Sunday, May 31, 2009

Running for Clean Water...

Well, well, well… We are here at Egerton University the location of our project partner SUMAWA as well at the location for our project for the Biosand Filter (BSF). Today is Sunday and we arrived here on Friday afternoon. We were able to see some wildlife along the road from Nairobi such as impalas, baboons, and zebras. We hope to book a safari in the near future where we may get the chance to see a lot more wild life at Masai Mara the most popular wildlife preserve in Kenya.
When we arrived on Friday we had a meeting with Simon the main BSF technician and three other men who have been trained to be BSF technicians but have yet to practice their skills due to lack of capacity. We have been encouraged that there is a true need here; the challenge for our team is to consider which places are the best leverage points for our intervention to a system that has already partially formed and yet needs funds, capacity, direction, and a legal entity to take it to the next level.
Saturday we travelled with our driver Inondo and Simon to a household in Teret (town next to Njoro) with 8 children to replace a leaky BSF. The man of the house, Moses Kombo is a deputy principle of a secondary school in the community and wanted us to supply the school that he works at with 3 BSFs. Once the BSF was replaced in the Kombo home we travelled to the school where we met with the Principal and discussed the BSF, and its qualities. The principal was convinced, and purchased 3 BSFs to be delivered in two weeks. Our main concern with all this is building capacity in order to build credibility and provide Simon with a more stable livelihood. We need to learn how to work with the existing system established with Egerton University and how to move this enterprise forward. We were even invited to attend a community day at the school in Teret where we could promote the BSF and our business. This would have been a great opportunity and yet we decided to pass on this opportunity because Simon does not even have all the raw materials to fill any potential orders. We are learning there is curiosity and a demand for the BSF and yet are not prepared to start operations yet. The team is optimistic as well as eager to see what kind of impact we can make in this region.
With Sanghamitra- our representative from India we have been able to eat Indian fare on multiple occasions. In case you didn’t know there is quite a sizeable population of Indian immigrants here in Kenya. Most of them are involved in the business and commerce sector.
Today we have been able to take a much needed rest, and do our laundry (by hand). The entire team went out for run around the campus as well. It was a leisurely jog, and we hope to create a Running Water International racing team soon!
We have settled into our living quarters here on the campus. We are staying in the dorms here and are reminded of our own days during our undergraduate studies where we had to stay in dorms. We have bought an electric tea kettle and have already found multiple uses for it!
We have learned that Monday is the Kenyan Independence Day, no one will be working. So apparently we will have another day to strategize for the week. Stay tuned a lot more to come!
Running Water International

1 comment:

  1. Great blog! I enjoyed reading about your experiences, and I think you all have a great and very important project. Best of luck! - Amanda