Nimbus Blog, Trips

Kenya visit 2010 – Shallow wells

When travelling back to Osika this year my mind drifted back to my first visit to the village. It was in October 2005 and was only my second trip to Kenya with a Transformation Business Network “expo” visit. (http://www.tbnetwork.org/home/index.php ) This one included visiting the poorer western part of the country. After a busy day, we arrived in the middle of the afternoon at the house of the chairlady of the women’s self-help group. The whole group were there to meet us dressed in brightly coloured uniforms and singing and dancing as we arrived. It was an amazing welcome and we enjoyed great food with this poor community.

After food we gathered under the shade of a tree and listened to speeches, as is their custom, from many local people. The ladies group is called Chamluchi, which roughly translated means “eat your own sweat” indicating the tough life for ladies in this area. They shared with us the needs of the community and one of those needs was for a clean water source. They wished for a shallow well for the village. (Osika is fortunate as is close to Lake Victoria and shallow wells can be dug in this vicinity.)

We had available some funds from friends in the UK and so we agreed to make this dream for a well happen. So together with some matched funding from Kenyan supporters of the village, the first well in Osika was hand dug, completed in only a few weeks. Incedibly it was finished just before a period of drought, and the full impact of that only became known to us when we next visited, we were met at the airport and told that no person and no animal died during the drought because of the well. Small improvements can be significant.

Since then one of the TBN party, Paul Macdonald, has worked with Osika, taking inspiration from the millennium villages’ project (http://www.millenniumvillages.org ). The village now has 10 wells covering all of the settled areas, and lives of many women have been changed as they no longer have to collect polluted water from the lake and no longer walk for several hours each day. We have seen the village slowly transform with the steady investment of capital, knowledge, training and coaching over the years. The community themselves own the change process through a series of committees that now run the village development projects, covering the areas of agriculture, water, health, education, business and looking after the poor of the community.

So 2010 brought us back again to Osika, to stay again amongst friends. We still received a great welcome from the ladies, and we visited a new well in the adjoining village of Alego. We were there to see it being dug and to meet with the community it would serve. It was the culmination of a desire of my sister to fund a project of worth upon reaching a significant birthday, in place of receiving gifts. It was great to be at Osika again and to take stock of the ripples that have developed from that first trip, a changed village and now with the change spreading out into the neighbouring communities.

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