Monday, March 17 and Tuesday, March 18 – Lamu Arrival and project visit
24 of our group of 29 left for Canada this evening. 5 of us flew to Lamu from the Mara Serena air trip.
Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16, 2019 – Winding down
Today we began our wind down of our project work and headed towards our last two days at Mara Serena – a hotel built in a hill with a view to the Mara plains from all sides of the hotel. The hard working team deserves a great resting time before the long trip home.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 – Two new water well openings, Health Centre visit and a beautiful view of Mara
It was a long but rewarding day in the Masai Mara. Our day began with views of baby cheetahs on our way to the Irbaan Primary School for our first water well opening ceremony. Marilyn and Ed Malcom from Calgary are here on their first visit to Kenya to open the well. A grand ceremony took place. Afterward, we went on to Loigero to open another water well donated by Mona and Roger Walls of Red Deer. After that we visited the Talek Health Centre. At sunset we drove up a hill to celebrate and thank everyone.
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 – Project visits to Clinic and Schools in the Mara
We began inspecting projects in the Mara area today. On the way, we met up with a group of lions crossing the road! The Enkotoria clinic was busy as it was market day. The mothers come to the market and then to the clinic to get their children immunized. Our next visit was to the Sekanani Primary School which has been ranked third among 150 schools in the region.
Monday, March 11, 2019 – Travel day and van breakdown
We left early today to make our almost nine-hour journey to the Maasai Mara. We had our first breakdown about two hours into the trip. The timing belt was the issue. Luckily we had a spare van to load the passengers and rented a small SUV to load the luggage. We were back on track, but our planned nine-hour trip took us eleven hours with a nice break for lunch at a beautiful resort. We celebrated birthdays for Karen and Joanne. We made it to our camp well before dark. Four days of rehab clinics will begin tomorrow.
Sunday, March 10, 2019 – Celebrations and work all in one day!
The rehab team has been working very hard and today was no exception. The 30-degree heat can take its toll on Canadians who are not accustomed. In spite of the blaze, everyone walked three kilometres to the bridge. We had a ground-breaking ceremony for a new physiotherapy centre in memory of Dr. Ken Hill. It was an inspiring event, followed by another celebration marking 25 years of rehabilitation services in Nyaburi and the retirement of Bernard Opio. Tonight was our last here in Kendu Bay. We all leave for Mara in the morning. We will all reconnect again in four days’ time.
Saturday, March 9, 2019 – Finally a day to rest and get ready for the next week
After many long days of travel and work, we all had a rest today. Some went on a hike, but most went to Nyaburi School to be with the 130 children. We all got together for lunch hosted by the Kendu Hospital. A tent was set up to keep us cool from the 30-degree weather which has been consistent since our arrival. We also toured the hospital. We spent our evening planning and debriefing before ending the day. Tomorrow is going to be an interesting day.
Thursday, March 7, 2019 – Building: Bridges, Labs and Phyiso Centre
Our day began with a 3 km walk to a bridge. Ten years ago, Pat and I had stood on the banks of this river and watched children and adults wade through the water to cross over to school and to the hospital. A year later, Pat was working with local engineers and had designed a bridge which soon came to be a reality. The villagers no longer need to slip and fall in the river as they cross. Even motorcycle taxis can use this bridge.
We spent more time at the Kendu Hospital and Nyburi School for children with disabilities.
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 – Project visits to Ndanai Primary School, Small Home and Kendu Hospital
Pat and I headed out to see several projects today, the first being the Ndanai Primary School. Our goal here was to see some new methods of construction, check on the water system, and meet the new principal. So much has happened here. Gord Bontje, Dale Russell, and recently Marcel Paquin have invested heavily in the school buildings. Many others were involved in bringing water to the school and community.
We met with the Small Home which is a traditional name for children with disabilities. Here our rehab team is continually working towards improving mobility for children. Our rehab team has organized a 3 day clinic for parents and their children on how to manage and care for children with disabilities.
We made it to Kendu Bay in the afternoon to work on renovating the laboratory at the Kendu Hospital. 29 years ago, this is where A Better World began its first project and now over 10,000 children have received mobility through its services.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 – Kenya project visits begin
Today we visited several projects as we travelled to Kericho for a one night stay. Our first stop was at the Gilgil Primary School. We met up with Stu and his group – Jocelyn, Ed and Marilyn. They are on a slightly different itinerary. At Gilgil we spent some time with the Principal, viewed past projects and discussed new projects. Then on to Ringa to see the amazing growth where, currently a high school is under construction. At Kipkerimwo, we looked at the 3 new classrooms that are under construction.
Sunday, March 3, 2019
Our final visit to Mombo Health Centre today went very well. Because it was Sunday there were few patients. It allowed us to enter some areas without interfering with patient privacy. Pat was working continuously onsite and kept going even when we returned to the hotel. He has incredible technology that allows him to place buildings in a virtual to-scale model in order to see how they fit on the site. He also works with locals and helps them learn from his experience.
We accomplished what we came here to do. There are always inspiring people that we meet. The nurse in charge, Victoria, is one of them. Today she came to the hospital and I wasn’t sure that it was her without her uniform. She works six days and on Sunday she stops in to see the newborn babies. A few hours later, she changed into her uniforms as two mothers had gone into labour.
Saturday, March 2, 2019 – School Visits
Today we visited a new site for a secondary school called Lutindi Secondary School. Lutundi villagers are dedicated to their children’s education. After the primary school, the nearest school is a 4 hour walk each way. Since that is not practical, parents have rented some houses and placed their children near the school. They have also started building a secondary school by digging into a hill and carrying rocks and blocks way up a steep hill as there are no roads.
We also visited Majengo school where we recently completed sixteen toilets and parents contributed an additional two. We visited Mbaghai Secondary School where three classrooms were completed and Chekelei School where fourteen toilets were completed. Kwa Kombo has 674 students and only 8 toilets. We are hoping to build more.
Friday, March 1, 2019 – Engineers meet at the Mombo Health Centre (MHC)
We were back at the Mombo Health Centre today for Pat’s day. The government sent their engineers from the Public Works and Health Departments along with health professionals for the planning day. I saw many scenes where professionals were discussing various points of view. Pat came prepared with technology and the local professionals were also well prepared.
Dr. Joseph, the MHC medical director, runs the hospital, does 4 surgeries a day, sees roughly 25 patients a day, attends to emergencies, and meets with us in between as we make plans to better the facilities. While the engineers were occupied, Rama and I were working on statistics and interviewing people to see how we can improve the flow of patients through the MHC.
I saw 5 new babies who were born last night and 5 more born the day before we arrived. I gave the mothers a care package Candi had prepared.
Thursday, February 28, 2019 work begins at Mombo Health Center in Tanzania
Pat Romerman, an engineer from Calgary and I arrived in Tanzania last night after two 9-hour fights and checked into the Kilimanjaro Lodge in Moshi. This morning we woke up to a beautiful view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. After a four-hour drive we arrived at Mombo Health Centre (MHC) where we will spend the next several days. We have completed some renovations and installed equipment in the operating room. We also built a new mortuary.
Pat, a civil/structural engineer from Calgary, has traveled to six countries, including Tanzania, with A Better World. He and his wife, Bev, have volunteered for ten years and have also funded many educational projects in Kenya. His expertise is needed as we begin the next several phases of our work here at MHC, including renovations, new buildings, and the redesign and repurposing of existing structures. We will also be supplying equipment and training. You can read more about MHC on our website at Mombo Health Centre.