Karibu! Welcome!

Since 2004, EWB@ MSU's professional and student volunteers have worked with community members in Khwisero, Kenya to provide water and sanitation infrastructure at the district's 58 primary schools, making it easier for Khwisero's children to avoid waterborne disease and get an education.

In that time, the group has grown from a small club to one of MSU's premier student organizations, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund seven borehole wells, six composting latrines and a biogas latrine that serve thousands of community members.

Thank you for joining us as we continue to work hand-in-hand with local partners to make a difference in one small part of our world. As Western Kenya's limited internet access allows, we will update this blog while in-country with the successes, stories and lessons provided by our work.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"It's a cultural experience" - Team I motto

Mulembe EWBers,

Phase IV Team I's African summer will end soon, but before we leave Khwisero this week, I would like to share an update on our work since the last blog.

JJ, our second project manager arrived safely in Khwisero last Wednesday. We have thoroughly enjoyed his knowledge and experience this past week.

The excavation of phase I for the Shirali Primary School bio-gas latrine has been completed - about 60 cubic meters of shoveled red dirt. Laura, Eric, and the team have been hard at work on the Bio-gas Latrine calculating materials, finalizing the design and working with the school management committee. Next week, EWB will be working with a Fundi (skilled worker) for the Umande Trust to construct the bio-gas dome. Mr. Oloo has worked on these domes before and will provide valuable insight into the project.

Sarah, our Architecture student, has been working on a model of the bio-gas latrine using her impressive cardboard skills. This model will help to educate the community and aid in the construction process.

Eric, Megan, and myself have the water testing project and incubator up and running. We have been led around by many school children and guides to take about 30 samples thus far from the local springs and wells.

JJ, Eric, and myself attended a distribution pipeline meeting with a special committee composed of 4 primary schools and two health clinics. We discussed the pipeline phases and followed up on some preliminary work. The community is very excited for this project and we hope to determine all the necessary information this summer so we can implement on the next trip.

On the sanitation front, materials for six hand washing stations have been collected and will be constructed for Ebuhonga Primary School this week. We hope to expand this program to each school we've worked at to date.

Jackie Robin, her son Andrew, and his friend Sawyer visited Khwisero for a week to work with the pen pal program in the primary schools and experience rural Kenyan life. Together we celebrated the fourth of July by making "freedom fries" and singing songs with Jackson's family. Jackson is our local EWB Co-ordinator and helping us immensely.

Megan Malone, our Sociology and Anthropology student has been working on translating and finalizing the survey, and spending many hours interacting with community women and their families.

In further strengthening our relationship, EWBMSU had our first official meeting with the EWB Kenya Board to discuss our Phase IV 2009 summer work plan. They are a very motivated group and are going to help us achieve our goals for the summer.

The community of Khwisero have yet to cease welcoming us into their homes and sharing their lives. We thank them as well as our own families for their continued support and love.

"We are still together."

Kiera McNelis
Travel Team I

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