We flew from Nairobi to Kisumu and checked into a hotel in the area.
In the morning of November 29th Kista, Michael, Steve and I met a driver at the hotel and headed off for the day to visit 3 different groups of people in the area who need clean water.
Visit to Rachuonyo
The first village we visited was in the Rachuonyo area. This was where Kista’s grandmother and father lived. It was a beautiful area with large granite rocks covering the landscape. (see pictures) There is no piped water in the village and people rely only on rainwater retention ponds for cooking, drinking and bathing water. Both animals and people use the same water source. (see pictures) The water is dirty, polluted and causes a lot of waterborne illnesses. The rainwater retention ponds serve 1000 people in the area
We discussed how to build rainwater collection tanks from the roofs and perhaps a ground tank to collect water as well.
We visited the Obilo Primary School in the village and saw how they relied solely on rainwater for drinking and cooking as well. The school has 361 students and 13 teachers. The student population is made up of 84 disabled students. The headmaster said they require about 800 liters of water a day to serve the children. We suggested that a biosand filter may be the best solution. They use Aqua tabs and a large LifeStraw tank to filter their water. The children get filtered water at school but not in their homes.
Visit to local Women’s Pottery Group
See picture of their sign by road
While we were visiting the area we asked if there were any local potters in the area. They directed us toward a women’s coop just off the highway. The women there coil pots and tops of rocket stoves. They also hand-build many sculptural items like animals. They gave us a tour and explained their clay process. We visited their wood kiln that also used old cooking oil. They expressed they were having issues with this kiln and often just reverted to using their original round wood fired kiln. This kiln reminded me of the kilns in India that were tumbled-stacked and stoked from the bottom.
Visit to the Chiela Women’s Group on Dunga Beach on Lake Victoria
In 2014, 16 rural women came together to form a group to learn skills to earn money and become more self-reliant. When we arrived we were met with singing and dancing to welcome us. We sat in a circle and made introductions. I was asked to come to speak with them to talk about helping them develop a soap-making business. They had made soap from caustic soda, smashed avocados, coconut oil, perfume, colorant and aloe vera juice. Their soap was pressed into plastic containers as molds. I noticed that their soap was grainy and not smooth like typical bar soap. I think they did not heat the oils before they added them to the hot caustic soda.
I explained my method, gave them samples of my soap, along with 2 books of soap recipes. I also introduced how to make soap from wood ash. Although I did not recommend them making this type of soap for the market, it would be cheap and easy for home use. I said I would help them with a business plan and send 2 videos of my soap making methods for them to train from.
Visit to meet Kennedy in the village of Elukunza in Vihiga County
Kennedy and his local community group work with Chris Roesel from P2P organization, as well as Jeff ***** from Engineers without Borders. They are working together to get a bore hole dug and then piping the water to the 200 households in the village. We saw the drilling of the borehole during our visit. We were invited to Kennedy’s house and we met his wife Rosemary and daughter Maureen. Kennedy was not there due to out of town business. We left our names and contact information for the group who expressed interest in ceramic water filters.
Visit to Kista’s Family Home
We drove to Kista’s family home and met her mother. She prepared a delicious chicken meal for us and gave us a tour of her garden.
Visit to Water Filter Factory near Kiminini
We had heard there was a working water filter factory near Kiminini in Vihigi County. Kista called to schedule a visit. We met the owner, Joshua who had started his factory in 2007 after connecting with Ron Rivera and others. We toured his facilities and saw his machinery and wood fired kiln. After our visit, we determined he was not currently in production.
Flight back to Nairobi
We were scheduled to fly back to Nairobi in preparation for our flight home late on December 4th.
December 2nd - met with Nixon Kioko Saf
Nixon is currently working with Chris Roesel from P2P and Jeff Morgan from Engineers without Borders for clean water in his village of Misuuni - Miumbuni in Machakos County, south of Nairobi. They have dug a borehole in the village and currently use a generator to pump the water into a large community tank. The borehole is 360 ft deep. The issue is that it does not supply enough water for the village during the dry season. They need plans to dig more boreholes in the community.
They also have plans to install handwashing stations in the village, and dig 14 pit latrines at the primary school.
Nixon is interested in Potters for Peace building a ceramic water filter factory in the village. We discussed introducing ceramic filters to see how well they are accepted and then trying to build a team of people who are interested in investing in the project.
December 3rd - bought a treadle run Singer Sewing machine
Due to the interest in creating sewing training centers for women who want to learn to sew, I invested in a Singer sewing machine to take back to the States with me. I plan to hook the sewing machine up to a treadle and learn to sew with it. This will help me better understand the machines and the training the women will require to make dresses and reusable sanitary napkins.
I have 2 requests to set up sewing training centers. The centers will start out with 5 machines each and an instructor for 1 year. The business plan will try to have the training centers become self-sustaining after 1 year. I plan to set one up in Minova, Congo (DRC), and one in Kisumu, Kenya.
December 4th - We head to the airport to fly out at 1:45 AM on Sunday