Iko Tayari, It’s ready!

So, if you’ve been keeping up with me then you know about a month ago I applied for a grant through Water Charities that funds small water projects for Peace Corps Volunteers. I am in love with this grant! The application process was super simple, and they fund projects based on donations without waiting for volunteers to raise all their own money, meaning its speedy!

If you would like to donate to water charities go here! http://www.appropriateprojects.com/node/1425

So, I was really interested in doing a rain water catchement tank with a school because it helps eliminate the need for the students to carry water to school everyday and because rainwater is a relatively clean water source. I eventually got hooked up with Shibuche Primary, a school in my village. From the get go they have been awesome to work with!

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The school’s previous water storage

The Deputy (vice principal) took the initiative to contract a fundi (carpenter) and make a project budget with him, Meaning, I did none of the ground work, it all came from the school! This is exactly the kind of initiative we want to see. Furthermore, he has been on time for all our meetings (a rareity in Kenya) and went on to discuss with me his goals for water access and the development of the school. The school currently has a tree seedling project, some of which they have planted on school grounds and others they sell and in turn use the money to supplement non-government paid teacher salaries. This is great because there is a big deforestation problem in Kenya, and the seedlings are something their new tank can help supplement watering. Not to mention I’d much rather see teacher salaries paid through a school income generating activity, than through school fees from a supposedly “free” primary education in Kenya.

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Construction has been underway, and today it is finished! Last week we were able to reassess the materials we needed and set a contract with a plumber to install the piping from the gutters to the tank and install a tap to access the water once it’s collected. Now, they have all worked very fast and the school has an operational water tank! We also discussed the possibility of putting cement around the tank to protect it from weather damage or vandalismbut there wasn’t room in the grant budget to do so. However, when I showed up at the school today it was done! The deputy was able to find some wire mesh in the fencing that was becoming weak but could be suitable to use for the cementing around the tank, and it turns out there was enough cement to finish it! It is awesome to see leadership within the school, a willingness to contribute, and that they are not treating like like a gift from a donor they are really owning and invested in it. Now, we just have to wait for rainy season to start! I am really excited to have been a part of this project and thankful for the support from back home.

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As a gift to me for my help with the project, the school gave me a chicken! I was very excited, not only that they were thoughtful enough to give me a gift, but because I have been wanting to slaughter one! Now, let me say that before Peace Corps I was a vegetarian for 7 years and growing up in a city of 2 million people I never had a very intimate relationship with where my food came from. Slaughtering a chicken is practically a Peace Corps right of passage and I was all about it! I proudly took the chicken home and displayed it to my supervisor. When his wife came home, we prepared boiling water for defeathering and she helped me get the chicken in position and handed me the knife. It was the moment of truth and to tell you the truth, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I cut til I hit bone and kept my feet firmly planted on its wings and feet until movement ceased. We deafeathered and then my supervisor showed me how to properly take it apart, which seemed a lot like my high school anatomy class. Then we had a delicious chicken and rice dinner together! This is one of those moments where I like to joke that “I have become an African woman”.

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Stumbled across this today as well, an open letter to prospective volunteers. A great summary of the Peace Corps experience! http://thesharpiemarkerapproach.tumblr.com/post/42420977797/an-open-letter

Lastly, check out this great video I recently found! It gives a great perspective on life in the US. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxyhfiCO_XQ

About elizabethmatthew

Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Kenya
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