Hello everyone! We hope you had a great holiday season and are enjoying being back in the swing of things like we are! Once again, my new years resolution is to write more blog updates, post more photos, and generally stay in touch with our supporters more often. So, I’m going to try.
We have a great intern here now, Shanie Holman, who is posting some of her wonderful pictures that we will be sharing on Facebook. We also recently hosted my good friend and EAC board member Libby Gluck here, doing lessons on peace and helping the children to create some great peace-inspired art work to bring home to our donors. The elections are coming up on March 4th in Kenya, and everyone is anxious to see how it goes and hoping for a peaceful outcome. The last elections were at the end of 2007 – violence ensued after allegations of manipulation of results. An estimated 800 people died and 600,000 were displaced. Luckily, the Coast of Kenya was a much safer place than the rest of the country. We are confident that this year will be better, but just in case are prepared to hide out in our safe haven of Kilifi/Takaungu and hope for the best.
It is an important time to teach the students about elections, the right to vote, peace, and the future of their country and teachers are taking every opportunity to do so. So, the students have definitely hit the ground running this year. The Class 1 students are settling in well in their first year at primary school, and the new KG1 nursery students (all 3 years old) have slowly stopped crying in the mornings when their parents leave.
We are also happy to have our new head teacher, Jumaa Masha Lewis with us. He started work on February 1st and is off to a wonderful start working on revitalizing the school clubs and the arts classes. I’ll spotlight him in my next blog post.
The health work has also resumed for 2013 and motivation is high! We have 15 strong chickens (ok, we have lost about 10 so far but the remaining ones are looking good and should be for sale soon). Once we make some money on these chickens, we are going to expand their house and also add a place to bring our goats. In 2010, a parent donated a goat to the EAC. This goat has been living with a staff member and has now had a baby. We would like to bring them to the EAC compound and try to expand our goat population. At holiday time, a goat can bring in a lot of money! We are really hopeful that these income-generating strategies can help support our health work.
While we wait for the chickens to grow, health work goes on as usual. Health education has resumed at the 6 local primary schools, and our nearby partner has added in a 7th school! Health staff are also working with 6 community groups, sharing health information and trying to assist them with small business development. We continue to work with the two government clinics in our area of operation, and are helping the Community Health Worker unit to implement a door-to-door HIV testing grant they received from the government. A huge thanks is due to our Peace Corps volunteer Jill Daniels, who has contributed so much in her first 6 months with us.
As you can see, we are excited to be moving forward, as always. I am particularly hopeful about the year ahead, as I feel we have really planned well to make the big moves towards further sustainability. We will keep you posted as this happens. Wishing all of you a wonderful and progress-filled year as well!