Today was a day to work on our research projects, discuss readings, and perhaps most notably, to revisit the school in Lekiji (a pastoralist community located on a plot of land nearby to Mpala Ranch). Since our previous visit, ideas concerning ways in which we could help the school had been floating around. We discussed as a group what the best ways are to help communities with access to fewer resources. Through these discussions we decided that we would buy and install guttering on the largest classroom at the school in order to make useable a large water tank previously installed there. Water is such a precious commodity here in Laikipia and having easier access to clean water would allow the students more time to focus on their studies.
After briefly explaining the culture of reciprocity present in Kenya and hearing from our very own Kenyan colleagues, Ryan closed with telling us that, “It is going to be what you make it,” and we were off! From the moment of arrival at the school, the energy was high! Many students in our group helped unload the guttering and began work to install it with the help of some of the Lekiji students, while others simply interacted with the students keeping them out from under the two ladders! Hair was braided, songs were sung, games played, and names exchanged. Relationships were created on the red soil surrounding the 3-classroom school building. As the sun began to set, the last of the guttering was installed and connected to the water tank. (It even rained during the process – “a true blessing” in the words of one of our Kenyan students, Kibet).
We said goodbye to the students, and in hopes of a maintained relationship, left the teachers with shared ideas on the monitoring of the tank’s water usage. The school received gutters today, and in the spirit of reciprocity we left with songs, memories, and shared joys.
– Ali Hochstetler, Goshen College – Molecular Biology/Biochemistry, 2015
(Editor’s note: the students decided that they wanted to help foot the bill for the project. They would also like to invite you to join them to cover the supplies costing about $300.00. If you are interested in supporting this project you can send a check C/O Sandy Slabaugh, Biology Department, Goshen College, 1700 S. Main St. Goshen, IN 46526. Please put in the Memo: Kenya field course outreach project. Funds received beyond the $300.00 will be contributed to the Children’s Education Fund at Mpala Research Centre to aid in school fees for the children of employees at Mpala Ranch and Mpala Research Centre.)