TEACHING-EMPOWERING-MENTORING-BUILDING OPPORTUNITY Mission: to partner with individuals and communities in Western Kenya to support entrepreneurial activities, education and health through training programmes, scholarships, water and sanitation projects

Friday, February 28, 2014

The no-name fruit

We handed over two wells in schools on Thursday. (pictures later) Once again we were showered with produce from the community: pineapple, papaya, avocado, mango, guava, sugar cane, cassava, sweet potato and pumpkin. Plus two new fruits to us. One is dark purple and  small, like a black olive with a large pit. It is sweet but dries the mouth at the end. Interesting if eaten with something else. The real mystery fruit is large and soft, like a floppy puppy except it has a firm. prickly skin. Inside it looks a bit like a pineapple except the flesh is dry and fairly tasteless. Nestled. all along the sides are dark patches of soft, sweet fruit each holding a large seed.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Last days

After a busy week touring clean water projects, composting toilets, schools and meeting many people, our group of adventurers spent a quieter last day in another community where they were able to see jewelry being made. The last evening was marked by mbuzi (goat roast) night at the Kakamega Sports Club. Departure on Saturday morning for safari in the Maasai Mara.
In Julius's workshop

After the 'trip of a life-time''

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Adventure Tour Day 5

We toured the schools that have received composting toilets to replace the smelly, polluting pit latrines. For more information on this project go to our web site (www.tembokenya.org) On the front page you will see the condition of the pit latrines in use when we started.
new toilets for boys at Shisango

Toilets under construction at Homunoywa
Girls' toilet at Shisango

We were received for lunch at Kati orphanage and entertained by the children

Friday, February 21, 2014

Adventure tour Day 4

On day 4 of the adventure tour we visited water sites: wells, protected springs and a site that very much needs clean water. Lunch was again indigenous foods in the community

It's not so easy going down the slope to the spring but our adventurer made it with a helping hand

Lunch with some new tastes

The well serving the orphanage and community

Here the water from the spring is clean

But here the community needs clean water

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Adventure Tour Day 2 & 3

On Monday the group met county government officials and learned something of the challenges facing Kenya as power is devolved from the central government to the counties. We had lunch with memebrs of the Tembo-Kenya advisory committee.

On day 3 we ventured out to a rural school where the children entertained us with poems and songs focused on their Virtues.
The children gather for the entertainment

Virtue of the week

Giving out some pencils

We were then warmly welcomed by two community groups who explained what they were doing with their people and provided us with a typical African meal: arrowroot, ugali (pudding) made of millet or maize meal, various greens (pumpkin leaves, cow peas, spinach) roasted bananas and yams. 

The men had to join the dance

The women could watch

The members proudly display their Virtues certificates

Monday, February 17, 2014

Adventure tour group

The group arrived safely on Friday evening and spent a day in Nairobi, including a visit to the elephant sanctuary and the Karen Blixen House. On Sunday we flew to Kisumu and stopped at Rondo Retreat for lunch and a walk in the tropical rain forest.
Goodbye to Ben, the driver, and ready for adventure

The Retreat Centre backs on to the lush tropical forest
Monday was a learning day with a talk on the transition to the new Constitution, meeting with the assistant Governor of the County and with the County Director of Education. All the officials laid out the challenges facing the new administration and answered questions.
Lunch followed with members of Tembo-Kenya Advisory Committee and then a free afternoon to play golf, shop or wander around the town.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Five water, one toilet

We have contracted for five shallow wells and two sets of composting toilets. We took today to travel to the sites to check on progress. For the toilets (Hamonoywa) the bricks are made and the slabs are in place. When the blocks finish curing the contractor will start building. The community has been most supportive, bringing food and even mattresses for the workmen who stay in one classroom.
Site for girls

Interlocking blocks

site for boys
There are five schools receiving water from the Rotary grant. Three are almost complete since they have struck water at depths of 30-40 ft. These are hand-dug wells so the workmen are lowered on ropes into the hole.

Ebulako Pri

Eluhobe Pri and Sec

Mungoye Pri


Sunday, February 9, 2014


One of our students is now a Clinical Officer but still looking for work other than the occasional locum assignment. He came 'home' from Nairobi for a funeral and spent the week doing the rounds of local clinics and hospitals. While at the funeral he found a girl unable to walk with her feet and legs eaten away with 'jiggers' They live in the dust, lay eggs preferably close to the nail. The eggs hatch and feed on the flesh. If untreated it can lead to the loss of feet and limbs. The treatment consists of strong disinfectant and then easing out each larva with  a pin. Tedious, time consuming and painful. He costed out the treatment for us and has gone off to treat the girl, her little brother and the whole house.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Read for the Top triumphs again

Julius the jeweler brought us great news today. The school in his village did Read for the Top in class 6 two years ago. These children have just received the results of their class 8 national exams. Last year the mean score for class 8 was 197 out of 500. This year (the Read for the Top group) the mean was 267! All children scored high enough (over 200) to continue to high school. The school was the most improved in the county and ranked 10th for most improved school nation wide. The county education task force came to visit to ask how they did it. Julius is chair of the school management committee and explained about Read for the Top.

Of course it takes more than just doing the Read for the Top contest. We honour the teacher for his hard work over two years and the children for their perseverance. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hamonoywa Primary

Canadian Nurses for Africa is funding the replacement of pit latrines with composting toilets in this school. Work will start next week so today the precise site for the new toilets was marked out. They will sit in the open area in front of the existing latrines.

In the same school Tembo will be putting in steps in steep places to make access easier and safer to the very busy spring 

Saturday, February 1, 2014


The students all have such a good time with role plays and group discussions,(with lots of laughter)  learning how to be assertive and saying 'No' when necessary. Then comes the serious part: thinking about keeping themselves safe from abuse. We dealt with two groups (boys and girls separately with over 100 boys and about 90 girls). They are cooperative and respectful and we move through smoothly. Temperatures are now into the 30's and we were under a corrugated metal roof. It was a sauna! Even the water in my drinking bottle was at room temperature. Plus those concrete floors are hard on the feet and knees!