Thursday, August 21, 2008

Results from James

We visited the Rotary Club Kisumu... Any donations that Edward raises, either from AVIF or elsewhere, the Rotary Club will operate a policy of matched donations. ...I gave a short five minute presention to the members here in Kisumu, and I'm working on a powerpoint presentation to give to the Birmingham members next week. Even if AVIF can only provide half of the funds, 17,500 KSh, Rotary Club could provide the other half. how much the power connection will cost. The power line is already on the Mercy Home property. It just needs to be dropped into the building. This will cost 35,000 KSh. The internal wiring has already been done, though Edward owes 38,000 KSh for the job. The electrician was happy to wait for the money, and he's not charging interest, so only 35,000 KSh is needed for now.

At present Edward spends 6000 KSh on the kerosene and petrol needed for the generator, each month, which only provides power for two hours a day. With the power line connection, the supply will cost 1000 KSh each month, for 24 hour power. This will save 60,000 KSh a year, and is therefore of paramount importance. It will mean the girls will not have to strain their eyes using the oil lamps, and will save many of them needing glasses at an early age.

.. re. tailoring course, which Jessica is currently taking, is important for the girls to choose a realistic profession, and although tailoring is not particularly aspirational, it will be a living, regardless of the abundance of second-hand cloth in the Kenyan market. Women will always want new clothes of good first-hand quality, and everyone needs clothing repaired.

I recently asked the girls to write me an essay entitled, 'The Purpose of My Life.' I noticed that almost all mentioned becoming doctors, lawyers, or ministers. Having dreams and goals is essential to a child's happiness, but these dreams need to be within their grasp. I reckon only 5% of graduates in the UK become doctors, lawyers or ministers; the brightest of the bright. The girls all said things like 'I will put my faith in God, and my dreams will happen' as if by magic. I think only Leo realises it takes six to eight years of degree level study to become a doctor in Kenya. Praying to God keeps these girls going, but they must 'keep their powder dry' as well. As Edward says, they just need to earn their daily bread. Anything else is a bonus.
I visited St. Bakhita's Rescue Centre in Eldoret, run by Gilbert Arap Bor and Father Martin of the Slovakian Catholic Church, last weekend. They have a tailoring unit, a hairdressing unit, and a computer unit. They realise that most of the girls will end up in these three professions. What's more, the girls there are happy with these careers. I wouldn't dare stop the Mercy Home girls from fulfilling their potentials. But I don't want to see them over-reach themselves either. What a person can be, they must be.....Any less than that is a waste of talent, any more is not possible.

Inspirational words from an AVIF volunteer, inspired by his hosts in Kenya.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Solar cooking

We have more volunteers visiting the west of Kenya and are organizing another demonstration by Solar Cookers International (SCI) for the incredible invention that is SOLAR COOKING.

SCI has expanded its Kenya projects to two new communities: Kadibo, on the outskirts of Kisumu City, and Kajiado, to the south near the Kenya-Tanzania border.

Incredibly 20 local women have received training on how to make, use and sell solar CooKits (the cookers marketing name). During the first year of the project, SCI's John Amayo and others have conducted 69 public solar cooking demonstrations, 209 group demonstrations, and six radio broadcasts. The women have earned income from over 230 CooKits sold thus far. Adjacent communities have begun requesting demonstrations, including Kibos, Vihiga, Maseno, Ahero, Kano, Machakos, Makueni, Magadi, Ngong’, and Namanga.

Requests for group demonstrations can be directed via AVIF or directly; Eastern Kenya and northern Tanzania Stella Odaba Tel: 0723 274870; Western Kenya John Amayo Tel: 0733 756568