It was time again for a trip to Kenya. And so we (Barbara Krohne and Helen Milkau) set out on March 30th until April 7th back on the already familiar route to Kenya to the Maisha Mazuri Children Centre.
We thought we’d bring the rain with us this time, too, but as it turned out, it had rained several times before our arrival, transforming the country into a wonderful lush green landscape. This is a rare sight for us and a complete delight for the population, who immediately planted what they could in their fields. Our “new” farmer Boniface, who took over the large farm from our dear late Kimeu, now has a lot to do. Day labourers, the so-called casual workers, support him from time to time with all the work on the farm and so you can slowly but surely see the development of the farm. He tries very hard to learn and implement the new knowledge he has gained about organic farming, which he received from former intern David, among others. We are excited to see what the farm will bring to our MCC children over the next few months and whether we can counteract the high costs for food. However, we are not spared a purchase such as an additional 10,000 l water tank (approx. 1000€) in order to be well prepared for the next dry period and that will surely come. We look forward to your donations.
As always, the children at the MCC greeted us with great joy and could hardly wait for us to get out of bed early. We know many of the children from previous visits, some children are new to us and so the funny name guessing started all over again. But after a week at the latest we could call them out once again. On Sunday there was a sports afternoon with all children in the Maisha Mazuri partner program (except those in Senior Secondary). After a delicious lunch with lots of fruit for dessert, the children were tested for their athletic talents and other clever puzzles. There were several groups and stations where the volunteers and social workers helped and at the end the winning group was crowned. It was a strenuous but beautiful Sunday that ended with stick bread and sausages by the campfire.
All in all, we were positively surprised by the atmosphere and the conditions in the MCC. Of course you always compare it with previous visits. The children in the home (32) made a very relaxed impression, the team consists largely of the same people, which is good for the whole team. Communication with each other was also good. The only thing that was new to us was that there was a new home mother recently, Nancy. The MCC and the grounds of the MCC are in good condition. Of course there are still tiresome topics such as waste separation & collecting plastic, creating water balance & water awareness and the big topic of repairs and maintenance, but work is also being done on this, also thanks to our great volunteers, many of whom are on site again and support the team.
The remaining buildings of the boarding school for the Academy of Maisha Mazuri have been completed, also the large outdoor kitchen. What is still missing is the complete interior design of the boarding school building, which we still need to get financed as quickly as possible in order to reduce the number of students in one dormitory and to get more students excited about the secondary school. The range of sports is growing, the teams in football, volleyball and table tennis are battling other schools and can report initial successes. We are also trying to make the school more attractive and generate additional income with two “workshops” (practical training facilities) in the home science and IT areas. I held a baking session with the students of form 3 and 4, which was obviously fun for everyone and with very presentable, delicious results. An IT workshop with the first courses in the use of Microsoft programs is to be held during the April holidays.
The kindergarten, which was formerly affiliated with the MCC, has been officially integrated into the Primary School of Maisha Mazuri since 2022. It is provisionally accommodated in two very small rooms, since the two large rooms must be empty in order to be able to present them as laboratory rooms for the junior secondary school when government control comes. This is really a sad madness, but unfortunately the reality. We hope that something will change in this regard soon and that the kindergarten can be designed much more according to our ideas, at the moment lessons are being taught according to the instructions.
All in all we had a great time at the MCC. It’s always exhausting because we want to pack as much as possible into this one week. But it is always so good to speak to the individual employees personally, to hear their wishes and ideas, but also their fears or worries. Above all, it was exciting to see at the big YSK meeting (Youth Support Kenya – umbrella organization headed by Jimmy Kilonzi) how all projects now mesh like cogs, from kindergarten to the skills center. Of course, these cogs are still stuck here and there and yes, it still takes a lot of time, patience and money to get everything running smoothly. But this time, we can say with conviction that we left the MCC with a positive impression and new motivation. We are now looking forward to our Kenyan visit from our social worker Mercy and the headmaster of the Senior Secondary School Nicholas, who are coming to visit us here in Germany for the next 10 days. The association has also put together a nice program for them, including many school visits, where tehy will give lectures and present your tasks and our projects.