Posted by Kenneth Boyd on Feb 01, 2019
 January Report - Kenya
Report on November trip to Kenya,
Many of you will remember that back in November Jess Lacoursiere , Kath and I headed out to Kenya with the goal of setting up the earth block making machine and training a Kenyan team on how to use it. We had brought along a soil testing kit so our first goal was to teach them how to analyze the soil to determine what kind of mix would work best to make the blocks. This was implementing the training that Jess and I had taken back in April with the “Dwell Earth” organization in Texas.
 
We did a number of soil tests on soils directly from our building site and from a few other locations within the greater Kitale area. All the tests showed that the clay was consistently the same in the whole area. The clay had very high in plasticity and would work well as a binder. In fact it was too sticky so we had to add 30-35% sand to the mix to keep it from gumming up our machine. We were able to work with a 6-8% cement content which acts as a stabilizer.
 
Our team worked hard with a slow production rate per day to start but by the end we had them making 500 per day.  We then challenged them to raise a new goal of 800 per day and they began to make that goal also. The target was to make enough blocks to construct 8 classrooms when we return next month. They have to date made all the half blocks, ¾ blocks and channel blocks needed and are just about there on the full blocks. The target was 30,000!
 
What will the total budget be for the 8 classrooms? We are not entirely sure as we have never built using our blocks as yet. Our past buildings using local fired bricks took a huge amount of cement for mortar joints and plastering due to the inconsistency of the brick sizes. Now that we are using this method the amount of cement should be greatly reduced! However roofing and lumber costs will probably  remain the same as in the past. I imagine that our total budget for the 8 classrooms will be around $40,000-50,000 USD. Many of you have been very generous in contributing to us already and for that we are very thankful. We have raised about $15000 towards the Khalwenge Highway Academy school fund to date so we still have a ways to go. If we have enough we will push forward on all eight classrooms but if not we will do 4 this winter and the rest will have to wait until fall.
Kath and I will be there for all of Feb and March. A team of another 2 couples from Stratford will be joining us for Feb and 3 Guelph Rotary club members are coming in March.
 
If any of you would like to contribute to this cause you can do so by sending cheques to
 
Forgotten People Connection
c/o Allen Remley
4458 Sideroad 20 N, Guelph N1H 6J3
 
 
February Update:
 
Subject: Goudys and Steingards in Kenya
 
We are in Kitale with Allen and Kathie Remley now, having arrived Feb 4th in this area.  Now we feel we are seeing the true African life as we visit villages and hear personal stories of the people here.  So much we could tell you.  So hard to know how to put in words our days here. 
 
Al and Vern are focused on building a school in a remote village area using blocks made by a manual machine and using a local soil mixture. The workers dug trenches for the foundation by hand yesterday;  shovels with no handles, bare feet, with probably no food in their bellies till they were fed at 2pm by the school cook.  
 
Kathie Remley, Catherine and I are focused on preparing new baby gift bags and women's reusable feminine hygiene products bags.  We will hit schools, women's groups and hospitals next week.  
 
Jerry is doing some outings to the villages with us and spending some time on book writing.  
 
Here are a couple stories: 
 
1. We were so moved by a young man we met here of 19 yrs that the Remleys are assisting to get his education. He is finishing highschool and wants to continue on to university to become a history lecturer.  His mother died when he was 11 yrs old, no other family could care for him and he has basically been on his own since 11 yrs.  The Remleys found him in a sad situation where he had become basically enslaved.  God saw him and gave him a hope and a future and he took it, resisting the opportunity to turn to crime.  He chose life instead.  He was quiet and without expression when we met. But respectful and determined to make good choices. 
 
 
2. We met with a missionary couple from Ontario who have been here since 2005 and are running a boys home for orphans and boys at risk. We listened to their story and our hearts broke at the things they have seen here.  They took in a newborn baby boy found abandoned in a field, with the plan to adopt.  He has been with them since 8 days old.   At a few months old they noticed he was not developing as expected and he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. The Kenyan government has now banned foreign adoptions because there were so many reports of human trafficking of babies.  They are unable to adopt their beloved boy.  And yet there are reports of unwanted babies being sold out the back door of the local hospital and being thrown down latrines.  This couple feel their time here may be wrapping up here in Kenya and they wish to take their boy, now 4 yrs old, home to Canada so he can get the therapy he needs. But the challenges are huge.  We feel God has offered us the privilege of coming along side them even for a brief time to listen to and love them. 
 
3. Then today, we went to a home that takes in abandoned babies. They had a one day old baby there, rescued yesterday.  The workers in the home heard that a young girl was having a baby and did not want the baby. When they went to collect the baby, the village midwife was standing holding a machete, blocking the door.  The midwife would not allow them to take the baby.  This midwife has a reputation of being the one you can go to if you don't want your baby and she will sell it for you.  The workers from the children's home stood their ground and would not leave. They called the police, who came 2 hrs later and eventually they were able to take the baby and the mother out of the village. The baby is in the children's home and the mother, who may have some developmental delay, is in a home for girls getting the care she needs. 
 
Sunday we go to Northwestern Kenya to some villages.  The woman there walk 4 hours each way for water.  Al Remley is looking to facilitate the drilling of a well for them.  There will be a church service in the shade of a tree.  Jerry will preach and we will pray for the sick. We will take sweets and pencils for the kids and gifts for the women. Catherine hopes to check out some pregnant women and new babies.  
 
 
The foundation for the new school being dug
 
The current temporary school. 
 
Rescued baby.  One day old. Not even named yet.