Blog Entry: August 24, 2013

By Irving Newman

I have now been back in the village for about a week. Last Saturday we launched the “Youth for Change Farming Project”. The response from the village Elders was overwhelmingly positive and we are set to meet with the women on August 31st and the Youth on September 7th. The government officials were well represented and continue to be very supportive of our work. We hope to have the youth working the land by the first rains of the season in early October. The pace of change here is a little slower than is in my nature.

I have to push the stakeholders a little more than I might normally to ensure that projects continue their momentum. Sometimes I wish that there was more experience in project management but then realize that time will develop these important skills. There are so many areas that need attention to raise the quality of life for the villagers. We do what we can and continue to advocate for the changes we feel are needed. I am hoping that the Foundation will grow and increasingly become a recognized and respected voice for change in the country.

I will begin teaching the new semester at the Secondary School the first week of September and look forward to seeing all the students again. The weather is unseasonably cool so I am not looking forward to the early morning wakeup to be at the school for 7 am. We have about 8 months to go until the School can be registered and receive some government funding. That will be a great relief. The Secondary School system is not fully funded and so there will still be pressure on the families to supplement the students’ tuition.

I am continually being introduced to new agencies of the government that can assist us in our work. This past week I discovered that there is a National Artificial Insemination Station in South Kabeta not far from the village. I hope to visit there next week and learn more of the work they are doing with dairy goat breeding. I have also been invited to Western Kenya to observe the work of Heifer Inc., an NGO that has introduced a successful goat breeding program for Saanens in the villages in that area of the country. My initial thought was to work with the Toggenburg breed which I love for its body type and temperment. I have now realized that we need all breeds at the Teaching Farm and to work with the agencies and projects that are already in place to avoid duplication of our efforts.

The website is now up and running and will be updated weekly with news of the Foundation and life in the country. I hope that you will revisit the site and send us any comments or suggestions. The doors of our Teaching Farm are always open and we look forward to greeting you all. Asanti.

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