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Kisumu, Kenya

Alara Primary School

Some basic statistics:

  • 420 primary children (aged 7 to 14)
  • 87 nursery children
  • 10 children with special needs
  • 9 class rooms (8 in the primary school)
  • 14 teachers and assistant staff.

Our new fund raising drive. Started November 2008. This is to buy desks and chairs for the new school.

Where we at at with our current fund raising for desks & chairs and equipment

Donate easily using Paypal

The current school was built in 1939 and is long past its "best before" date!

So we shall be building a whole new school with 8 classrooms.

The first draft drawings of our plans for a new 8 classroom school at Alara.
(Thanks to Paul Neep)
The site for the new school

(The building in the background is the local church)

In this view (below) we are looking at the front view of where the new school will be sited. Photo taken from the new administration block.

Paul took the above photo, and his drawing of the school, and came up with this image of what it would look like.

We hope that the school may be completed by December 2008.

If you would like to help us with this project, and especially in equipping the school once it has been built, then please click on the "Donate" button below.
Payments are accepted securely though Paypal in any currency.
No matter how small, we really appreciate your donations, and the Kenyans will too!
Remember, we don't take anything out of the fund for our trips and expenses, nothing comes out for administration costs. Every penny of donations gets put to good, direct use.

If you fancy coming with us on one of our future trips to Kisumu, then let us know. We'll not hide the fact that you will pay for your trip expenses, the hotel where we stay in Kisumu isn't 5 star (its cheap and basic, but OK), you will need lots of inoculations, and you will eat basic food. But, you will have a life-changing experience, and you will want to go back again and become even more involved.

Contact us by email at
Cheques payable to "R Neep - Kenya Fund"

Work begins, and the foundations are laid

By April 2008 we were here...


Work is now moving on again at the new Alara School.

This photo is taken from the veranda of the new administration block

Alara School Kisumu Kenya

Class 1 is on the right, and class 8 on the extreme left. This was the view taken on 25th September 2008. Unfortunately, little work had been done since our last visit. The roof timbers have been added, but then the work stalled.

I came over here to Kenya on 24th September, and by the 26th work had started again...

Some roof timbers needed to be replaced already, as they had been exposed to the weather for too long.

I also went into Kisumu and purchased the roof sheets, and work began immediately on the roof on 26th September.

And windows were being fitted.

The administration block, which faces the new school

Below, looking along the left wing, with classes 7 and 8 having had the windows fitted.

And windows being fitted to the outside of classes 6 and 7.

The main final examinations take place 46 days from today, 26th September. We now have an aim to complete at least classes 6 and 7, and possibly class 5 too before the examinations, so that the pupils can have their final lessons in the new school, and also take their examinations in the new rooms too. This is very important to the children, and will make them feel more confident. The remainder of the school works will also progress during this time.

Once the roof has been completed then the only works needing to complete rooms 5 to 8 will be the concreting of the floors, plastering of the walls, glass added to the windows, and final painting.

I shall extend my present visit to stay here in Kenya to help push the works to completion, or at least for another 46 days until after the examinations have taken place.

Rod Neep
September 26 2008

September 27th

Today the workers completed the roof on the first side, and went on to complete the second side also!

Notice the home made ladder. This is Kenya! (No health & safety at work considerations)

Above. Inside class room 8. The patch of light in the floor is from the overhead sun at noon, shining though the gap where the roof ridge needs to be added. The floor has been cleared ready for concrete.

The last of the steel windows arrive at the school. What did you expect? A lorry?

Today I returned to Kisumu in a matatu, which is a local minibus which by law should carry 12 people, but it had 20 on board (this is Kenya!), and from town to my friends house I took a bicycle taxi, which was quite an experience! Another day survived.

I will now probably stay here in Kenya for about eight weeks to make sure that the work on the school progresses at full speed and without delays.

27 September 2008

29 September

Concreting of the floor in class 8 begins.

The roof is now on the whole of the left wing, the front of the centre section , and most of the front of the right wing.

Mixing the floor concrete by hand. The ballast is brought to the site as big rocks, and someone sits there all day reducing it to two inch pieces using a small hammer.

