Category Archives: Project Korando

Korando School Building Update, September 2018

School Construction Project

School Construction Project

$300,000.00

$100,000.00

$

As noted in our previous report, continued progress has been made in achieving the permissions and paperwork to begin the construction of the school building. On Friday, September 7th, the site handover took place! This means the contractor has taken over the property and is bringing in his equipment and materials with construction scheduled to commence by September 21st!

The cost of the 12-room school building is expected to be $300,000 USD and is planned for two phases. This first phase is a six-room building which is expected to be completed by late February 2019. We have currently raised approximately $100,000 for Phase 1 and are pursuing the additional $50,000 needed to complete the work. Once the initial $150,000 funding is secured we will begin the fundraising (another $150,000) for Phase 2 of the project which is the additional 6 rooms. Now is a great time to donate to the Ripple Effect Project with your contribution earmarked “School Construction Project” or further any previous donations made! Contact Vin with any questions (vin [at] rippleeffectproject [dot] org).

Meet the Students: Kennedy

Kennedy Ochieng Omollo’s story‭ ‬is an example of some of the challenges children in Kenya face when trying to complete their education. Unlike free public education in the US, schools in Kenya charge fees to attend every year beginning in primary school. Mandatory academic testing and annual school fees often cause students to stop their education. Luckily for children without means in Kisumu, Mama Dolfine stays connected to her community to find and support able students who are struggling due to these factors.

Kennedy was born December 11, 1998 in western Kisumu. Belonging to a poor family, neither of his parents had steady employment, and both worked odd jobs while he was young. In 2006 Kennedy began attending primary school near his home. His first year he was able to skip ECDE, Kenya’s kindergarten equivalent, and that year he tested at the top of his class for Grade 1. While attending Grade 1 Kennedy’s mother passed away, leaving him in the care of his father and eldest sister. His father remarried a few years later while he was attending Grade 4. His stepmother then required him to sell bananas in the town during the day for extra income. Because he sold them during school hours his grades began to suffer and he stopped attending. Kennedy’s teacher recognized his potential and reached out about his absence, and he rejoined school. Despite these setbacks, that year Kennedy had the third highest test score among all students from 8 area schools. He continued selling bananas throughout primary school to afford his fees each year. This lifestyle took its toll however, and when he sat for his exams for admittance to high school (secondary school) in 2013, he scored only just above passing. With lackluster test scores and no way to pay for the higher secondary school fees, Kennedy did not enroll in the Kenyan Grade 9 equivalent.

It was at this point that Kennedy’s former teacher referred him to Korando. Mama Dolfine agreed to take Kennedy on as a student in Grade 8 and allow him to live at the center. Students at Korando are not required to contribute fees, so Kennedy was given the opportunity to complete a remedial year and test again for entrance to secondary school. That same year, Kennedy’s father was arrested, but Kennedy pursued his studies in earnest despite this trouble. Kennedy thrived with the security and support Korando provided and when he sat for his exams a second time he scored very well. Mama Dolfine agreed to cover his fees at a local high school provided he kept his grades up. 

Kennedy credits Mama Dolfine and Korando with giving him the skills to succeed in life, and he has done well academically the last three years. He is now in his final year of secondary school, and is looking forward to attending university in 2019. Kennedy hopes to become a lawyer at the national level who can represent his area with pride and advocate on the people’s behalf.

Farm Update, September 2018

This latest farming season yielded 54 large bags of maize/corn and 4 large bags of dried beans off of the 11 acres the Korando Center has for farming. Dolfine will save some of the maize and beans for their own consumption and will sell the remainder for profit for the school. Due to heavy rains, many of the beans and most of the other vegetables were lost in the flooded fields. A scorching sun then followed the heavy rains leaving poor conditions for planting the next crop. Let’s hope for more promising farming conditions in the coming season.

Farm Update, April 2018

Our goal at Ripple Effect Project has always been to help Korando come to a place of self-sustainability. Farming their land is one of the ways that they are working toward achieving this goal. Dolfine and the students plant and harvest off of 11 acres. What they harvest they use for their own consumption and the remainder they sell for income regeneration. The success of the farm is dependent not only on appropriate weather and insect management, but also a conducive political climate.  

