November 2016 is a thrilling month for our organization! Our Executive Director, Loyce Ong'udi, is juggling a number of exciting projects, and on the first of the month, was joined by an intern/Master's degree candidate from the University of Washington, Dan Pitts, who is our first visitor to Rabuor Village since 2013. We are thrilled that Dan will be working on several projects focused on improving our communication to donors and others; we expect to have many, many videos and stories to share with you over the next several months.
Progress on completion of the ground floor classrooms continues to impress! Cementing of the walls and ceilings is nearly complete, as is installation of the classroom windows. During this stage of building, we were able to leverage an opportunity to significantly upgrade the electrical service to the building. A great investment in our plans to introduce a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Math) curriculum once the primary school construction is accomplished.
Earlier this year we shared with you the accomplishments of our 4-year old preschoolers, who won two singing/dancing competitions in Nyanza Province. From that experience, the teachers asked that Mwanzo consider a small investment of $250 in a music system to bring the joy of music to all our students! Below are several pictures capturing the moment when Loyce, our teachers, and children crammed themselves into the teacher's lounge to get a first glimpse. Loyce reports that the teachers and children are thrilled to be able to listen and dance to the music!
Loyce is busy working with government experts to provide further training to the families with chicken coops. We have learned that raising chicks is a precarious process, given illnesses and limited funds for vaccines for the animals. Community members are also coping with an exceptionally dry planting season, which has affected all crops. We are praying that a sustained period of rain (which usually arrives in October) will follow, as our partners are so dependent on grains and tubers for their lives.
Our women's Savings and Loan groups continue to meet weekly, and are in the process of reviewing their "books" and determining appropriate distributions of funds.
The school's 2016 Graduation Ceremony is set for November 9th. The school PTA, teachers, and students are rehearsing for this exciting day.
Along with Dan Pitts we sent a number of soccer balls and other schoolyard "must haves." Dan is teaching the older schoolchildren American football; we may have the first team in Kenya formed before he returns to Seattle. We have also purchased sleeping mats for the preschool, so that our kids will no longer have to sleep on the concrete floor. Small gifts like this make a big difference in allowing the children to be children. And for this we thanks our donors again!
Mwanzo and our partners in Kenya wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving!