Saturday, March 21, 2009

Be Hope To Her (B H2o+)

Be Hope to Her is a Nuru sponsored event that will cover several campuses across the country. College girls who sign up for the event will carry buckets on their head to a water source and then fill their bucket and carry it back, on their head, to where they started. For example, at WVU the girls will carry their buckets from the Mountainlair (student center) all the way down to the Mon River and back up a steep incline. The college boys, who will not be carrying water, will be alongside the route to give information to the onlookers of the event.

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness on the subject of water. Water, for everyone is necessary to sustain life, whether you live in the United States or Kenya. However, for Kenyans (and most of the developing world) using that necessity is quite laborious. Girls can spend up to 10 hours a day just getting water-- this doesn't include getting firewood or cooking, or--not to mention--going to SCHOOL! These girls and women, ages ranging from 4-64, walk for miles to get this life-sustaining necessity.

Ok, well I'm not going to talk much more on the subject because you have all heard it before..and the more I talk about it, the more these girls that I know become a general "that's too bad for them." So, instead, I challenge you to spend 5 minutes watching the BH2o+ video and maybe even check out the website further. This problem of water directly affects the problem of girls going to school, so it's intertwined with my work.

Here's the link. You won't regret watching it-- it's an amazingly crafted video, from an art perspective.

If you feel like you want to get to know these people more, go to and watch the video, Portraits of Kuria, which is another amazing,short film.

Friday, March 20, 2009

just a small note...

The kitchen

The living room

My room (Janine's old room)

Hey everyone!

The other day I added some new pics of the old house and, as of today, we moved into the new house next door Pictures above). The reason for the move was that Foundation Team One left for the States today (4 a.m.). Early this morning, FT2 awoke to send off FT1 and in the same token, they officially passed the hat to us. Nicole and Doug are off to fight Extreme Poverty in Africa from the States until Nuru heads to Malawi next year (which is the normal rotation); and Janine and Jake are home until June and then return to the field with FT2.

We made the move because the house that FT2 was staying in is not yet finished and so the Fundis (workmen) can finally finish the house. Then, when Janine and Jake return, they will stay in our old house. As you can see from the pictures from earlier in the week, the old house wasn't that bad off (although some referred to it as a jail cell)-- mainly just some painting and final touches.

The nice thing about both houses is that the shower head is hooked to the electricity so that we get hot water straight from the shower head. Our only current challenge is with the pump, so as of late, we have no running water, but that should be fixed again by tomorrow. When we don't have running water, there is a spring very close to the house for fetching "clean" water. Actually, the spring water is probably clean, it's the jerry cans we use that are questionable. So we filter our drinking water and boil it for coffee and tea, but its clean enough for bathing and washing without assistance.

On to the schools:
Thanks to everyone who prayed for me in finding a CDC Chairman for Education. In the last blog I posted a picture of Francis Magige. He's a retired teacher of 30 yrs and offers much wise counsel. I think he's going to make a great chairperson for Nuru.
We've been going around to the 8 different schools the past 2 weeks and already he has added so much to the meetings. Such as his ability to speak in-and-out of English, Kiswahili, and Kikuria, to name one attribute. He also offered advice to one of the headmasters to start keeping records of those who drop out of school and those who stay-- yes, they really didn't have those.
Another thing to mention is that Francis is ALWAYS on time, if not early!! That is a rarity here in Africa. As they say in Swahili "haraka, haraka, hiena, baraka" (hurry, hurry brings no blessing). My Kiswahili teacher had a rebuttal to that statement when I repeated it to him: "pole pole huumiza matumbo" (slowly slowly brings pain to the belly).

Well, I'd love to update more, but it's getting about that time for dinner prep, as I can smell from my room...

I'd like to let you all know that I changed my settings for the COMMENTS section of my blog so that ANYONE can enter a comment without having to register an account. Just click "anonymous." Also, I added a "wish list" to the right-hand column; and the links to my fellows teammates' blogs. Lastly, Please check out the Be Hope To Her website and watch the video. It's great!! The link is:


Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Introducing Francis Magige, my newly hired CDC Chairman for Education:

Here is the other team's house, soon to be our house. The one we are staying in now is just to the left.

