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, May 21, 2011

Team Member Intro - Jonah

Jonah Barta

I'm new to Khwisero and am finding the experience not only humbling but also inspiring and highly educational. We're staying at the home of Jackson Nashitsakha (our local coordinator) for the time being, and the experience is quite pleasant.

The food is tasty and the kids are soooo funny! Jackson’s kids have gotten used to us after all these years, so they're willing to play. We put my pair of black T-Pain aviator glasses on one of Jackson’s sons today -- the kid walked around the compound puckering his lips and flashing peace signs.

We stick out like a sore thumb walking down the road, our skin practically glowing in contrast to the red earth. Other kids in the area point and yell Muzungo! (white person).

I cooked Chapati (fry bread) with Nelly, Jackson's wife, and some other women yesterday -- quite an experience! The hardest part is rolling the dough into a perfect circle, something I was very bad at. I was getting better, but then Joe spilt the flour (party foul!) so we had to use oil instead. I think Nelly should get a chimney in her cooking hut. It was so smoky that my eyes burned by the end of the cooking session. However, I am more concerned about her lungs. That smoke is rough!

On a more serious note, our projects are making significant progress. The MEM committee responsible for helping manage the distribution pipeline project seems effective and is ready to get things started. However, we seem to have a delay in the transfer of the 1 million Kenya shillings (KSH; $11,600) pledged by the Kenyan Government to support the project. The Kenyans all have faith it will come; our team will believe it when it is in our account. We are also worried about the additional 1.5 million KSH that were promised by the district's Member of Parliament last year. It sounds like we must re-apply for this money in July when the new financial year begins.

Fortunately, though, the group of Fellows we have working with us seem great! We are talking with John, welder who lives near the Khwisero market, right now about politics. I am excited to work with him Rafael, and Patrick. We are also getting to know the fundi (skilled worker) named Fredrick who Jackson has recommended to build our first composting latrine for the summer. Unfortunately, the rough quote for the latrine has come in high (750,000 KSH/$8,700 when we were hoping for 400,000KSH/$4,600). Right now we're waiting for a new quote while he re-evaluates some miscommunications about the design.

That's all for now -- I'm missing out with a good conversation with our fellows.

1 comment:

Peter said...

HI guys, My name is Peter and I am doing a Masters degree at Maseno University in Kenya. I was born and brought up in Khwisero. My actual location is Eshibinga. I was so glad to read your blog and read what you are doing. It is just fantastic to know that students of a University can team up do what you are doing. I have a blog about a project that I am doing in Eshibinga Primary school. You can google the Word Eshibinga xo Laptops to read more. Otherwise... Keep up guys.