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.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Team 3 Wrapping it Up

So team Green Hippo’s Kenyan adventure is beginning to wrap up and I think that all of us are going to be sad to see it come to an end. A lot has happened these past couple weeks and we have seen many projects continue to progress. We all settled into our home near Munyanza and enjoyed seeing Team 2 and Team East for a couple days before getting rolling on our work. We got the incubator working again so Amy and Kalen took water samples at a few schools and were able to test them at the house, we also did some work finishing up hand-washing stations at Emwaniro and continuing on with the composting latrines in the east. Damon and Dalen have been cranking away with the biogas latrine. Unfortunately, we won’t be here long enough to see its completion or participate in the “group poop”. At Munyanza, we’ve been looking at problems and solutions for the orange water issue, as well as working with the teachers to improve their hand washing stations. Although it would be nice to stick around and be able to see some more aspects of our work and the completion of or our projects, we have all thoroughly enjoyed our time here, eating ugali and drinking lots and lots of tea. We hope that everything continues to go smoothly as JJ continues on with the projects.

Amy, Dalen, Damon, and Kalen
Team 3

Friday, August 14, 2009

Biogas Latrine Progress

The biogas latrine is nearly finished! Here is a photo timeline of its construction over the past month. Photos by Cameron.

Team 2 Update

Girls from Emwaniro Primary School carrying water from the Emwaniro borehole to team 2's house.

Team 1 and 2. Left to right: Sarah, Kiera, Erich, Megan, John, Matt

Francis Ashira, Jacky, Hannah, Megan and John at the surveyor training for West.

Laura Moon

Stanley, Erin and Matt at the KWDP headquarters in Khwisero. Stanley has been running KWDP since it started. KWDP was founded by Mr. and Mrs. Iyundo, a local couple who have been living together in Khwisero since 1963. KWDP focuses on protecting springs by installing a concrete retaining wall and metal piping. Their goal is to elevate the springs and protect their water from soil erosion. Although protected springs sometimes have better water quality than unprotected springs, many of them still contain coliform bacteria.

Laura, Matt, Kiera, Cameron, Sarah and Molly cramming into a matatu, or public van, the local form of transportation.

Biogas latrine construction at Shirali P.S.

Khwisero in the early morning.

JJ and Sam, an excellent fundi from the Umande Trust in Kibera slum, standing in the bottom of the hole that was excavated for the biogas latrine. Photo by Cameron.

Team 2, 3, and East at Wallace Airo's compound near Emwaniero Primary School. Top, left to right: Kalen, Damon, Amy, Dalen, JJ, Jackson, Tom, Chris, Megan. Bottom row, left to right: Molly, Cameron, Hannah, Laura, John. Not pictured: Matt and Erin.

Jackson and Matt at a farmers' meeting. Matt is researching agrobusiness in Khwisero. One of his goals is to work with people in Khwisero to determine how EWB and locals can empower farmers and their families to live better lives via improved farming practices and increased economic development.

A school girl from Ebukuala Primary School undergoing a distance vision test at the Ebukuala Eye Clinic. EWB-MSU collaborated with EWB-Khwisero, the Khwisero Health Centre, and local volunteers to pilot an Eye Clinic at Ebukuala P.S. The Bozeman Lion's Club donated over 200 eyeglasses to the clinic, and the employees at Advanced Eyecare of Bozeman spent hours reading the lens prescriptions and fixing up the frames. For more information about this program please contact Molly Bruggeman at mbruggeman@gmail.com.

Jacky and Dr. Erich, shielding themselves from the dirt on the piki piki (motorbike) tour of Khwisero's governmental health facilities.

