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.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Chimney for Nellie

Jeff Moss, EWB-MSU President

There are five of us, crouched in the dirt on the side of a dusty road in rural Kenya. The sun sits perfectly overhead, baking the rusty red dirt we’re drawing in. A few clouds hang overhead, but none venture close enough to block the sun's rays.

We’re in the middle of a row of shops patched together from corrugated tin roofs and hand cut wood, working with our John, one of our Fellows and the owner of a metal shop, to design a chimney for our host families’ cooking hut. Chad, Jonah and I (Jeff) are scratching in the dirt with sticks, trying to communicate our design with a man who speaks no English. Without John's help, there’s no way we could get this figured out. Even with him, I’m not sure if we’re all on the same page.

We’re hoping to fabricate a chimney to ventilate Nellie’s cooking hut so that she can cook each day without inhaling a great deal of smoke. All the cooking here, and in many other parts of the world, is done with fires, which cloud the cooking huts with a thick haze of smoke. Nellie and millions of other women breathe this smoke for hours each day, which leads to many respiratory problems. We’ve been helping with the cooking a bit, but we must step outside often to give out lungs some fresh air.

As a gift for hosting us, we’ve decided to build a chimney for the cooking area, which we hope will ventilate the cook hut and provide Nellie with cleaner air to breathe. It’s not as easy as a trip to Home Depot, but I think we’ve managed to communicate the design pretty well. We’re waiting now, doing some journaling and other work in our office in Khwisero market, and we’ll see in a few hours what the final product looks like.

Tomorrow or the next day, we’ll install the system and find out how well it works. All this will cost us around 25 US Dollars and a day’s worth of work, and we hope it will make a small but noticeable difference in the lives of the family that has been so gracious to us over the last two weeks.


mbruggeman said...

That is wonderful Jeff & team!!! Nellie SO needs a chimney!! :) Molly

Corinne said...

This is awesome Jeff!!!!!! It's really great to hear how much work you're doing that changes people's lives. Keep it up, I love you tons and I can't WAIT to see/hear from you. <3 Corinne

Matt said...

You ought to draw up some plans, figure a cost-estimate, get it translated and make some copies... Maybe Nellie would be willing to show it off to some other house-holds in the area and give them free instructions on how to do the same thing?