Toilet Seats and Water Buckets: Intern Post by Rylan Hayes
May 18 10:35pm
I think it is quite sufficient to say that just halfway through my time here, this experience has proven to me to be an amazing eye opener in terms of our way of life in the States. We have truly been experiencing Kenya to its fullest. My first engineering-minded project came in the form of building a makeshift toilet seat from an old rusty chair. Complete with arm rests and all, after one attempt we bagged the idea and returned to the tiresome practice of squatting. I did however remedy the local water source of its somewhat slow “drip fill” method used by the locals. I asked myself why in the world they don’t funnel the water so to maximize water collection. Easy modification by way of a hole in a bucket provided means for this. They all stood in amazement at the engineering marvel that was to me nothing more significant than tying my shoes in the morning. They are very simple-minded people in terms of happiness, while possessing the most amazing hunger for learning I have ever heard of. The high school age students wake at 4 am to begin their studies by a kerosene lamp. By 7 am they are off to school. School is out around 5 pm at which point they study till 10 pm.
May 26, 2009
We drove around to a few different villages today. These were villages that we have not been able to visit in three weeks. It never ceases to amaze me how excited these kids are to see us drive up. And to think that these amazing children have the energy to run, learn, and study for so many hours out of the day. Today we met an astounding number of children in grades 7 and 8 that travel over 10 km to get to school every day and then travel that again every evening. Then there are the ones who sleep in their respective classrooms, without blankets, pads, or light. And in Kenya, once it is 6:30 pm, it is dark. I asked the 8th graders today, if I were to give you 1,000 ksh ($13.00), what would you do with it? The overwhelming ansewer from almost all the students was an immediate “we’d buy kerosene so that we can study at night.” Upon hearing this I thought to myself, geez, I am pretty sure I’d buy a pad to sleep on (and maybe some gum) rather than the dirt floor of the classroom. Their hearts really are in the right place. I have fallen in love with these Kenyans.
The next blog entry will be a description of the “Light of Learning Program” and it’s successes and failures. This is regarding the 500 solar powered lights that have been donated and are being held by the Kenyan government in Nairobi, wishing to claim ridiculous amounts of importation taxes. We have exhausted our efforts in getting the lights to be released from the customs warehouse.