Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The rains are here!

Hello all!  Just a few quick notes on what has been happening at Vutakaka as we plunge into the rainy season.  On March 15th, Vutakaka Junior School held it's first ever inter-house Sports Day.  Students are now divided into four houses named for different animals found in Kenya and assigned a color.  The day started with a parade around the field, with all teams cheering loudly and waiving their colored flags high.  The events began with the longest races first to beat the heat of the mid-day sun.  Events included individual and relay running races, shot-put and javelin throwing, long jump, and high jump.  In the end, Nyati (buffalo) house won the title in yellow.  Congrats to all the students on a great effort!
In academic news, school closed for the term on April 11th, after great scores on the end of term exam.  We said goodbye to our intern, Shanie, who had been working with the upper grades in Math and helping us to fix and upgrade our XO laptops for the students.  We really enjoyed having her out here and appreciated all her hard work.  She says she 'might' be back, and we are hoping for the best!
 In health news, Peace Corps volunteer Jill Daniels conducted a demonstration in gunia sack farming.  Gunia sacks are woven plastic sacks that are typically used for carrying rice, beans, or maize.  Old sacks can be used for vertical farming.  Jill showed the health team how to fill the center with rocks and the remainder with manure and soil.  Once our collard seeds are ready, up to 50 plants can fit into one bag!  Slits are cut in the side of the bag at regular intervals, and the greens grow out the sides of the sacks.  We can wait to see how this improves our school farm, and how we can share this with the community!
We also recently celebrated Malaria Day with a fellow Peace Corps volunteer Kelly Sawyer in Kadzinuni village.  Kelly organized the two-day malaria event, which coincided nicely with the start of the rainy season.  The day included a net washing demonstration and free net repairs, speeches from health workers and nurses, entertainment from local schools and a DJ.  It was a big success and we hope many people heard the message about how to prevent malaria.  Well done Kelly!