With their most recent crop, Dolfine and some of the students harvested 7 large sacks of beans (225 lb/sack) for drying. They will use these beans for food and will sell the remainder for income. Plowing for the next crop has been completed; four of seven acres have been sewn, including beans, maize and millet. Unfortunately, unprecedented heat continues in the region causing the need for irrigation. The farm is near the lake, making water accessible, but irrigation does require significant quantities of fuel.

Letter from Dolfine & Pamela

Dear Friends in Ripple Effect Project,

It is from our sincere hearts that we take this precious opportunity to greatly thank you and of course with what words may never be able to explain well, for the great love we were able to experience while living amongst you for a whole month. Indeed, this trip was an eye opener to us on so many things that overlap real outside the project. This makes us consider this to be a very, very successful trip and visit on our side.

Among many things we may want to appreciate first of all is the great hospitality at every home we visited. You let us into your families and your family tables and made us visit with your extended family friendships that also let us into their families and family tables. We sincerely consider this a great honour to us. We never can explain love in better terms than to directly mention this as shown to us in a letter like this one. Much of these times were considered by us very sacred and special family moments. Thank you very much.

Our warmth and comfort was every person’s concern. Thank you for having people donate their clothes for us to use to keep us well dressed and warm. You were always ready to let us see everything we wanted to that we felt would create a good impact or change in us when back in Kenya.

We are full of ideas to be released for change in this Korando community. We plan to go very far with farming ideas that we were able to acquire in this trip. Great changes including that of a mindset are expected to come to reality soon.

Every talk we were able to give everywhere and the listening ears we got was amazing to us. We may never say enough thanks, but we believe that you will accept this as we give since it is most sincere from our hearts.

Special thanks to our lady host Alice for the job well done just to make sure these guests from a far land returned home happily.

The donations were so overwhelming that we weren’t able to carry all home. Lots of clothes, farm equipment, 12 laptops, packing time spent, all we appreciate. May God bless abundantly all pockets, families and individuals who were able to touch our lives in a special way. Be assured of our continuous prayers for your success and good health in your families and life plans.

Our trip back home was God planned for the time we left because otherwise we would have had a hard time getting re-routed to the right plane home. Though the journey was too long but by God’s grace, all went well and we are happy to meet the children and they were happy to receive us back and they too said thank you to REP.

May God bless you.

Love and hugs,

Mama Dolfine & Pamela

Dolfine and Pamela enjoy their visit to Maine in autumn.

Dolfine and Pamela enjoy their visit to Maine in autumn.

Thank You

We would like to take this opportunity to thank various people who helped make this trip such a great success:

Grace Von Tobel, who co-hosted and was instrumental in obtaining funding from Colby College, procuring needed dental care and organizing all Rotary Club presentations.

Colby College for funding all travel expenses for Dolfine and Pamela.

Torsten Kremser of Cheap Trip – Big Impact for overseeing the day to day operations of The Center and the ongoing building projects in Dolfine’s absence.

Ripple Effect Project Donors – Thank you also to our donors who graciously invited Dolfine and Pamela into their homes and generously donated large amounts of clothing, farm equipment, sewing supplies, building supplies, and a solar oven to take back to Kisumu with them.

We thank you as always for your continued support. Please keep Ripple Effect Project in your thoughts this coming holiday season. Consider making a donation to Ripple Effect Project on Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Also, when making purchases on Amazon please go through AmazonSmile and set Ripple Effect Project as your default charity. For each purchase made through AmazonSmile we receive a percentage of the purchase cost in donation.

Dolfine & Pamela Visit Maine

Alice and Rebekah greet Dolfine and Pamela at the airport.

Alice and Rebekah greet Dolfine and Pamela at the airport.

Dolfine and Pamela’s trip to Maine was a great success. They were able to meet with many groups of people varying in age from young school children to the elderly. They connected with old friends and made new. They led presentations at Colby College, the REM Center, seven Rotary Clubs, libraries and numerous homes. Through their talks they were able to present to us the journey from the beginning of the Korando Center, update us on completed projects and show us the direction they would like to go in next.

