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One of the Bukati-Project Goals is Sustainability:

Develop school projects that will generate income to enable the community to support their children without outside assistance. The project started about February 2007. We expect the school to be fully sustainable by February 2013.

Following email was received on Sat. July 25, 2009 from Dr. Cate Dewey in Kenya

Yesterday, Nick gave me an update on the school.

The number of students continues to grow. Nick said deaths from AIDS does not appear to be slowing down. Children attending the school who were not part of our program last year, have joined the program this year because their parents have died. There is also an influx of orphans from the surrounding area. A child who was attending another school will often move to live with relatives in this school district when their parents die of AIDS. Rather than staying with another relative in the old school district, they will move so they can get lunch at school. Nick does not see this progression slowing down. Most of the new children in grade 2 to 8 are orphaned. The new children in kindergarten and grade 1 students are not.

Food prices are still terribly high and are predicted to stay that way. As an example, a tin of corn was 20 shillings in the fall, went to 90 shillings in March and is still at 80 shillings. There has been a terrible drought across Kenya so even when the harvest happens next month, the yield will be low. Feeding 681 children will be very expensive for COB.

The school board has extended school by 1 week. Nick said he hopes that he can stretch the current food stores to feed the children for this extra week but this has worried him.

We discussed long term sustainability of the project and how best to expand the livestock operations. Of course, this depends on market opportunities for products. There is an increasing and insatiable market for milk and eggs. Nick hopes to grow napier grass on the 6 acres of land that is rented and then expand the dairy operation to 4 cows. The school delivers milk to a depot in Butula where it is picked up for processing. He would like to expand the laying hen operation to 300 hens. People who own hotels send buyers to the field to purchase eggs. If the school can produce a large number of eggs on a regular basis, they can get a contract with the hotels. Nick would like an equal number of meat birds. He will need to expand the cow barn to hold the new cows and build a second chicken coup. He will use some breeds for eggs and others for meat. He will let the 8 sheep multiply to grow the herd. They are cheap to keep because they eat the grass in the yard. He expects to keep the pig operation at 3 sows but wishes to buy a boar with improved genetics. That would be an excellent resource for the community.

Nick said the children are still doing the work for the livestock and gardens, because 'it is their school and their project and they must own the responsibility." I appreciate that attitude. He also said that the teachers continue to mentor the children because they also must participate because they too benefit.

The photos on this page show that this goal is progressing very nicely.

Nick, the Principal, will let the 8 sheep multiply to grow the herd. They are cheap to keep because they eat the grass in the school-yard.

Above: The white and black cow is named Norval, purchased with money raised by the children at the Norval United Church, Georgetown, Ontario.

Above: More of the school cattle. Nick wants to expand the cow barn to hold the new cows.

Above: The school sow in the pig barn on the school property.

Above: Geese that were donated to the school

Above: The tree seedling project was smaller this year due to the drought.

Above: Trying to protect the seedlings from the harsh sun.

Above: Kale growing at the school

Above: On the way to the school, Cate encounted the Bukati school-children walking to school, but each carrying a stick.

Above: So, why are they all carrying a stick?

Above: Each day, a different class has the responsibility to bring in a stick, to be used as fire-wood to cook lunch.

Above: The well continues to operate as a valuable source of water.

Update: Email received on Mon. July 27, 2009 from Dr. Cate Dewey in Kenya

We spent Saturday at the Bukati Primary School. There are now over 1,000 children at the school, 11 staff members paid for by the government (including the principal and vice-principle) and another 5 teachers paid for by the parents. Most of the students and staff came to school on Saturday to be with us. As we drove in, the children were lining the driveway on both sides, singing a welcoming song. It was quite moving and wonderful to see them again.

Randy and I met with Nick and the chair and treasurer of the school council. Pamela is still the treasurer but there is a new chairman - Peter, who is a retired teacher. He has been assisting Nick with the land purchase. Peter said that since we began the program, there has been a remarkable change in the children. They are healthier because they are eating regularly and a more balanced diet. He also said the morale of the children has greatly improved and now they are happy and cheerful. With the uniform program the children are all on an equal footing.

The academic performance continues to improve. There is a lot of competition in grade 8 to try to get one of the two sponsorships for high school.

I thanked the committee for their attention to detail in keeping receipts and told them that the Canadian auditors were pleased with the records last year. I reminded them that our support will end in 2012. Currently the school is short 2 classrooms so these pupils congregate under trees. The University of Guelph students will build one class and the second will be built with money from a Kenyan government program. For the latter, to qualify, the parents had to donate 20 percent of the cost of the structure. They are also short 200 desks so many children are back sitting on the floor.

There is a desperate need for latrines (out houses). They are short 6 for boys and 11 for girls. The public health has served them with a notice saying without the latrines, the school will be closed down. The latrines will cost $10,800 Canadian dollars.

We talked about the problem of over crowding and attracting extra students to this school with the staff. Our only option would be to stop supporting this school and move to a neighbouring school or sharing the resources amongst several schools. We did promise to help this school for 6 years. The staff wish for us to continue to support their school as promised and they will deal with the high student numbers.

Above: The public health department has condemned these latrines, and has served them with a notice saying without the latrines, the school will be closed down. The latrines will cost $10,800 Canadian dollars to replace.

Above: There is a desperate need for latrines (out-houses). They are short 6 for boys and 11 for girls. The larger buildings are the newer latrines.

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Copyright © 2009

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Updated Oct. 11, 2009