September 30th

I started today with a visit to Dago Kokore School, where we had previously done some work. They were really pleased to see me, and the whole school congregated in the meeting area to sing for me. I then walked though the back tracks to Alara.

A beautiful jacaranda tree in the foreground with its stunning lilac coloured blossoms.

The concrete floor of class 8 is completed, and a start has been made on class 7.

Today has been a frustrating day.

Some work was done completing the concrete of the floor of room 8, and part of room 7. The workers ran out of sand, which was ordered yesterday and promised for delivery today. One lorry (out of 4) arrived at 6.00pm after the workers had left.

I also found out today that the foreman had asked on Saturday for 10 more plain roofing sheets to make the gulleys where the rooves meet at an angle. Without those fitted first no more roof sheets could be laid. Tomorrow is a national holiday so nothing can be ordered and delivered until Thursday. I am frustrated that I don't have a vehicle, otherwise I would have driven to the city today to get the plain metal sheets.

Last week the four rainwater tanks were almost full. We need that valuable water for the concrete and wall plastering. Today I found that the water tanks were almost empty. The water is being stolen. There is a night watchman on the school site, but he is apparently not there all of the time as he should be, or he is a part of the problem.

I was also told today that it was unwise for me to travel alone back to the little motel on the matatu at the end of the day, because I could be a target for robbery as I walk the 400 yards to the hotel along a quiet track. Being white here, and people knowing that I carry money for the project is like waving a big flag that says "Here I am. Come rob me". Someone accompanied me back to the hotel this evening.

There are times (often) that Kenya is so frustrating.

2nd October

Yesterday and today I have been pretty sick. Stomach ache and the runs, and feeling really weak and fragile and running a bit of a fever. I went to the hospital this afternoon and they did tests on my stools, and found the presence of pesky African omoebae in my gut which is the cause of the problem. The antibiotics that I take daily don't give any protection against those. They have given me some special pills which target those little critters, and they say that I should start to feel better tomorrow. They also wanted to put me on a drip to get some electrolytes back into my system, but instead I have some powders to mix with water, which should do the job.

News about Tom is the same. No change. He is still extremely ill and not responding to treatments to get his kidneys working again. I think that the only option is for him to have a kidney transplant..... but this is Africa. I don't know if it can happen.

Today I finally managed to get the locked up $12,000 out of the bank without having Tom's signature. That would have been impossible in the Western world, but this is one of the times when "This is Africa" worked in my favour. We can now go ahead and buy some more cement and lorries of sand, and pay the workers.

I just slept most of the afternoon and evening, which is good. My guts seem to have settled down a bit now already. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

October 3rd

Good news.... today I am feeling much better (and no more runs). I have had a LOT of sleep over the last couple of days.

Today we had 6 large tipper trucks of sand delivered, together with 200 bags of cement. Everything is well back on course with the building work. The roof is now 100% completed, and plastering work will begin tomorrow. I still need to find some more money to complete the project, but they have enough to keep them going now for several weeks. I am not sure that there is anything more that can be done here by me, now that things are moving again, and so I may decide to fly back home on Monday/Tuesday.

Kids play football in the field. The football is a bunch of polythene bags wrapped up with string.

The lovely jacaranda tree with lilac blossom. Looking down the track to the main road

Final windows being fitted. This side of the roof needs completion

Roofing is under way to the outside of the right hand wing

The first classroom door is fitted. It needs to be steel for security and to be long lasting. Wooden doors would last only two or three years due to the climate and insects boring in.

Final parts of the roof being fitted. The corner gulleys are now completed.

Side and rear view

The main front view today

The roof is finished!!

October 4th

Today, prior to plastering work starting, the electrician came into the school, and started to cut channels into the walls to take the plastic trunking for the cables. Two power points and two fluorescent lights for each room. Another milestone moment.

And shortly afterwards, the trunking is in, the socket box is fitted and cemented over.

.... and also for the light switches.

Water is a valuable commodity here! Thankfully over the last two days there has been a lot of torrential rain, and so the tanks are now full again.

