Harambee 2009 – Updates from Ndubusat

Day one – Monday 27th July 2009

Having arrived into Nairobi on Saturday night, the entire team travelled on to Nakuru on Sunday for some pre project training before heading for the hills on Monday morning at 8.30am.

The drive through the Kipkelion Hills gave the team of 22 a sense of what lay ahead as they saw the Tendered Forest for the first time along the Londiani – Fort Tenan road. The team were in the capable hands of our Amicabre drivers Nick, John and Billy.

We arrived into Ndubusat at 1pm to an emotional welcome from the entire community – all the students, teachers and many locals had waited patiently for our arrival and the Irish Team were treated to many songs, dances and a few speeches.

The rest of the day was spent setting up their campsite for the next 17 days in the school grounds and getting used to their new surroundings – all tents having amazing views of the surrounding countryside.

Day two – Tuesday 28th July 2009

The day started with the now customary dawn walk circuit of Ndubusat hill where the first timers were introduced to the challenging 40 minute walk frequented in the past by previous Harambee teams.

This day was spent making preparations for the tasks in week one. The Health Survey team of Jo O’Keeffe, Louise O’Mahony, Carol Whelan and Marie Moran met with the local CHW’s and PHO staff to plan the busy schedule for the 12 local villages that the Irish volunteers were hoping to survey during Harambee 2009.

Over in the Ndubusat Bethel Medical Clinic the Medical Team of Mary Dunford, Alison Burgess and Kathleen Murphy were meeting with the clinic staff to plan the upcoming outreach programmes, EOC Course in Muhoroni, maternal health training and helping out in the clinic over the comings two weeks.

Meanwhile the peer education team of Eva O’Mahony, Olga McDaid, Cathy O’Neill, Liath Sheehan, Aoife Walshe and Lisa O’Connell got organised for their short course planned for Nyairobi village from Wednesday to Friday. They also meet with the Marmar HIV/AIDS Awareness Group would were facilitating the course with them. Over in the primary school the construction team of John Burgess, Aidan Byrne, Killian Murphy, Tony Moran and Liam Kidney got to grips with the challenge that lay ahead with the completion of the primary school classroom.

Across the way the latest two classrooms, sponsored by Electric Aid for the secondary schools were reaching for the skies with the final bricks been laid prior to getting its roof.

Finally Eoin Gannon and Colleen Clarke painstakingly organised our stocks in our various store rooms, as well as been the first house keeping team to cater for the volunteers.

Over the coming weeks all volunteers will get a chance to show off their culinary skills in the kitchen. The evening was spent practising songs for the upcoming variety show and learning new card games – all this with the aid of kerosene lamps at the end of our first full day on the Hill. Life could not be better.

Day three – Wednesday 29th July 2009

Following the dawn walk and a hearty breakfast, the tasks mentioned above all kicked off with three teams heading out on the health survey’s around Ndubusat.

The building started up with the lads, ably assisted by Dominic (FOL Projects Assistant) clearing the site and mixing the cement for a day of brick laying and earth moving.

Down the road in Nyairobi the peer education team, were getting used to their new surroundings in a local church as there group soon to be 45 adults and 2 children were assembling.

The weather was perfect as the Irish got to work on their tans.

At the end of the day all the team enjoyed their time on their tasks and the evening was spent discussing who they had meet that day and their plans for the following day. The singing practice continued under the patient guidance of Eoin Gannon. That night we had our first rains since we arrived in Ndubusat and it will be a welcome sign for the local community.

Day four – Thursday 30th July 2009

Today followed the same schedule as the previous day but with the health survey teams getting to visit new locations, where once again they were well received by the local communities. Many kilometres later, offers of chai and madazi’s and lots of photo’s they returned to base having visited Songonyet and Kadngetony villages.

More bricks arrived for the classroom and the team were joined by a group of parents willing to show their support for the Irish Team. Day two of the peer education short course went according to plan and all was set for the final day on Friday.

A new activity for the evening was Liam giving lessons on some night time photography. And the singing is getting better.

Day five – Friday 31st July 2009

Time for a change and a chance for some of the team to try out different tasks while meeting new communities.

Today the clinic was closed as they were having an outreach programme in Kebeneti and were joined by Mary, Killian, Kathleen, Alison and Jo.

Afterwards they attended the PHO Field Day in Fort Tenan, as well as getting to visit Fort Tenan Medical Centre.

The health survey teams, who are accompanied each day by local Community Health Workers (CHW’s), moved on to Mtaragon today.

The peer education course in Nyairobi came to a close and following the graduation of all the participants, a farewell party was given to the Irish for a job well done.

The classroom is now up to window level and now that all the materials are on site, the brick work is progressing nicely.

That evening preparations were finalised for the schools variety show on Saturday, which all members of the Irish Team will be attending.

So all in all a good week was had and everyone was delighted they had made the effort to be spending their summer holidays on a remote hill in Kenya. Here’s to another successful week ahead.

Day six – Saturday 1st August 2009

The Ndubusat Secondary and Primary Schools will host the Friends of Londiani Harambee 2009 variety show for up to 14 local schools – watch this space for updates and photo’s of this unique event in the FOL Harambee calendar.