Waruiru’s First Few Weeks

Waruiru Mburu is working on a project in Uganda. As she has limited internet access she asked me to post this for her. You can see more about Waruiru’s Project on the Macalester Home Page  where her story was featured! Story here.

I arrived at Bunabumali village on a Tuesdy night. The journey was long and quite slippery especially up the hills. The village is at the slopes of Mt. Elgon. On Wednesday I had a meeting with the director, main contractor, some members in the board and a community member representative and we revisited the plan. We revised the budget as the cost of some things had gone up while others like timber were readily available. On Thursday we ordered lake sand, concerete, river sand, cement and white lime. The main problem was transporting the materials up the hill so we had to hire trucks. The people were very co operative though and helped carry the materials to the site when the trucks could not move up the hills.

On Friday the main work began. We hired six extra professional builders and had some community people helping with jobs like fetching water. Being a rural area, water is not readily available so we had to hire someone to reconnect the tap water. People from other nearby villages have been very curious about the building and many of them have visted the site – it is the only stone building in the village. They are also quite impressed by the idea of a community library and hopefully they will make full use of it.

I have also been teaching the primary seven and six classes – about two lessons per day. The students are very smart and motivated. To most of them, English is their third language but they have made maximum use of the few reading books they have to improve their English. The teachers and  two volunteers at the site from the UK, (have been at the school for about an year so they are very well versed with the school) , have been very helpful in coming up with a book list that the pupils really need.

By Tuesday 14/06/2011, the building was almost done! The main parts that were remaining were painting, smoothening the floor, finishing the corners and outside apron. The workers really work hard everyday.

On Wednesday I left for Kampala with the director to order the books. So far we have got 85 children’s reading books and 200 books on health. We made an order for curriculum based books but we have to wait for sometime so that the distributor (Gustro) can contact other publishers to confirm whether they have the books we need in market. Unfortunately, some of the books by Macmillan are not readily available – they run out pretty fast – so we had to go with other publishers like Longhorn and MK.

The main problem that we have encountered so far was the transfer of money from a US account to a Kenyan account. I didnt know that it is not possible to wire money from US account when am not present so we resulted to Moneygram. But moneygram had a maximum transfer for a month and we had to switch to western union which required a verification code that took about a week. But am glad everything has been sorted out as my parents were able to liase with a Kenyan bank for quick transfer of the money.

It has been an amazing almost three weeks in the beautiful beautiful village, amazing scenery, welcoming and lovely people. I am also learning the local language (Lugisu) even though most of the people speak Swahili.

Hope all the projects are going well

Wanyala Nabii (Thank you in Lugisu)

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