Thursday, June 28, 2012

Turkeys and Chickens in Kenya

Bret has regular visitors while staying at the KCC.  Sometimes they come to say "hi" or "welcome", sometimes they come bearing gifts, as is often the case of the families of our scholarship students.

A scholarship student and his family bring a duck as a gift to Bret

With the help of Self Reliant Agriculture, we are teaching villagers how to grow bigger, stronger and healthier chickens.  Chickens in our village area are common, but rarely do they have any size.  They are usually scrawny because they are exposed to sickness and disease without receiving the necessary antibiotics, while running wild foraging for their food. Our chickens receive the best of care from the time they exit the egg, never touching the Kenyan soil until they are over a month old.  Antibiotics are administered regularly to fight off the common avian illnesses that are so prevalent here, and our feed is the best available.  In return, our birds are healthy, with higher egg output.  The villagers are seeing the returns of keeping healthy animals, and are beginning to adopt the methods we are teaching.  The end result is to provide eggs and meat for the children on a regularly basis, and our strides are beginning to pay off.

Chicks in an enclosure get a healthy start
 Turkeys are VERY rare in Kenya, and fetch a price that is more than twice what they cost in America.  The Head Teacher at the South Summit School, Mama Mishi, had an outlet to sell turkeys, but had sold her birds in order to pay medical bills for her daughter that was born last year with Downs Syndrome.  With her contacts and willingness to care for the birds, we launched a private venture to raise these birds. 

Mama Mishi's daughter, Chizi (cheese-ee), entered the hen house to show us one of the nests that is full of eggs. There are four more nests just like this one, indicating that Thanksgiving platters in Mombasa will be filled with our birds.

 This Tom is a great model showing the overall health of our flock.  And there are more healthy birds strutting around our turkey enclosure.

The most exciting thing about our current work in Kenya is the innovative new projects, and the ability we have to incorporate fresh ideas into the work.  We are well established in the community, and our continued support of village schools and students, as well as multiple other projects has earned the trust of the villagers.  They are beginning to come to us with new ideas, and the partnerships we are creating will provide great opportunities for the future.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kenya Updates - June 2012

Bret has been in Kenya for nearly 2 weeks.  There is a small expedition there now, with more board members to arrive this week, and 2 large expeditions coming in July.  There is a lot of activity going on.  Here are a few photos and explanations of what they are from Bret:

The innocent eyes of young Kambi (Cam-bee) look curiously into his first camera, fearful of the white man smiling at him.  He is the son of our seamstress, Mbeyu (Mm-bay-you), so he had better not shed those tears every time he sees one of us, or he'll surely become dehydrated.

Halee cuddles a newborn that she helped deliver at our dispensary.  Although she has a nursing background, helping bring this baby into the world was a special experience.

Sandra Dahl stands in front of the bore hole that is being drilled courtesy of the generous students and parents of Orion Junior High.  Once finished, this water well will change the lives of more families than any other single project in the area.  Clean drinking water, an additional growing season for vegetables, and the eradication of many water-borne diseases that are so common to surface water.  Priceless!

As the outside walls are completed, roofing begins on the youth group huts.  Within a couple of days the initial mudding will be applied, and by the time our youth group arrives they will assist in the completion of these palatial dwellings, spending two weeks walking in the shoes of the Kenyans we serve.  This group of young adults will have an experience that even the most veteran Koins supporters have never enjoyed.

I believe that Bret Matano was the first "Bret" in the village area.  There is rumor that one exists who is just a little bit older, but I don't know to whom they are referring as there are a few within this age range.  I believe this one looks more like me than the others, plus he practices his English and can communicate with me while the others cannot.  He knows I'm good for a few cookies when he walks the 2 miles of paths from his house to the Koins Center.....a journey well worth the effort.

The heavens opened yesterday washing away the dust while it washed away many concerns about the survivability of our villager's crops.  The level of humidity skyrocketed after the storms passed, but so did the water behind our Dam on Kevin's Creek.  The outlook on our gardens, construction projects, and interactive programs for our upcoming expedition could not be better.

I will post more as photos come my way.  There is so much happening in Kenya! 

Asante Sana,