Sunday, June 23, 2013

Help me end my service with a SPLASH!

Throughout my service I’ve stayed away from projects involving money.  I lived by the thought that had I been interested in money related projects I would’ve stayed in America where I was comfortable and sent the money from there.  Instead, I decided to give two years of my life and offer my knowledge and skills where they were needed.  I felt fulfilled doing this for most of my service until one month ago when Buba walked into my life.

Buba is known by most as Justin Spees.  We were friends in San Diego and he contacted me in May saying he’d like to come see how I have been living.  After seeing pictures and posts he felt compelled to help my community and wanted to see if there was anything he could do to aid in the process of development. 

Since I had moved to Nyakoi in August of 2012 I had concentrated on the lower basic school and improving the teachers’ reading skills and teaching strategies.  I had turned a blind eye to the community as a whole.  Buba pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and ask the villagers about the community’s needs.  A lengthy list was formed, however, there was one issue that stood out. 

Nyakoi Upper Basic and Senior Secondary School, where 3 of my siblings attend, has been without running water since 2010.  The solar panels that had been providing power to pump water for the past 15 years are no longer working.  Buba and I went to see the situation for ourselves and were devastated by what we found.

Buba following Mr. Kinteh to see the non-working solar panels

Mr. Kinteh, the headmaster at the school, showed us around the school grounds.  We saw inoperable sinks, toilets that can’t be used, dried up taps, and a plot of land that once was inhabited by banana and mango trees now dry and barren.  In order to bring water to the school, the caretaker, Lawo, pedals 200 meters and fills two large containers that he straps to the back of his bike.  He and the other caretaker do this trip approximately 20 times a day to meet the needs of the 449 students attending the school. 

A sink where students once washed their hands

Lawo, the caretaker, preparing his bike to fetch water
Obviously, not having running water at a school is a problem.  Not only does it make the caretaker’s job harder, but it also means that cleanliness and hygiene become a problem as well.  The sinks in the classrooms that once allowed children to quench their thirst have become storage facilities and students must exit class and miss out on learning to get a drink.  The trees that once provided fruit that produced revenue to support the school’s needs are nonexistent. 

Understanding the issue, I can no longer turn a blind eye.  Water is a basic need that everyone deserves the right to.  I’m writing this to ask for your help.  Below is a link to the project Buba is spearheading.  It provides more detailed information and ways you can help.  Our goal is to raise the remaining funds needed and make our splash by July 15th.  Please remember that every drop counts.