New Classroom Completed

We celebrate the completion of a new classroom block at Nkasioki which is growing from an initial kindergarten in 2005, to a full fledged primary school. 

Even as school children dug for water in the dry bed below, we took time to rehabilitate another suspended bridge near Siana in the Mara so that when the waters do rage, the primary school children will be able to cross safely to school.

Scholarships for Secondary School

This month we launched a new initiative under our Change for Children Program called ICDC Scholars.  8 years ago we began opening Integrated Child Development Centers around the country to meet the needs of young children at risk.  Today, many of those same children have begun graduating from primary school (8th grade).  The ICDC Scholars progam will make it possible for one child at a time from each ICDC unit to qualify for a full secondary school scholarship. We hope to eventually support 8 scholars at any given time.  This year we chose 3 scholars who are now enrolled and beginning their secondary education!  We are grateful for those that are eager to help us help these children with a continuing education.  Thank you!



Luca's Crossing Completed

Luca's Crossing is now complete!  The bridge was completed during the week of January 19 and dedicated on January 24th during a very colorful ceremony. Speeches were given by members of the local community, Bridging the Gap and Africa Exchange, goats were slaughtered and sodas were plenty.

In all the celebration, three things were foremost - the person and life of Luca Harrell, the joy of the surrounding community who will now avoid an otherwise sometimes treacherous river crossing, and the honor we have of working with partners and communities to bring about positive development. 

Building Luca's Crossing

Our long-standing partnership with Bridging the Gap Africa springs into action again as we participate together in a very significant project on the Talek River in the Masai Mara region.  The construction of 'Luca's Crossing' is a memorial to the life, creativity and talent of Luca Harrell who left us in October, 2013. Funds from Luca's friends and family together with additional generous support to Africa Exchange's Development Initiatives will enable Masai communities seperated by this frequently flooded river to have safe access to education, healthcare and market commerce.

An innovative design by BTG and the mobilization of efforts and contributions from the surrounding community will ensure that this bridge withstands tree strikes during flooding periods, a problem previously encountered on this river. Three phases of the project are now complete, namely, (1) survey and community mobilization; (2) design and fabrication; (3) anchor and tower installation.  The final phase, stringing the bridge and community celebration will take place in late January following the cessation of the short rains.

Many thanks to BTG founder and friend Harmon Parker, engineer Eric Bonet, and site supervisor Sylvester Ouko for their talents and dedication to the process as well as the countless community workers who gather sand, gravel and use their strength as an instrument of progress.

Traveling to Beni, DRC

Among other things this month was a road trip to Beni, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, via Uganda, at the invitation of Congo Initiative.  I continue to be amazed at the beauty and abundance of this equatorial region.  Seeing piles and piles of timber awaiting transport from DRC to the East, however, left me wondering how long this abundance will last.  I share some related reflections here