May 18-31, 2022
Participants: Jarek Campbell, Steve Conner, Theo Dillaha, Hallie Tucker, MaryGrace Van Dervort
- So much progress since our last trip in August 2019. 185 students in 6 grades now and 10 teachers plus staff.
- The Crane Classroom and Restroom Buildings are being fully utilized.
- The New Girls’ Dormitory is more than 95% complete and children are living in three wings. Electrical and plumbing systems complete. A few brick work deficiencies need to be completed/corrected.
- Children and staff seem healthy and happy and enthusiastic about learning and teaching.
- Students are very responsible. They do much of the cleaning work (buildings, clothes, grounds) and some older students work in the kitchen and assist with serving food, etc. All students clean their own dishes and clothes.
- Response to computers donated by Service without Borders and to computer classes offered by SWB students was great. Neither wanted to leave when classes were over. The school secretary and new public relations person are good with computers and will continue classes for teachers and students. The bookkeeper could probably help also.
- Power poles now come to school. During visit to school by district commissioner, he ordered the district electrical engineer to develop a plan to get electricity to school ASAP.
- District commissioner ordered water engineer to facilitate water supply improvement for the school (resolve land issues associated with new pipeline to school).
- Tom Neils was at the school when we arrived. He inspected the new dorm so he could make modifications to the design of the proposed boys dormitory. He is also working on a comprehensive site plan for the school.
- New PR person, Olar Paul seems great. I think we made a good investment. He is also going to teach computer classes at the school.
- School has outgrown its water supply. Water inadequate for good personal hygiene and construction of new buildings. Need new pipeline ASAP. Have asked Martha to update pipeline cost estimate given increase in cost of construction materials.
- School has outgrown the photovoltaic system donated by Service without Borders. Electricity is adequate during the day but power only lasts until 8:30 PM or so at night. Probably need a few more solar panels and batteries to extend power at night and in the early morning. Martha is requesting an analysis by a solar energy firm to see what expansion is needed to get us by until the school is connected to the public electrical grid (could be months to years).
- Cellular modem for wifi at the school works but is very slow. Seems like hotspots provided by newer cell phones are better. Situation not likely to improve until school gets satellite internet connection.
- There are currently no funds to buy additional bunk beds and furnishings for students moving to the new Girls’ Dormitory.
- Most students are using the Crane Restroom Building and it is overused. Situation should be changing now that the new dormitory is open as each of the 5 wings has 4 bathrooms with toilet, shower and sink. May need new water pipeline for all the new restrooms to be functional but situation will still be better even if water is short as children can bath and flush toilets with buckets of water.
- On some days we observed what appeared to be sewage rising to the surface near wastewater lines behind the dining hall. Did not know if this was the result of inadequate sewer line slope, partially blocked pipes or backup from the large septic tank. Construction of a second dormitory will require a second drain pit or other wastewater disposal option. Might be wise to consider putting in a three-cell waste stabilization pond system after the current drain pit. The first two cells would treat the waste and the third cell could be used to grow fish with any liquid effluent being used for irrigation. Wastes could bypass the drain pit and go directly to the ponds when the drain pit is periodically desludged. The ponds would need to be surrounded by a chain link fence or other barrier to keep humans and animals out. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waste_stabilization_pond
- MEF should release the remaining $7,874 budgeted for the Girls’ Dormitory so that construction can be completed. These funds should be adequate for completion of the necessary brick work and some minor roof truss issues.
- Water supply situation at the school must be addressed. MEF should start funding the new water pipeline ASAP.
- Some students are currently sleeping two to a bed and do not have any place to store their few personal belongings other than on their beds or in bags under their beds. Martha is preparing budget request for needed beds and storage lockers/units. Unclear to us how many additional beds are needed, probably about 24 so not a huge expense but also need mattresses, bedding, etc. We will see what Martha requests.
- MEF should fund a limited expansion of the school photovoltaic system to tide the school over until the school has public electricity. The photovoltaic system will still be needed after connection to the electrical grid because of public power system outages. There was an outage in Engaruka during our visit.
- A small electric drum cement mixer would improve the quality of concrete and mortar used for school construction by facilitating proper mixing and cement/sand/gravel rations. We should recommend its use on future MEF funded construction projects requiring concrete and mortar.