small foundation with a big impact

Marjolein's impression

The children at Ngorika very much wanted to take an excursion to the new stoplights, which they had never seen before. So they all climbed into the school bus for a little trip. Edward, the local director is very good at telling this story, and I would have loved to have been there.

Nolarip, the manager at Kikatiti, also had a cheerful story to tell: over the past months a lot of energy has been invested in the vegetable garden. One of the staff members has devoted a great deal of time to the garden, with visible results. The eggplants were bursting in their purple skins, and the tomatoes coloured the area a cheerful red. The garden has already significantly reduced the amount spent on food. But not only that. Because the children are eating more fruit and vegetables, there has also been a significant improvement in their health. Fewer costly visits to the doctor are necessary, and the matrons told us the children’s skin is much softer. Who knew that zucchini could works such wonders? Of course the children at Kikatiti are not immune to ordinary childhood diseases such as chickenpox. The children were covered in talcum powder, which fortunately relieves the itching.

The children at Ngorika had other concerns. The last class was preparing for the transition to secondary school. In order to be admitted to one of the secondary schools we work with, all children must pass an entrance exam. I visited these secondary schools with a growing sense of pride. The children have a very high level when they leave Ngorika, and can be admitted to the best schools in Arusha. This means that the chance of going on to higher education after secondary schools also increases, as well as their chance of building a financially independent life, which is of course our ultimate goal.

November is always a very busy month. The national mock exams have taken place and secondary school registration can begin. Kikatiti is also busy, registering children who would like to live at the school. Social worker Mary checks their backgrounds and decides which children qualify for residence. Mary’s stories about home visits and the situations she finds children in leave a lasting impression, and her work is highly valued.

There are of course challenges to be met. The water provisions, both for the children and the vegetable garden are still cause for concern. The cost of running the pump is high, as is maintenance. The same is true of the generator at Ngorika. Because children need to do their homework after it gets dark, we use a diesel generator to light the classrooms. Every extra hour of homework costs a litre of diesel fuel, but the decision is easily justified. The road to Ngorika is another story. The dirt road is in very poor condition, and the potholes and stones cause a great deal of damage to our vehicles. We have therefore asked a local contractor to make the road passable. The fact the (local) government does nothing to help makes this a difficult decision. Now we can only hope that the repairs will hold up throughout the rainy season. Fingers crossed!

Marolein de Rooij, 5 November 2014

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