Week 52 & week 1: Christmas holidays
Merry Christmas and a happy new year! We’ve had a wonderful Christmas holiday in Kenya. Celebrating Christmas in Okana was a whole new experience in comparison with Christmas in the Netherlands, but nice to be part of the family here. On the 26th we went to Nairobi, a day later our climb to the top of the Mount Kenya began. We stayed on Mount Kenya for four days and it was all worth it. After our physical effort of climbing Mount Kenya, the rest of the time left in our Christmas holiday was time to just relax on the beach. We didn’t know that Kenya has such nice beaches on the East coast of the country. We had a great time.
Week 2: Back again in Okana
As a present for Josefiens 24th birthday we arrived back home in Okana on the 9th of January. We had a long bus trip from Mombasa to Kisumu and were very tired when we arrived back. But it was time to get back to work again. We only have three weeks left in Kenya now, so finishing our project is a must.
In the week before our Christmas holiday we designed a chicken run and a cafeteria, both with bamboo as part of the building material to create bamboo awareness in the area of Okana. This is one of the goals of our project. At the start of this week we decided that we want to build the chicken run and not the cafeteria. We don’t have time and money to build both, so we had to choose between them. In the meetings we had with Jowi and Monica, it became clear that the cafeteria will most of the time be used for the volunteers who are living on the SRI compound. When looking at our goal, a self-sustainable resource centre, this use of the cafeteria will not generate a lot of income. The chicken run on the other hand is an easy way to generate income for the resource centre, since both the eggs and chickens can be sold.
This week we made a planning for the building of the chicken run. We finished the design and made an inventory of the materials already present at the compound. There was bamboo left from the construction of the resource centre, also some wood was found which we could use for the chicken run. We had a meeting with Vera, the CEO of SRI and wife of Jowi; with Monica, the manager of the compound and with George, the manager of the carpentry workshop. They were critical about the chicken run, which was beneficial for our thoughts about it. It was very useful meeting allowing us to go on with our planning and getting the right materials. They made us aware of the fact that in the rainy season the rain would pop up in the chicken house, and that chickens don’t like to live in the rain. We changed the design a bit to solve this problem. We made the walls of bamboo a bit higher and extended the roof, so the house is more protected against the rain. Vera also had some concerns about the chicken wire we already bought, because normally they used another chicken wire. We convinced them that this chicken wire also is of sufficient quality, and in the end of the meeting they agreed to use this chicken wire instead of the other. After the meeting, we started buying the last materials we needed and at the start of next week the building of the chicken run would can be kicked off.
Besides the chicken run, this week we also finished the analysis of implementation of the BamGoo in a rural area like Okana. We shared the results of the research with the designers of the BamGoo. To finish the BamGoo project, we designed a poster which we will hang in the resource centre. This will create bamboo awareness and if someone wants to buy a BamGoo, it will still be possible. We also finished the research on the water drainage system for the resource centre. We will share the research with SRI, so that maybe new volunteers can continue working on this project of a water drainage.
Week 3: Building chicken run and writing final report
We hired some local workers to help with building the chicken run. One of the workers, Clinton, was already familiar with splitting bamboo.. Besides that, we had to measure the whole chicken run and make the construction of the chicken house. The poles in the ground were secured with a foundation of cement, sand and ballast. We had to dig holes in the ground to put this fundament in.
The construction of the main structur turned out to run rapidly, so we could continue with the walls of bamboo and the roof of the house. With the help of the local workers, the first two walls were constructed quickly. After that, we discovered that there was not enough splitted bamboo to build the other two walls. Luckily we had some time left to let Clinton split some more bamboo. After that, we finished the walls. The roof was put on the construction in one day as well. Finishing the construction with the chicken wire made the chicken house almost complete.
While we continued building the chicken run, which only exists out of wood and chicken wire, two workers made the floor in the chicken house. We designed the floor, because then the chicken house will be easy to clean and therefore diseases will be prevented. The floor was made in the same way as the fundament, with cement, sand and ballast. Matthews, the construction manager of the Pavilions, did most of the work on the floor with some help of Clinton. By the end of the week the floor was done and had to dry for two days.
On Saturday we had a meeting with Jowi, Vera and Monica. We talked about the finishing of the chicken run, about our report and some other small things that needed to be discussed. We didn’t see Jowi for two weeks, so it was good to also talk to him again. They gave us some advice on finishing the chicken run and we arranged that we would give SRI our final report on. We worked a lot on this report during this week. It takes a bit more time than we taught before we started, but we will manage in the end. We are flexible. The chicken run is almost finished, so next week we will use the extra time to work on and finish our report.
Week 4: last week in Kenya
Our last week in Kenya, the time passed by so fast this last month. This week consists of finishing our project and saying goodbye to everyone. In the beginning of the week, we were busy with the interior of the chicken run. We had to provide some sticks on which the chicken can sleep, some breading places and buy the food- and drinking basins. On Monday we also went to the farmer who sells the right type of chicken, as we discussed in the meeting on Saturday. Julius went to the chicken farm with Monica. There they also sell chicken food and the food,- and drink basins. Julius asked for the prices to see how much money we have left to buy as much chickens as possible. We had till Wednesday to finish the chicken run, and luckily finished it on time.