Bukati School-boy

Children of Bukati
U of Guelph Volunteer-Builders

Bukati School-girl


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One of the Bukati-Project Goals is:

Educate all AIDS orphans in Butula, Western Kenya

  • Provide pencils, pens and school uniforms to all AIDS orphans and destitute children in the rural village of Butula in Western Kenya so they can attend the Bukati Primary School.

    Ensure that girls are being educated, by aiming for approximately equal numbers of girls and boys to go to school. Currently 48% of the new AIDS orphans in the program are girls

    This Classroom-building project was done to enable the school to continue to grow, and take on new students.

Update: Email received on Thurs. August 6, 2009 from Dr. Cate Dewey in Kenya

Sunday, Randy and I drove to the Bukati school to meet the 13 University of Guelph students and Jamie VanderBerg (the U of Guelph Campus Minister) who raised the funds and have travelled to Butula to build a classroom. We arrived at the school an hour before the students. There were only a dozen students at the school - so it was a very quiet and unusual sensation - considering there are usually more than 1,000.

It gave me a chance to take video footage of the livestock without crowds of children standing in front of the camera. Once the students arrived in Butula, Nzuki (our driver) took us to town so the bus could follow us to the school. The bus was bright yellow and rather old. The top was piled with luggage - many filled with library books for the children. The group looked hot and tired - almost melted from the trip. There were several teachers and people from the parent committee to greet the students. We had a formal welcome and speeches in the teacher's room. I was filled with emotions of love and gratitude for this team who worked so hard all year to come to help this community. One of the students said they were excited to see this place that they had imagined and hope that it wasn't just a place that I had made up. That was pretty funny. But really, to share this project with that many U of Guelph people is awesome!

We looked around the school then drove to town and were put in a large room where we met some of Nick's friends and some of the host family representatives and then were offered tea. It was getting dark and I was so worried about getting the students to their homes. They had been on the road since 6 am. But, there is no rushing custom. We had to drink tea. Sure enough the dark descended and the driving rain came in sheets. We were sorting bags and students, trying to match pairs of students to host families. We ended up driving 2 young men to a home that was a treacherous 30 minute drive away over muddy, slippery narrow paths between sugar cane. We finally came to a house with a lantern in the window. It felt rather scary dropping the students off at this place but I had to remember the sense of adventure of youth and the fact that 20 year olds are invincible.

Two days later, when we visited the school, the students were full of excitement, telling me of their host families, how great the children are and even, how hard it will be to leave when the time comes. I still feel such gratitude toward this group and Jamie, their leader. I also feel so fortunate to be part of the University of Guelph community. Today, when I said goodbye to the students and Jamie, I had a sense of being part of the group and yet separate. I look forward to learning more about the Butula community through their stories and memories.
Lots of love, Cate

Jamie VanderBerg is in the last row, to the right of the sign, behind the girl in the Blue top. Jamie is the University of Guelph Campus Minister, who organized the students, along with Jen and Jared. The students came from vaious faculties, but all were students at the U of Guelph.

The students raised $11,000 to pay for the building materials, and then covered their own travel costs themselves.

Above: This is the area where the new classroom-building will be built.
At the extreme left is a roof, which is the kitchen. To its right is an open area with bricks, which is the spot for the new classroom. To its right is the Grade 7 & 8 classroom with the iron-sheet roof, which was built in 2008.

Above: The principal, Nick, explaining to Cate where the new classroom will be going.

Above: Getting Started

Above: You can now see the walls.

Above: The finished product - another new classroom.

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Copyright © 2009

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Updated November 28, 2009