Earlier this week, an extraordinarily generous donation of $5,000 by The Bright
Horizon Fund at the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County enabled Karimu (www.karimufoundation.org) to match the $20,000 grant promised by the Santa Cruz, California company, Quantaphy. Quantaphy’s owners, Ken Terry and Debbie Burns-Walton, had originally set a deadline of midnight on December 26, but they gave us a few extra weeks because they believe in the value of Karimu’s work.
In the very near future, the focus of that work will be on construction of a new bridge to connect the two halves of Dareda Kati Village: the half that includes Ufani Primary School and the half that includes Ayalagaya Secondary School. As I wrote in my last post (https://dstoll49.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/a-bridge-for-the-village/), the present bridge is made unusable by the drenching rains of March and April. During those two months—and sometimes even for longer, since the wet season can stretch into May—many children and teachers often cannot get to school and many sick people cannot get to the public health clinic.
But now Bridging the Gap Africa (http://www.bridgingthegapafrica.org/), an Ohio-based nonprofit, will supply the expertise to complement Karimu’s funds, as well as the labor of our volunteers and of the villagers. The little footbridge that now vanishes beneath rain-swollen waters every March will be a memory by March of 2014. Since 1997, Bridging the
Gap Africa founder Harmon Parker has built almost fifty bridges in rural Kenya, becoming one of the top ten CNN Heroes of 2010. He will make the long drive from his home in Nairobi during the upcoming rainy season to get a clear picture of the length and strength required by a new bridge. Barring unforeseen problems, the building will start when Karimu’s volunteers arrive in Dareda Kati at the end of June.
Ken and Debbie, the anonymous donor-advisors of The Bright Horizon Fund, and everyone else whose generosity has made the new bridge possible should know that Karimu has no intention of stopping with the bridge. This past Sunday, Karimu President Marianne Kent-Stoll and I enjoyed a long Facebook conversation with Martina Hando, the nurse who has run the public health clinic in Dareda Kati ever since Tanzania’s central government moved the clinic’s doctor to a big city. Martina wants to expand the clinic and also build a modest house for a doctor to live in. Just as the duplexes that Karimu builds for teachers at Ufani and Ayalagaya Schools help the villagers make their case to the government that teachers will want to stay in the village, such a house would make a strong argument for Dareda Kati’s ability to keep a doctor.
Besides a new bridge, the villagers need water supplied to Bacho Primary School, solar power for Ayalagaya Secondary School, and more textbooks and another teachers’ duplex for Ufani Primary School. We do not yet have enough money to satisfy these needs, never mind to achieve what Martina dreams of.
It’s an important dream, however, so Marianne and I will spend part of our time in Dareda Kati this June and July looking at what and where Martina hopes to build, and thinking about how we can raise the necessary money.