Kenya: November's news...

The rain just keeps coming and Ondati feels like an island in a sea of mud. However, this doesn’t stop progress and a lot has happened this month.

The beginning of the month was exam time and the boarders could be seen studying late in the classrooms late into the night under the light of a new battery bought with project income. The students kept up their hard work in the projects, despite the academic pressures, illustrating that partaking in the school businesses is becoming a routine for Ondati girls.

(Students in Ondati's dairy unit: the Ondati girls will be able to use knowledge from their recent school trip in the Ondati dairy.)

In the last week of term 20 students were taken by their teachers on a day excursion to the District Livestock Farm as a reward for receiving 11 stars or more for their dedication to projects. The farm has over 100 dairy cows of high quality. Many of the animals produce well voer 20 litres a day and so there was a lot for the girls to learn from them about dairy management which they can apply to the Ondati School dairy.

(Students were shown how to use the farm's machines.)

Lynette Omondi, the school’s agriculture teacher, said,

                “The trip was excellent. Everyone enjoyed and appreciated it. The students really enjoyed seeing the animals and machinery. They prepared questions in the morning at school and at the farm they asked about the operation of machines, maintenance of machines, the best dairy breeds and the challenges that the farm faces. The director said that the biggest challenge was from tropical diseases that threaten exotic dairy cows. The students can now help operating machines and increasing production at school. It will greatly help me in agriculture lessons. We normally discuss tools theoretically but never see them practically. It has greatly boosted agricultural knowledge at the school. The teachers also came out with knowledge they didn’t have before.”

(A happy student receives her project reward in the end of term ceremony)

Term ended mid-month with a project and academic award ceremony, but activity hasn’t halted there. The Ondati dairy has been the hub of activity in recent weeks. This business is the school’s most successful. The lack of dairy cows in the district means there is a very high demand for milk. Therefore, two new high quality dairy cows are set to arrive in Ondati next month and Ondati staff and committee are preparing for their arrival. The dairy unit is being expanded and a hay store erected so that the cows are well fed even in times of drought. Land is laso being leased to grow more feed for the cows and a fuel-run feed cutter is being bought from the sale of some of Ondati’s bull calves.

(The builders at work expanding the school dairy unit. The work is being overseen by Ben the project coordinator (left))

To add to the excitement in the dairy a new calf was born last week. Unfortunately it is the fourth bull in a row and the school is left hoping that the next calf is a girl. It has been named ‘Les’ after our accounting volunteer, Lesley, who has been helping the school with its budget for next year and has also given the committee and staff vital accountancy training.

(Top left: Les the bull calf, Top right: Lesley gives training to the School Management Committee, Bottom, Lesley and the Principal, Reuben Omollo, work on the 2012 budget.)

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