Obama is born

 Thursday, July 30, 2009— I was somewhat disappointed to find that in my absence the work on the school building had not been finished. The linten was put on the walls, but the gables were not built as had been agreed. This is extremely frustrating as the rain has stopped, the road is passable, and I had hoped that the material for the roof could be brought from Homer Bay this week. We did get the gables finished by Wednesday, but it would take a further five days to dry; effectively this delayed us by another week.

The school opening!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 — Week seven and eight: 27-04-09 to 9-5-09. The school was to be opened on the 4th of May, at the start of term 2, so the week before was extremely busy, and problematic.

Rain, rain, rain!

Thursday, June 4, 2009 — Weeks two and three: 24th March 2009 to 3rd April 2009. This time I returned to the village on my own. My priority was to organise a Harambee Meeting. This is a kind of community fundraising event introduced by the first Kenyan President, Jomo Kenyatta, immediately after independence to promote development through social responsibility [I’m told it has an almost legal status]. This sense of commitment to local development certainly seems to have rubbed off on the committee members who have been working hard in my absence. This is an excellent sign of the feeling of local project ownership that Teach A Man To Fish feels is vital for the success of the school. They have been busy conducting local market research to ascertain the selling prices of and the demand for the product we shall be offering. This will allow us to finish the projection figures for the businesses and decide which ones to begin with. A community meeting was arranged for the end of the week, which was the perfect opportunity for me to explain the role of Teach A Man To Fish to inquisitive locals. Everyone was extremely happy at the prospect of a girl’s school and very grateful for the work that the committee was putting in.

Interviews and bananas

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 — Weeks four and five and six: 7th April 09 to 24th April 09. The first week was largely spent creating the constitution for the project. For the group to be registered as a Community Based Organisation [CBO] with the social services this document is a necessity, as it is with the donor organisations. The problem was that the level of detail in a standard Kenyan CBO constitution and that required for UK-based organisations to secure due-diligence is vastly different; so I had to work on it for a few days when I returned to the Africa Now office. I suppose this is one of the potential difficulties in participatory practice.

James Riggs: Blog for Ondati Girl’s School

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 —  Sustainable School Project for Teach A Man To Fish UK. 

My experience in Ondati exists on two planes, and as a portrayal of this internship, I shall try to highlight both the professional and personal accounts of my time here. I spend two weeks at a time in the village and then headed back to the large town of Kisumu to use the offices of Africa Now (http://www.africanow.org/) and send relevant information back to the UK. It is also here that I shall write the blog of my time in the village.

Welcome to St Denis...

If you travel an hour out of Masaka in South East Uganda, along a dusty road lined with banana plantations, you will find St Denis Senior Secondary School. Situated in Makondo, a rural area of Uganda, St Denis is a school of 250 students and a team of 15 teachers. The majority of families in this area are subsistence farmers living on a very low income.

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