Ebuyonga Dance Performance

"Cows" by Cameron Chen

Hi everyone!
Team 2 is back in Bozeman, where the internet connection is fast enough that I can upload these. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

During team two’s first week here, we researched the health care system in Khwisero. Jackson, the coordinator of EWB Khwisero, brought Dr. Erich Pessl, Jackline Amakobe, R.N., and I on a motorcycle tour of the health care facilities here. We learned that all of Khwisero’s health care facilities and patients are suffering from a lack of potable water. The old hand-dug wells that were installed by the Rotary Club of Kisumu have dried up and the cement rainwater catchment systems from Africa Now are cracking or nonfunctional. Most patients are also forced to cope with major shortages of staff, inpatient wards and essential medications, to name just a few challenges. The lack of water, though, is particularly demoralizing for the staff and compounds the patients’ ailments. For example, most expectant mothers are forced to deliver in dusty rooms, and without access to piped water and washing stations.
The next day, Erich, Jacky and I worked with staff from the Khwisero Health Centre, and Dr. Walter, an optometrist from Khushiku sublocation, on an eye clinic at Ebukuala Primary School. More accurately, they worked, and I took photos or talked with patients. Dr. Walter screened 300 patients, mostly students, in six hours. We distributed the majority of the two hundred eyeglasses that the Bozeman Lion’s Club donated to us, and Dr. Erich saw the patients who had medical eye problems, as well as other conditions. We referred the patients who needed eye surgery to the August 6th free surgical clinic at Khushiku sublocation. The eyeglasses were free for children, and we charged adults 200 ksh, approximately $2.80. With the money we made from adult glasses, we were able to pay Dr. Walter for a full day’s work. Overall, one full day of helping students and adults to address their eye problems cost EWB only $10.00. Dr. Erich left on Saturday the 25th, and ever since then I’ve been working on the proposed water distribution pipeline, and learning about other major problems that are facing people in Khwisero. In the next post, I will talk about some of those issues. Thanks for reading this!

As the awkward business student on team two I am conducting economic research and looking at community capacity building in the agricultural and business sectors. By conducting economic assessments through surveys, listening sessions and interviews we can better understand the sustainability of our projects by understanding a different aspect of the community of Khwisero. Additionally, we hope to research and recommend the use of cash-crops at primary schools as an income generating activity to raise money for project maintenance funds; assess the accounting and board practices at the primary schools and provide an economic report including basic recommendations of actions towards community economic issues through cooperative formation as well as technology and knowledge sharing. Additional inquiry into tribal and familial relations has opened up new perspectives into the Khwisero community and has provided explanations to issues that would normally be overlooked by outsiders.Thanks for all the support.

Bio-gas latrine work continues and we are several layers high on the dome construction. We have brought in a specialized fundi (~engineer) from Nairobi to assist in construction and we are proceeding well. -C

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Team KEO - Keeping it above 80!

Hello All -

I am happy to report team east is keeping it above 80!

Tom and Chris have been working hard and the results are showing. The composting latrines are getting underway and everyone is rejoicing.

Megan had the whole team working last night to complete the final touches on the surveys and this morning they were handed out to all surveyors! Go Megan!

There are still a few bumps regarding the two wells. It would seem both schools are built on a solid slab of rock which is causing some sustainability issues with any possible aquifers that might reside on the premises. But, with our moods averaging a solid 87, we are welcoming the challenge and eagerly awaiting the next report from the surveyors.

In the mean time;

JJ knocked himself out with his own head lamp on the same day he was nearly brought to his death by a rogue driver eager to test his car's limits. But don't worry, after a good helping of Ugali and some beef liver, he is as good as new.

Chris and Tom have been humbled as they attempted to keep up with elementary school kids in a game of "football". Bare foot and half their age, the kids ran laps around the two.

Megan, with two marriage proposals in one day, decided the 10 cows, 3 goats and 10 chickens were not enough for her to leave my side. We are happily sharing one bed and with the protection of Big Bertha are sleeping like babies!

And, as for myself, I'm enjoying every minutes here. The people are amazing; always with a smile on their face and laughter in their voice. I've only has 2 babies pee on me so far which is a winning average!

A few tips for keeping it above 80!

1. Spontaneous group singing
2. A full stomach of Ugali
3. At least 2 cups of tea a night
4. Practicing Luyha with the locals
5. Bartering for bubbles with Roosters
6. The smiles on the faces of the kids!!

Keep checking in for more,

Until then,

This Hannah sitting at a 97 - signing off!!!!