Program Updates November 2007
This fall and winter has been the busiest fall/winter months for us ever. I just got back from Kenya and we were completely filled to capacity on the farm. We had 14 Indiana University students that were staying with us to complete their student teaching assignments. They taught Epico Jahns, our grade school, as well as several other local primary and secondary schools. In addition to the IU teachers, we had 10 of our own regular ICODEI volunteers working in our Healthcare, AIDS, and MDP programs. With 24 people on the farm, we had a very full dinner table in the house each night.
Our Microenterprise Development Program continues to further evolve. This is our newest program that is still undergoing development. I spent my two weeks in Kenya meeting with our network of microenterprise groups to try out various business training seminars. We are in the process of developing a business training manual for MDP volunteers to use in order to give basic business skills training classes to the microenterprise groups. The groups loved learning from these training seminars on basic business topics such as accounting/bookkeeping, marketing, pricing, savings and investment, good business management practices, business planning, etc.
As I left Kenya last week, the team of local masons and carpenters was finishing its final construction on a new brick house to accommodate our growing number of volunteers we have coming to Kenya throughout the year. We now have capacity to house over 30 volunteers and student teachers at one time. In addition, we built a community hut (shown below) in the center of the farm in between all the volunteer huts. This is a large gathering spot for the volunteers to eat their lunch, play cards, read books, and socialize as they get back to the farm each day from their programs.
We are excited for December and January since we have 15 volunteers scheduled to arrive in December and 8 scheduled to arrive in January. This includes 8 students from Cornell University (USA) who are arriving in December. This Cornell students group is coming to further develop the AIDS Nutritional Training program that they developed last December when they came to volunteer with us for the first time.