by Soham Dalwani and Zahan Bharucha
It only truly hits you that you are a Project Worker, when you enter the school compound and are instantly greeted by a wave of ‘how are you’s from over a hundred students at once. For more than half a year we wondered what the experience will be like, where we will be living and how we can help; but all these questions fade away when you see the glee on each and every child’s face on greeting you.
Our last week in George Khaniri Jepkoyai Secondary School and Kakamega has been exhilarating, to say the least. Everything from being in the Central House with 26 other Project Workers we grew to know, to experiencing an entirely new culture and cuisine had left us eager to start our projects and new lives at our respective schools. After five days of training, that included everything from comms training to health briefings, we held our own Head Teachers Conference where PWs finally met their head teachers and stimulating discussions surrounding school funding, technology and discipline were tabled. Following this, we bid our goodbyes and left for our schools. Thus began our first official week as Project Workers.
Walking through our schools for the first time, our minds were rife with ideas for potential projects and areas that required a deeper investigation. GKJ (George Khaniri Jepkoyai) is a third-year investment school and the impacts of the previous projects are visible throughout the school. These include a 10000 litre water tank, a library, a lab and even a solar energy system. Both students and teachers speak highly of the previous project workers who clearly left a mark not just physically on the school but on the lives of the local community.
While there has clearly been progress, both the staff and the students are always keen for further opportunities for growth. In our little time here, there have been talks about an extra washroom, a Subject Day for Form 2 students to help choose KCSE subjects, equipping classrooms with whiteboards and even purchasing a projector. Everyone in the community strives to welcome us as one of their own which was especially felt when we were taught how to make baskets by a farmer near the school. This is one of many experiences that one would struggle to find elsewhere as part of any other programme or charity.
As we embark on our second week, our projects are beginning to take shape as we try to explore new and innovative solutions to situations we often take for granted at home, and ‘how are you’ slowly turns into ‘Habari’.
You can support Sohams and Zahan’s work at George Khaniri by donating here.
Today (18th July) only, your donation can be matched whilst funds last!
Anna is EPAfrica’s CEO. She was a Project Worker in Kisii in 2007 at Kemasare Secondary School and has been involved in EPAfrica in various capacities ever since!