Saturday, August 10, 2013

Thank you Jill!

We have had so much fun stuff happening this summer at the EAC that I had to pick just a few things to highlight in the blog.  Since we had to say goodbye to our peace corps volunteer Jill Daniels (irreplaceable, but we are excited to meet our new PCV Adriana arriving next Friday), I decided I would focus on a few projects that Jill put into place in her final months with us.

First is something that started at the beginning of the year that we slowly saw come to fruition.  Jill approached me with information about One World Classrooms and their Global Art Exchange project.  It is a project where schools send in art work and in return receive a mixed package of art work from students all over the world.  It sounded like a great project, so Jill connected with teachers at school helped students create 25 pieces of art to send into One World.  A couple of months later, I received a big package at the post office.  I couldn't figure out what it was, but I opened it to find 25 amazing pieces of art from a hugely diverse list of countries - there was an pounded aluminum piece from the US, some amazing drawings from China, a drawing of village life from Namibia (strangely similar to Kenyan life), some drawings from the Ukraine, and many other pieces.  It was such an exciting package to open and one Jill and I were so excited to share with the students.  We decided to display the art at Term 2's closing day, on the wall of Class 8, so that students and parents could have some time to enjoy the art.  We added some art from our own students as well.  What a beautiful display!  We will certainly be participating annually in the One World art exchange.

The second project Jill started during her last few months is also something we hope to continue.  After hearing about it from a nearby fellow peace corps volunteer, Jill started collecting supplies for making reusable sanitary napkins.  One of the major reasons that girls miss school in developing countries is because they lack any supplies for protection during menstruation.  There are a lot of campaigns to collect normal sanitary napkins and distribute them to schools, but the EAC was interesting in testing out a more sustainable option for the girls. 
The reusable pads are made from pieces of shower curtain (or any thin plastic) and pieces of towel, sewn together.  Snaps are added on either 'wing' so that the pad can attach underneath the underwear of the girl.  The first training was held in May at Vutakaka and it was a great success.  We have lots of left over supplies, so our new peace corps volunteer will hopefully pick up where Jill ran out of time and do the training at our 3 other health education schools.  What a wonderful, long-lasting impact!

As Jill heads off to spend a month in Paris (where we know the food will be seriously lacking compared to Kenya) and then back to the US, we wish her the best in all her endeavors, and we know she will forever stay connected to the EAC.  She has made a huge impact in our health work and much of what she has done will continue on with our staff and future peace corps volunteers.  Thanks Jill!