Easter Harambee: getting our hands dirty!

16 April 2014

A group of 22 students and teachers from Ireland’s Moate and Killinarden Community Schools touched down in Nairobi on Sunday afternoon after a short stopover in Abu Dhabi. They were members of the Friends of Londiani Easter Harambee working their way through the Easter holidays and they were eager to get going. They headed first for the Great Rift Valley, which stretches down through the length of the continent of Africa, and spent their first night in a beautiful guesthouse called Dea's Gardens. The house was built in the 1930s and is located in a beautiful setting on the shores of Lake Naivasha. After a great feed they were on our way to Londiani. When they arrived they settled into St. Kizito’s — their home for the week. They then had a little walk around town visiting the railway station and Friends of Londiani Kenya office and were warmly welcomed by the Kenyan staff who they will work with throughout their time in Londiani. Here are the thoughts of the students after their first day on the community project (Tuesday the 15th of April): Today our volunteer work here in Kenya finally began! We started to see more of Kenya. We travelled outside of Londiani to places called United and Kapcheplanga. The journey to these villages took a very long time. Some people complain about the roads in Ireland but they are amazing in comparison to the roads here in Londiani. Today our volunteer work consisted of surveying the families in Londiani on how they are currently cooking their food using traditional stoves. The aim of these surveys is to see if a family is in real need of a smokeless stove. From these surveys, we realised that most of these families are indeed in desperate need of a new stove. In fact many of them said they were having health problems due to the smoke from the stoves they use. On Wednesday 16th April, 22 volunteers helping Friends of Londiani are travelling to these houses to start to make these smokeless stoves. We hope they will be a success and we are so excited to get our hands dirty! Currently families are spending a lot of money on firewood. A new stove will help to bring down this expenditure. The job of collecting this firewood is usually the job of the girls in the family; we have met children younger than us carrying heavy loads. These stoves will reduce the amount of wood needed. This will reduce the time needed to collect the wood, which in turn means the girls may have a better chance of going to school than if they have to stay home to collect wood. We are quickly learning the importance of managing resources such as water and wood. We are also learning that children and young people in different parts of the world can have different responsibilities even though we all have the same rights.