the other to display the goodies.
The children are starting to arrange a line of chairs for us and moving school forms and desks out for themselves and parents to sit at. I unpack the filtration pump and then set to to create some dirt water for the demonstration, either that or someone would need to walk off and carry me dirty water. Job complete, with assistance from Adam and Mrs Lencer we laid out the goodies as best as possible, they certainly proved attractive to the children and Mrs Lencer shooed them all back and away. As we were setting up I caught sight of the bullocks and cart moving off to collect the wash stand. Adam and Tim set to blowing up a dozen balloons that they threw out to the seated children.
Mr Nicholas Andiego, the deputy head stood and welcomed everyone, he thanked us for our work and the opportunity it provided for the school. He then handed over to the Chair of the management board, the board itself made up of 8 women, 6 men and 1 student representative. The Chair repeated the thanks and said how impressed he was with the work and how quickly it had been completed. These speeches had initially been delivered in the ‘mother tongue’ Swahili, but with each of the speakers able to repeat to us in English, in fact although they use it very little the children are all taught English. If you take the time and gain their confidence you can have very good conversations with them.
Tom then responded on behalf of WfK, explaining the work of the charity, not only in Kenya, but Zambia and Uganda. He explained that the infrastructure that we had created was now the property of the community, that they must look after and take care of it. He went on to say how similar projects elsewhere were still in use over 12 years after installation. Tom’s words were translated by Mrs Lencer for the benefit of the parents. Tom having finished I stood to demonstrate the filtration unit. I thanked the assembled group for attending and what a privilege it was for me to have taken part in this project. I initially took a glass of water from my ‘pond’, priming the pump, I changed the valves and continuing to pump produced the clean water. I took a sip and then offered the glass to the chair of the board who shared it with the deputy head. I explained the workings of the pump and how if looked after it would give them years of service, Mrs Lencer had been doing Stirling work translating. I said that I would show senior pupils and staff in more detail how to use and look after the pump.
Whilst my demo was receiving a round of applause I moved across to the goodies table. I explained how all the volunteers had gathered together donations and gifts to bring out with us to Kenya. I told the gathering that we had divided up the gifts equally between the 4 schools we were working at. I said that we hoped that whilst there was not enough for everyone, at least with the balls everyone could be involved in games. We all hoped that the staff could use the other items, soaps, sewing kits, bracelets, small rugby balls, pencils pens and tshirts to help encourage work within the school. I then told how as a group we had decided to repair the damaged water tank, have a new base created, which they could see was already under construction, and to include the repaired tank into the system we had already installed.
Barbara and Elaine then rose and taking over the demo table set out the hand wash kit. They explained how they had been working with the children on hand hygiene and wanted now to show just what they had done. 2 volunteers arrived from the school children and with the cohort singing the ‘Wash your hands’ song they had all been taught , demonstrated the process. Elaine then invited up any parents who may care to have a go, one man and one woman swiftly came forward and again with the children singing and Barbara and Elaine helping they went through the process.
As they sat down the deputy head, Mr Andiego stood and said that the pupils would like to say something. A senior boy and then a senior girl took turns in thanking us for the gifts we had given them and saying what a difference the water would make to their school days, how during the rainy season at least they would not need to bring water from home to school.
We thought at this juncture the event was over, when Mrs Lencer announced that the younger year pupils would also like to say something. With that a group of perhaps twenty stood to the side and started singing in Swahili, they swayed down into the demonstration area, finished their song and then walked back away.
Again we thought this was the end when a stirring female voice started up at the head of another 20 or so more senior pupils ‘Hallo to our visitors, we are happy singing today, sit you down and listen to us, Otange pupils sing today’ the remaining singers joined in as as a chorus as they all danced down into the demonstration area. Here they stopped parading, but carried on with the song and dance whilst Mrs Lencer was encouraging members of the volunteers to join in the dance line. As the singers had started dancing down, a lone African drum had joined in as they moved providing the perfect accompaniment, unfortunately I was unable to find the player or their instrument of which there was no sign before or after their event. What an incredible emotive climax to our morning. I took a bracelet from the gift table and having spoken with Mrs Lencer presented it to the soloist
At sometime during the event the bullocks, cart and Sam had returned complete with the washstand. Sam had then carried on working and had the base concreted in place. Our time here now complete we shook hands exchanged thanks and gathering our belongs headed off for Ndhiwa hospital primary in the hotel minibus. Enroute we collected the 2.5″ pipes that had been overnighted on the bus from Nairobi for us. We also gathered up a carpenter to come with us to the school. Whilst sitting on the veranda of the new building on an earlier occasion, I had been surprised how cool it was in the shade and what a breeze there was in this area. Speaking with Sam, I’d asked him for an estimate of what it would cost to provide bench seating along the length of the veranda.
Arriving at the school I went to speak with the senior teacher on site to explain what we were up to, finish off the installation now the water pipes had arrived and provide hand washing education classes. She was happy with this and said that once the pupils returned from lunch (2 hours- to allow time for walking home eating and walking back again). I asked that we use the new classroom as it was larger and we could get bigger groups in there in the shade. She agreed with this, the classroom not yet in use and said she would divide the pupils into 2 groups for us. I then explained my idea for providing seating along the veranda, she thought this an excellent idea. I then asked about meeting with the parents, board of management and of course the pupils for a formal handover of the scheme, asking if it was possible to arrange for Monday. She felt this was to difficult but that we could do this on Tuesday at 10:00.
I joined Sam and the carpenter on the veranda and we took measurements, we could provide around 35 feet of seating in this area. The price still to be fixed, as the head carpenter had not been in the shop, we shook hands. I joined Tom in completing the installation whilst Barbara and Elaine with occasional assistance from Les and Tim worked through the hand wash sessions. Our work completed, all unused equipment gathered together and tools packed up, we loaded all these on a boda boda and we then walked back to the hotel.
For me time for a swim before dinner.
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