Dolfine celebrates her birthday.

Dolfine celebrates her birthday.

Dolfine celebrates her birthday.Although the purpose of this trip was to raise funds and awareness of the Korando Center, a lot of fun was had as well. They began their trip with a visit to the ocean, a first for both Dolfine and Pamela. Pamela was enchanted and just had to get her feet wet (for only a second because the water was so cold) while Dolfine watched bundled up from the shore. Fall was in full bloom with its glorious color palate, something they do not get to experience in Kisumu. Dolfine, Pamela and Alice took full advantage of the beauty and took a day trip to the mountains, stopped at stunning vistas, at Small Falls and took a short hike up Center Hill on Mount Blue. In addition, Dolfine celebrated her birthday with cake and candles (something not usually done in Kisumu) and had pizza for the first time.

Dolfine and Pamela enjoy their visit to Maine in autumn.

Dolfine and Pamela enjoy their visit to Maine in autumn.

Pamela visits the Atlantic Ocean.

Pamela visits the Atlantic Ocean.

Needless to say, it was a busy and hectic, yet fun and rewarding month. The contacts made on this trip presented many opportunities for continued growth and expansion. We have created a list of projects that will be the focus of our work together over the next several months.

Farming

This fall’s farming cycle was the first time that the Korando Center was able to harvest enough maize to feed all of the children at the Center, store enough food to last through to the next harvest and have excess to sell to their community. This was a tremendous accomplishment.

While on their trip they were able to tour various farms and consult with farmers addressing issues of soil fertility, pest control, crop rotation, seed selection, and food storage techniques. It is our goal to help the Korando Center maximize their farming capabilities for food sustainability and income.

This January farmer Chris Cavendish of Fishbowl Farm in Bowdoinham, Maine will be traveling to the Center as a consultant to help them plan and implement the skills they learned while in Maine. He will help train the farming supervisors and farm hands with the aim of furthering their success in farming.

Their present farming goals include:

  • Farming different vegetables such as squash and yams that would act as an alternative to maize. These crops have a long shelf life, serve to improve the children’s diet, allow for sale to the community and help them teach others new or better ways of addressing food security.
  • Address the issues of increasing soil fertility, pest and weed control, crop rotation, and various planting techniques.
  • Greenhouse installation to provide food and generate income. This is a project that they will explore getting a grant to complete.

Fish Farm

They wish to improve their fish farming by caging the fish. This will protect the fish from the reptiles that eat them. Once accomplished, the fish will again become a source of food and an income generator.

Solar Water Pump

Dolfine and Pamela met with numerous Rotary groups while here in Maine. One group showed interest in funding a solar water pump. They will be following up with this group to continue the process of receiving funding for the water pump.

In addition to creating an environment of food security and self-sustainability at the Korando Center, Dolfine and Pamela recognize the need to help generate food security and job prosperity within the community that surrounds Korando. They have expressed how they are more vulnerable if the community around them is not stable. To help address this concern they met with representatives from Somerset Grist Mill in Skowhegan, The Good Shephard Food Bank, Unity Food Pantry, USDA Food Storage Center and Johnny’s Seeds while here in Maine. Pamela is hopeful that her government position will allow her to use the knowledge gained from meeting with these organizations to implement changes that will benefit their surrounding community.

Going Forward

Farming: We are very excited to have farmer Chris Cavendish travel to the Korando Center this January to help assess and implement enhanced farming practices. We would like to send farming supplies with him at an estimated cost of $2000.

Fish Farm: Net the fish pond to protect the fish from reptiles with an estimated cost of $650.

Dining Hall: They are in need of 16 tables and 32 benches with a cost of $2600. In addition they need new eating bowls for 200 students costing $350 and new cooking pots and tools estimated at $500.

School: We are in the process of obtaining bids for an eco-sustainably built school and a traditionally built school. Once we have obtained the bids and evaluate the plans in relation to the school’s needs, a decision will be made and we will begin fundraising for this monumental project at that time.