The Kitchen:

The living room:

My African and American Kanga that serves as a curtain in my room:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Retired Teachers Council

Yesterday I met with the 5 retired teachers in the area to discuss the history of the schools and what can come of the future of education for Nyametaburo and Nyangiti. The meeting went awesome and I learned a lot about the school system here and about the history of schooling in this area. For example, in 1938 an Italian priest established a primary school in Isibania. Isibania (where I live) is an hour and a half's walk from Nyametaburo; and so any student from the surrounding area would have to walk that distance to school everyday in addition to their chores at home (farming,etc). It wasn't until 1960 that a primary school was opened in Nyametaburo, and 1993 was when the first school in Nyangiti was established. There are 6 prominant schools in total: 1 secondary and 5 primary. The remaining schools are as follows: Taragwiti, 1985; Siori Simba, 1990s; Isibania secondary school, 1968 (so children all over had to walk there for secondary ed); and Nyametaburo Secondary was opened in the past 5 years.

One of the retired teachers told me that they walked that 1 1/2 hours to and from school everyday in order to finish high school. He said that at one point he became discouraged and wanted to quit, but then Philip Mahochi's dad (Nuru's CDC Chairaman's dad) convinced him that he should keep pressing on so that he can be a role model for the other kids in his area and go onto University. So that is what he did. As we listened to his story, the other retired teachers echoed it with their own. From these experiences you can see the importance of having quality school in each area.

The RTC (retired teachers council) discussed with me the reason that many of the boys are dropping out of school. Around here dried maize and other grains are popular for growing and selling. The young boys see that they can earn some cash loading sacks of grain onto the trucks; and they also see that the boys who have graduated high school are doing the same, so they drop out of school and sit around until there is a truck to be loaded.

In stating this, the RTC stressed the need for a model school that can be seen by the community and surrounding communities as a school of prestige. Additionally, I had mentioned to them that I am thinking about a vocational center, and they too agreed that a vocational center would be key for those boys who graduated and doing basically nothing. One key point that they made was to offer classes in the morning and the evening so that the vocational students can go to work during the day and not be tempted to drop out. As far as the students who are at a normal high school, they will see how that there is additional training offered after high school, which will give them incentive to finish school.

** I would just like to add that all these are just ideas for now and nothing is set in place just yet. For the next 2 months I will be doing research and collecting data from the area to see what the basic needs are and establish a baseline of what a zero is equivalent to here (eg: zero= 1 secondary school with no desks or school supplies; and 10= 2 fully functional Secondary schools). So for now, I'm discussing these ideas with the RTC, but keeping my eyes and ears open to everything, and from there will decide my first move. **

The other thing we discussed was teacher training. One of my goals within the next 2 months is to visit the surrounding teacher colleges and get to know their curricula. Secondly, I'd like to convince them that they want to send a professor, at a reduced cost, once a month to the Nyametaburo area to teach a course and/or seminar so that slowly, slowly the teachers can receive certification.

Yesterday I also met with the entire staff of the secondary school and they echoed that they'd like to have training whilst maintaining their jobs at the school.

Today, I am in hot pursuit of finding a CDC officer for education (Community Development Committee). My deadline is next week. Please pray that I find a person of character who also knows a lot about the education system here. After lunch I am meeting with one of the retired teachers, Bramwell, to walk around to some of the mud and stick primary schools. He doesn't know that he's a candidate for CDC Officer. By walking around with him today, I will see if he is good for the position. Throughout rest of this week, I'm meeting with the different members of the RTC to pick the very best one. Just so you know, the reason I'm going for a retired teacher is because if there is actually a good teacher in a school, I surely do NOT want to pull them away from their duties. A good teacher, who is a person of noble character is a gold mine!

BTW, I took pictures of the house, but I still need to download them. But for now, here some pics I took using the photo booth application on my Mac. Here's a picture of my house, of the compound gate and our beautiful view, and of the day guard, Peter and I.

Oh, and also, the name: RTC, I just made it up yesterday. There is no official Retired Teacher's Council, but I would love for them to meet with me semi-regularly for wise council.