Chiga, Kisumu, Kenya

APRIL 2006

Betty Mutere - the founder of the project

The ECDC (Early Child development Centre) school room, medical room and office. Not yet completed.

The latrines (two holes) had already been sunk and capped with a concrete pad. A Kenyan "long drop" is something to expreience! Betty's son cheekily assumes the position to demonstrate. A small two-room building was yet to be built on the concrete pad.

Planting of crops Chiga project
A small area of land had already been ploughed and planted (note that April is the rainy season, and there was plenty of water). The first crops had been planted only a couple of weeks previously, and were already showing.

Chiga, Kisumi, Kenya
Part of the nearby settlement at Chiga

The new plot of land to be cultivated.
Virgin Kenyan land.

We met Betty Mutere by chance. On our visit to Kisumu in April 2006 we were invited by Ted Aloo of the British Council in Kisumu to attend an evening meeting and dinner at the Kisumu Rotary Club. Betty was introduced as a new member that evening, and she was described as having a new project for grandparents and orphans. This was someone we wanted to know! We arranged to meet with her the following day at our hotel in Kisumu.

She described the principles of her new project, and we were immediately impressed. Her project was based on a study for a masters degree, and was particularly interesting to us, because it was so well thought out. To support grandparents and orphans in the local community, and to help them to be self sustaining, rather than simply setting up an orphanage.

Betty had begun the practical side of her project last year, and already had many of the basic elements in place. It was small, manageable and sustainable. The building work had already been started. Betty showed us the details and costs to complete phase one, and we agreed to meet the following Saturday to make a visit to Chiga.

It was a good thing that we had hired a 4x4 RV! We set out from Kisumu on the Chiga road, which was at first a surfaced road (with the usual potholes and craters), which then degenerated into an unsurfaced road, passed the main settlement and market at Chiga, and then on, and on southwards where the settlement thinned out and the road became worse. There were two places where bridges were down, and where we very nearly became stuck in the 4x4.

Chiga Grandparents with Children Project
Our first view of Betty Mutere's project at Chiga

Betty showed us around her project. It became alive and meaningful to us.

We already had Betty's list of priority purchases to complete stage 1 of the project, and no doubt she was hoping that we might become convinced enough to help with one of these items.

Kenya Shs
1 Completion of floor cementing 4,000/=
2 Purchase of large water tank 15,000/=
3 Completion of latrine Iron sheets 13,800/=
Nails & wood 4,200/=
Labour 2,000/= 20,000/=
4 Food security & IGA Deposit for additional adjacent land 10,000/=
Ploughing & tilling 1,500/=
Seeds (lentils & beans) + fertiliser 1,500/=
Labour (planting & weeding) 1,000/=
May/June/Sept further crops 9,000/= 14,000/=
5 Schooling Resources Crayons, pencils, paper, exercise books, etc. 1,200/=
TOTAL 73,200/=

Kshs 73,200 = £610.00

We retuned to our hotel in Kisumu, and asked Betty to come along with us. On the journey back, we also discussed the possibility of the need for a cow at some time. My mind was working and scheming.

Back at the hotel we met with our old friend Tom Sabwa. Tom was a teacher at Dago Kokore Primary School, but had recently been moved to another school as part of a reshuffle, and last year we had stayed at his home. Tom's family also had a few cows, and this was the ideal opportunity to talk about them. His recommendation was to buy a cross breed cow which was already in calf. (Milk now, and a calf to rear and sell or keep!). Such a cow would cost about Kshs 17,000/= (About £140).

To cut a long story short, we decided to give Betty the money to complete the whole of  phase one of her project and also the money to buy a cow. Ksh 90,000/= in total. (£750)

Betty squealed with excitement!


After visiting Kenya, we travelled on to Zanzibar for a vacation, and whilst we were there, we received phone text messages to tell us that the concrete floor had been done, the latrine building had been completed, the new water tank was in place, the schooling resources had been purchased, and the new plot of land had been ploughed. This lady doesn't hang around!


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