top of page
IMG_1913.jpeg

Project Sayansi

October - November 2023

Science Laboratory construction

It was a pleasure constructing a science laboratory for kaimbaga secondary school. We, the teachers, the students and the governors are hopeful this facility will make a massive positive difference to the whole community.

IMG_0831_edited.jpg

£25,000

Raised

IMG_0826.jpeg

01

Clean Water Source

IMG_2061.jpeg

12

Electricity Outlets

IMG_1870.jpeg

400

children helped

IMG_1712.jpeg

30

Gas outlets

IMG_0932.jpeg

11

teachers supported

Medyka Route.png

On the Map...

Kaimbaga Secondary School is based in the town of Kaimbaga near Nakura.

The population of the town is difficult to find anywhere online as statistics like this are generally not published. 

What's the story?

On 4th November 2023, I left Kenya as the build of the science laboratory for Kaimbaga Secondary School was complete. Just in time too, as Form Four have their KCPE exams starting on Monday 6th.

Kaimbaga Secondary School faces a number of challenges that schools and children in other, more developed schools don’t face. The school was aiming to achieve above an average Grade of 4 (roughly equivalent to a C-) across their school curriculum. They were failing short of this target when we arrived, and the teachers attributed this to an average grade of 2.5 in Chemistry, Biology and Physics.

The science exams in Chemistry, Physics and Biology in Kenya all have a theory and practical element. However, some schools in rural areas, like Kaimbaga, do not have a science laboratory to practise or even test their findings in the practical experiments.

On the day I arrived in Kaimbaga, Paul, a form 4 student, said two things to me which have stuck with me:

“I do not know how I am supposed to answer a question that asks me to name 12 safety rules I should always abide by in a laboratory when I have never been in a laboratory”

 

Paul was one of the schools best and most hopeful students. The school has only ever had one student average above a B- across all their subjects, and Paul was hoping to be the second this year. The other thing Paul said to me was:

 

“I have never seen a Muzungu before with my own eyes. I am sure I will not sleep tonight as I am so excited.”

 

This was a running theme across Kaimbaga. There was not much tourism in the area at all. Ol’Kalou, the nearest town was about 15km from the school. Ol’Kalou is the capital of Nyandurara County and hosts the government offices. This is a major employer in the area. Other employers and jobs available are sparse, so the main industry is farming. 

 

One thing Kaimbaga is not short of is land, which creates lots of agriculture opportunities. The main crop is Maize (corn in the UK and US) and this is eaten almost every meal, in the form of Ughali. Other crops include potatoes, beans, avocados and a few others. It is not uncommon to have the same meal on repeat, but the food is fresh and healthy so there are no complaints.

 

Schoolchildren are supplied food at school for an additional fee. A lot of children would not eat at home so coming to school for food, which is usually Ughali and cabbage, is massively beneficial to them.

 

Often, the children/parents can’t afford to pay the school lunch fees. There is also sometimes an additional fee for teachers wages, which outlines another real issue across Kenya.

 

Kaimbaga is a public government school, meaning anyone from any background can go there. There are lots of these across the world, where the government provides free education to school children until a certain age, which is Kenya is 18. In the UK, this system at large works particularly well, however it is not often the same in developing countries. Government budgets are more stretched and sometimes payments don’t reach the school. On top of this, corruption can also mean that money goes ‘missing’. So, sometimes public government schools ask their pupils parents to contribute. 

 

The amount is roughly $40 a year for food and schooling.  

 

Having stated all these challenges, Kenyans are positive and enterprising people. The school has a very active board, which is very ably led by Board Chair Peter Karanja. Ruth, the principle, has only been in Kaimbaga for a short period but has had a massively positive impact on the whole school. The teachers are very engaging and positive about the future of the school, and this rubs off in the pupils.

 

Another major supporter is a family who have come to mean a lot to me personally. General Njorgje and his wife, Mama Eric, support the school amazing amounts. ‘General’, as he is known locally, started the school just after he left his post as the Commander of the Kenyan Army. He initiated the idea and has been instrumental in founding Kaimbaga Secondary. He began building but unfortunately for the school was appointed the Kenyan Ambassador to Israel during the build, so left for Tel Aviv. Upon returning to Kenya, he started where he left off and the school eventually was registered with the government in 2016. Peter ‘Engineer’ Karanja was appointed Board Chair and still holds his position today.

 

The Science Laboratory itself was ably built by Kirago ‘Steve-O’ and his team. This team works Monday-Saturday, 8am-6pm, for eleven weeks. Steve-O is the representative of the pupils parents for Kaimbaga as well as a skilled handyman. He recruited other skilled workers and friends of the school to assist with the build. They did a terrific job and felt as though it was their project from start to finish, which it was and still is today. I personally worked with the team most days I was there and we had a lot of fun as well. On 3rd of November, my final night in Kaimbaga, we slaughtered two goats and drank wine and talked fondly of our memories from the past few weeks. It was at this time when one of our team, Maureen, said to me this:

 

“We have been able to support our families and eat in the past three months Chris. The wages we have had from working has helped us support ourselves. This is all because of this project. This laboratory. Which is going to help the school as well. God has blessed us these past few months, and God willing we will blessed in the future.”

 

Another worker Victor (I named him Cali), had this to say about the work too:

 

“I was a pupil at the school last year. I was unable to pay my fees but the school kept supporting me and feeding me. I was not very well behaved either. I thought I was Gangster. I told the principle I would pay back the fees I owed. Now, because of the money I have earn’t building this laboratory, I don’t owe the school any money. And I got to help the school I love so much”

 

The reason I named Victor Cali, was because on the first day arrived in Kaimbaga I was told to work alongside him mixing cement for the day. I asked him whereabouts he was from as he told me he was cycling to work every day, quite a long distance. His reply was, ‘Not far from California’

 

Now, the laboratory is complete. Fitted with gas, water, wastage and electricity. There is an office, two storerooms and a main classroom. A security light shines brightly and it is kept guard in the evening by a watchman. There are 14 sinks, 14 gas taps, and 8 power sockets in the main classroom. There is also a clean water tank which runs directly from the local borehole and supplies water to the whole laboratory.

 

It has been a great success, and something we could only have done as a complete team effort.

 

Now, we can only say best of luck to this years Form 4’s who will be the first to sit their exams in the new facility. 

 

We will keep you all posted with their results.

Money, Money, Money...

One important part of Chris' Charity Projects is the transparency of the finance. So, for each project I will aim to outline the expected costs vs the actual costs to ensure everyone knows exactly where their donations are going.

The Budget for the Science Laboratory was 4 million Kenyan Shillings, which at the time of writing is roughly £27,000.

The total cost came in at 3.96 million kenyan shillings. We spent the remaining 0.04 million shillings on Books, pens and other supplies for the students in form 4 who were about to sit their exams.

bottom of page