DAOFAM Primary School – Oyugis, Kenya
Greetings from the mother Africa. Our (Alphy & I) first vacation stop was Kenya, and after a few days of running around visiting family, friends and a safari, it was time to roll up our sleeves. We had to spare 2 days to give back to the community.
A while back, at our JOYE gala we featured Mrs Dorcas, the founder of DOAFAM Primary School as one of our guest speakers. You, JOYE sponsors funded the building of a well in Oyugis, Kenya. The well was to keep the kids in class and not have them walk over half a mile to access water which was not even fit for consumption. This water well was also meant to benefit the community at-large as well by providing access to clean water. On November 22, 2018 we went to Oyugis to see the project first hand and hear from the community on the impact of the well.
The scenic drive to Oyugis was approximately 6hrs through the forests, hills, and the great Rift Valley road built during the Word War II. We were able to steal the view of Zebras, guinea fowls, pelicans, hyenas and more on our way without going for another Safari. In Kenya, it is common to see wild animals as you drive through certain areas of the country.
We arrived at Oyugis to find that the eager students, parents, and village elders had been waiting for us 3 hour before our scheduled arrival time. We shared laughs, ate with them and got to hear from the children, school admin, and the community.
On the walk around DAOFAM Primary School we saw unfinished classes that were barely supported by corrugated iron sheets. On hot days, the classrooms are hotter than outside, and on rainy days the roof leaks water from multiple places. The classroom floors were just as good as a walk on a field without grass, in essence it is a dirt floor. The teachers used one of the classes as a staff room and it had one desk and chairs around it. The school had 100 students, and about 6 classrooms. Each classroom measured less than 10ft X 10ft and had no windows or doors.
A short walk away was the JOYE sponsored well. The water was impressively clean, and the grass around the well seemed healthier than other areas. From here we walked to the area they used to fetch water. I would describe it as a tiny pond where they would fetch the dirty water. The cattle drink from this pond, and the villagers who get tired before getting to the well still fetch water here. Laundry is done in this pond too.
The walk to the pond was downhill and easy. The way back to DAOFAM Primary School and the JOYE water well was uphill and I noticed every single uneven rock on the uneven path. The sun was unforgiving, punishing me for all I had done wrong. Now, imagine carrying a pail of water through this without footwear or good footwear.
The government has been threatening to shut down the school due to the condition. The nearest school to the village was about a 10-15minute drive for us. Shutting DAOFAM Primary school would leave the kids without a school within their reach. Almost everyone walks to their destiny, and a few ‘lucky’ families had a bicycle that they could use to move from one area to another. The walking distance to the alternative school was ridiculous for these families who are already used to walking, and a good number said they would rather opt to keep the kids at home than tread the long walk.
Overall, the folks from Oyugis were greatly appreciative that someone out there who doesn’t even know them is thinking of them. It was nice to see their happy faces in-spite of their issues. Please receive their greetings, a handful of community requests that include an urgent need to keep the school up and running. A cry for a medical clinic for easy access to malaria and cholera medication which will help reduce the high number of deaths in the community that has mostly affected the young kids and elderly. Another well at a different location for easy access, and a ton of thank yous’ from Oyugis, Kenya.
If you feel inclined to assist these kids and their community kindly visit us at www.giftofjoye.org. If you would also like to find out more about DAOFAM Primary School feel free to reach out to us through our website.