By Stephen Ooko: lightly edited by Beverly Stone - Project volunteer
Lilian, the Center Coordinator
The learning center is open and running. Maggie Smith was there in September. She spent days doing catalogs of the books at the library. I was there during that time and the work she did is very great. I really appreciate on behalf of the RCPUSA, the community and the Learning Center.
Though the learning center is running well, there is still more to be done and money is badly needed. Supplies are needed, for example; paper, ink cartridges, toner etc. Lilian's salary also. A pit latrine is badly needed as Lilian has to cross over to the other side of the compound. People coming to the Learning Center also need a latrine. Some maintenance is needed as well. We await the expansion of the learning center to the other available rooms. Plastering, painting and installation of electricity is necessary. The purchase of books in line with the Kenyan education curriculum will help students who cannot afford to buy them. They will be able to come to Learning Center and study.
We got a better printer and it is good in both quality and reliability compared to the others we had, but the toner it uses is very expensive.
The traffic that we had earlier went down during the power shortage then before it could rebuild, the strike occurred in schools. The schools rely on the Learning Center for services.
As we did not expect traffic to rise immediately, the progress is promising. Indeed, the Learning Center and especially the library is one of the best things in the Rabondo community and we cannot afford to lose it. It really supported students who were out of school due to the strike. They found a place in the Library at the Learning Center conducive to study.
I am sure the Learning Center will achieve self-sustainability. I expect the traffic to start building up soon. I anticipate that there will be a lot of work as the election is nearing. People will visit for various services; pictures, posters, ID processing documents etc.
Women and children are benefiting very much from the program. Women train and embrace the culture. Therefore, its continuity is important for the community.
Nick adding the final touches to the EAGLE SHELTER
Summer Day Camp is over for 2012. Season extenders will go on for the entire month of October. This provides opportunities for home schoolers, teachers in public school and individual campers to continue their education until hunting season begins.
This summer Nick was awarded the FIRST EAGLE BADGE! This represents acquisition of a series of difficult skills. The camper works on these skills for several years. They include: constructing a water and mosquito-proof shelter; identifying 20 plants, advanced knife safety, bow drill or hand-drill fire, cooking a meal outdoors with metal pots and a small wild meal w/ bowls and baskets, demonstrate 10 knots & make cordage, making baskets, demonstrating skill with map and compass, tracking in the wild, showing advanced respect of the human community and advanced respect of all life.
The three pronged approach Expanding Opportunities has taken for the pastoralist girl child is moving forward. We currently are sponsoring five girls in boarding primary school. The girls who run away from FGM or Early Forced Marriage have often never attended school. Though they can be 10 or 12, they have never been in school. The needs of these girls are different; they are much older than their classmates. We carefully select schools that are able to integrate these older learners.
Let me briefly update you about two of “our girls”.
Dini was rescued in March of 2011. The community had been told she was "available for marriage" at age 11. A bright and lively girl she is enjoying her adventure in Education. She had never held a pencil, nor knew a word of Kiswahili or English. Now she is able to communicate in three languages and is performing very well in her class. She has a sponsor in Maine.
Juliza is a 9 year old girl who is currently in Class One as she had never attended school until the beginning of 2012. She was engaged to be married and ran away to the school. As the laws of Kenya forbid marriage before the age of 18, she is in school and boarding at Kipsing Academy. A Girl Scout Troop is sponsoring her for one year which will end in April of 2013. Her sponsorship after April will be dependent upon donors giving to our general girl child education prong of the project until she has another sponsor
Soon we will begin construction of a Girl's Rescue Center in Ariemet, Kenya. come along and join us in the effort.