At present we have four water tanks, and we are to be adding two more large plastic tanks in a room within the new building.  Our wok at Alara has drawn the attention of "Living Water International" who have kindly built two of the tanks this year, together with several new toilets for the children.

.... thanks to funds from the people of America.

Concrete is made the hard way.... mixing ballast, sand and cement by hand, using the water from out tanks. This is for the floors of the class rooms.

The third classroom floor is now partially completed.

View from the window of class 2 (in the right hand wing)

The main front view again as of today....

A large tipper truck delivers another load of sand. The sand comes from Lake Victoria.

This is what it is all about. Classes 5 to 8 attend school on saturdays, and here they take a break in front of the new school. There is lots of happiness and smiles! Visitors from the local community keep visiting, and they are full of thanks to me, but that gives me the ideal opportunity to tell them that all of the thanks should go to God, for this is really His blessing to their community, and that I am just an ordinary man who is doing God's will. They are most receptive to this!

The view from the school grounds. This scenery is typical of the district. Here we are about 7,000 feet above sea level, and 3,000 feet above Lake Victoria and the city of Kisumu, which is about 15 miles distant.

Saturday is the cleaning day for the old class rooms. Note the home made "brushes", and the dust from the earth floors!

And when it rains here... it rains hard! This afternoon there was another tropical downpour. Here we are just three miles from the equator, in the southern hemisphere. Water really does go down the plughole in the opposite direction here. In fact one of the "tricks" to entertain tourists is to get a tin can and punch a tiny hole in the bottom, fill it with water, and float a matchstick on the water and watch the way that the match stick rotates, then move 50 yards to the other side of the equator and repeat it. Within just that short distance the water rotates in the opposite direction!

I stand proudly before the wonderful work.... and give thanks to the Lord for making all this possible.

The children of the school are learning a new school prayer, which is to be said every morning before lessons, giving thanks to God for their school and the enhanced education that it will bring.

October 6th

My last day of this visit. Plastering has now started on the internal and external walls. We are nearly there now! Three of the class rooms with be finished and painted ready for some of the children to move in. We promised that those in class 8 (15 year olds) would have their final lessons in there, and also be able to take their final exams in the new rooms. We are going to make that happen!

Today I had the really great experience of playing my Martin Ukulele and singing with the children. We moved from class to class throughout the old school. This is what it it all about. Doing things to make the lives of those children a little more happy!

Martin Ukulele and children at Alara School, Kenya

A short video outside one of the class rooms. The banging noises are the men working on the new school right behind the camera!
If this video doesn't show automatically on your computer, then click here. It is really worth watching!

Above: a lovely Dutch lady visits the school every term to give worming tablets to all of the children, and the workers asked for them too.

Children pass the building works on the way to their old school

The last load of bricks arrived today!

Rendering/plastering began on each end of one block, and also inside class 8.

And the original vision starts to really take shape!

November 23 Update

Three rooms are now complete, and some of the children have moved in!

Children in class 8 at Alara School

This is the top class(Std.8) in their new room, but with the old "desks".

March 2009

Latest photos sent to us from Kenya. What a difference!

We still have to find 6,000.00 (about $9,000.00) for new desks and chairs for the school.

Remember, we don't take anything out of the fund for our trips and expenses, nothing comes out for administration costs. This isn't a big organisation, just my wife and myself. Every penny of donations gets put to good, direct use.

See where the new appeal has reached

If you fancy coming with us on one of our future trips to Kisumu, then let us know. We'll not hide the fact that you will pay for your trip expenses, the hotel where we stay in Kisumu isn't 5 star (its cheap and basic, but OK), you will need lots of inoculations, and you will eat basic food. But, you will have a life-changing experience. If you would like to combine this with a visit to the Masai Mara and see all of the wildlife (it is awesome) then that can be arranged through our contact in Kisumu.

Contact us by email at
Cheques payable to "R Neep - Kenya Fund"

Download a single sheet document to print and show to your friends. (PDF file)
Right click the above link and select "save as" to save it to your computer.

Our Kenya Children Sponsorship

Rod & Gay Neep
51 St. Whites Road, Cinderford, Gloucestershire GL14 3DF, England


Phone: +44 (0)1594 826633