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Dig, Dig, Dig

May 26, 2010

Already I, and I am sure the rest of the group as well, have learned so much being here in Kenya. It is hard to put the feelings into words, but seeing the way of life here offers a completely new persepective. Sometimes we have fun participating in new traditions, other times we witness heart-wrenching situations. This trip is challenging, both technically and personally. We sometimes have to make tough decisions that do not have a right or wrong answer. We must balance the feelings in our hearts with a practical decision in our minds and hope that what we do is best. The issues we face are complicated and deep, but we hope that our efforts will make a positive difference for the children at CYEC and the people of Kenya, however small it may be.  At the end of the day, we need to take what we have seen here to learn and grow from it.
The anaerobic digester team worked on putting together their machine at the CYEC today. They continued digging, improving the hole for the tanks that will constitute the digester and adding a notch for a pipe. They also modified these barrels, adding holes for influent and effluent flow. The innovative minds of the CYEC students again came up with creative solutions to continue the project without the power tools that we are used to. The team burned the holes into the tank when a drill was not available, and used a kitchen knife and a rock to make cuts. While the team was working on their large digester, children around them began to construct their own by cutting soda bottles into similar shapes.
The high tunnel team made progress on the structure, both in building and planning. They put the wooden hip boards together, which will act as bracing along the side of the tunnel. They also made some extra hoops and other PVC braces as well. They checked to be sure that each hoop was the same size and started getting ready to put them up. They are currently considering a few different options for the best solution to constructing such a tall structure with all of the proper supports and coming up with a plan of action. The students on their team managed to construct an A-frame ladder from scrapwood, which will be very helpful.
The drip irrigation team made a lot of progress in preparing the vegetable beds today. Our hired help amazed us with their hard work for a long day in the sun and high quality results without the need for our guidance. We finished digging all of the beds and just need to frame a few more after the rest of the wood comes in tonight. After working with these men all day and seeing how they drove themselves in this intense labor, paying the low (yet average for the area) wage recommended to us did not feel right. Today we gave them a raise and the three men were grateful for it. This presents the issue of creating expectations, as CYEC will not be offering more jobs and could not pay more than the average. However, we saw them work and could not pay them so little. I am going to mail them the team photo we took today and they invited us to visit them on Sunday. Hopefully we will be able to visit.
Tomorrow we leave for a two day safari and everyone is very excited about it! I am certainly looking forward to ending the day without a coating of dirt on my clothing and skin. We will camp outside in the park, which will be a first for me. We are all charging our batteries in the hopes of seeing lions, elephants, and other animals of the African savanna.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. susan okullu permalink
    May 27, 2010 6:58 am

    You guys are doing a great job. You all deserve Pedicures when you get back. You are not wearing shoes in the “shambas” are you?

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