I am always happy to be part of a win-win situation. Last year I enjoyed one that was win-win-win. If I think about it I could add more win’s but you get the point, I am sure.
The St Gorety School is a secondary school in a small village called Mikei, Kenya. It is pretty rurual, about 20 km inland from Lake Victoria and in Nyanza Province, one of the least advantaged districts of Kenya.
Through CanAssist, and with my Canadian friends, Virginia and Suzanne I met Edward Kabaka a couple of years ago. Edward is a founder of a local support group called Rieko Kenya. Well, to make a rather long story shorter, Edward brought the needs of St Gorety School to our attention. Basically the school, serving secondary students from the surrounding region, was overcrowded and needed more classroom space.
So in 2012, CanAssist agreed to construct one classroom and complete another which had been partially built with Kenyan government funds which dried up before the roof could be put on the building.
Virginia and Suzanne, secondary school teachers themselves in Kingston, promoted this project to some of their students who responded with fundraising to help with this building.
At the same time, the Queen’s Health Outreach group, university students whose mandate is to promote Health education to students and youth in various parts of the developing world, were looking for a new district in Kenya to work. I have been an ad hoc mentor to this group for the past several years and it seemed natural to put them in touch with Edward and the St. Gorety School.
QHO students visited several schools and community groups in the Nyatike region in 2012.
Last year the QHO group spent several weeks in the Mikei/Nyatike community, living in a house overlooking the rolling Kenyan hills and interacting with schools and women’s groups in the region to educate and promote healthy living practices. Another group of six QHO students are excited to be returning to the community in May/June this year.
When I visited the St Gorety School and other groups in the region in February, they all lit up with smiles at the mention of the QHO students and were ecstatic to hear that there would be a group returning this year.
So where do all the “win’s” come in?
- CanAssist has been delighted to be able to provide infrastructure support to the school (and three other community groups as well…more about those in later posts).
- The QHO group has found a welcoming community where they are able to do their outreach work to promote education about health to young Africans.
- The community which was actually quite neglected and off the beaten track for development has been excited to welcome visitors from Canada who are eager to help them improve their living circumstances. Kenyans love visitors.
- Edward Kabaka has found support for his dream of improving well-being in the community.
- Some of the students at KCVI and LCVI in Kingston have established pen-pal relationships with students in Kenya and have the satisfaction of having been able to help their peers in Africa.
And I sit back and smile. It’s all so good.
Treat yourself to the joyous music from the St. Gorety school choir in the Youtube video below.