Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hakuna Matata

I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since we returned from Kenya! This past year has flown by! It was only last spring when Joyce, director of Water is Life Kenya, met our Chapter for the first time. We were officially approved to take on the Kenya Rainwater Catchment Project at Imurtot Primary School in July. By October, we were on our way to Imurtot for our first assessment trip. The travel team members included me, Ashley, Kathleen, and Tad. Upon arrival in Nairobi we met Joyce, Sadera, and “the beast” (the Land Rover we would spend the next week traveling around in).

Kim, Ashley, Kathleen, Joyce, and Sadera with "the beast"

The following day we traveled to Loitokitok, the town nearest to Imurtot Primary School. When we reached the school we were eagerly greeted by over 500 students! 

Joyce greeting some of the students

After we were introduced, a group of students performed a song that they had prepared for us. The song included verses such as “We need water in our lives.. Please our visitors we need water.”

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At that point, we really felt the weight of the task ahead of us. The school currently does not have a water supply. They tried drilling a well in 2015, but never reached water. The geology of the region makes it a risky location for drilling. The students have to walk to a water source every morning and carry their water to school.

After class resumed, we had a meeting with a group of community members, parents, and teachers. The Project Partnership Agreement (which outlines the roles/responsibilities of Imurtot, EWB, and Water is Life Kenya) was translated and read aloud. After all the questions were answered, all parties agreed upon the requirements, and the Project Partnership Agreement was signed!
Signing the Project Partnership Agreement

EWB, Water is Life Kenya, and Imurtot

The next two days were spent measuring school buildings and taking photographs. The science teacher assisted Tad with installing a rain gauge at the school, so that the students can assist in collecting local precipitation data. We visited hardware stores to determine material availability and cost. We also stopped to assess existing water projects in the area, and took note of what worked well and what could be improved upon.

Rain Gauge

Our departure from Kenya was bittersweet. We were glad to have had such a successful trip, but were sorry to say goodbye to all of our new friends.

The assessment trip is over, but this is just the beginning! Now that we’ve seen firsthand the need for water at Imurtot Primary School, we are even more motivated to return and implement the project.We hope to send another team later this year.

- Kim Teoli